SOUTHBOUND (2016, various)
Starts off quite strong, building a world that’s creepy and consistent. “The Way Out” (directed by Radio Silence) is brief but creative and spooky, leaving us waiting for more (which comes at the end with “The Way In,” but doesn’t provide the answers we’re hoping for). Roxanne Benjamin’s “Siren” moves quickly and accelerates to a batshit ending (part of that pace may be credited to editor Jason Eisener, who’s directed plenty of solid horror shorts and features himself). The middle segment, David Bruckner’s “The Accident,” is the film’s high point — a marvel of sustained tension and confusion, acted impressively by longtime comic actor Mather Zickel. But then things slow way down in the undercooked, pointless, and inexplicable “Jailbreak” by Patrick Horvath. The anthology is unable to recover despite a nice structural trick with “The Way In” that makes the form of the movie mirror its circular content. Still, some clever moments of dread throughout and the memorable peak of “The Accident” is enough to push this anthology above lesser brethren like V/H/S and THE ABCs OF DEATH.