“Southbound” is something you don’t see much anymore: an anthology horror film. Its five segments do what they’re supposed to do — unsettle you — but as a bonus, they also leave you wanting more. These are fragments more than complete stories, and the incompleteness is its own kind of creepiness.
An unnamed highway links the five, and “The Way Out,” the opening story (directed by the collective Radio Silence), sets the theme of escape, whether from the past or a physical threat. Two blood-covered roughnecks are trying to run from something not immediately revealed, but specters reminiscent of the dementors in the Harry Potter movies keep them pinned in place.
“Sirens” (Roxanne Benjamin), the best of the segments, begins with a horror story classic: a vehicle that breaks down on a remote road. In this case, it’s the touring van of a girl band. The seemingly harmless couple who come to their rescue aren’t.
That story blends into “Accident” (David Bruckner), in which a man tries desperately to save a young woman he has hit with his car. Then comes “Jailbreak” (Patrick Horvath), with a man locating his sister after a long search, only to find that she doesn’t want to be rescued. “The Way In” (Radio Silence again), in which a family is attacked by masked men, ends the film on a particularly jarring note.
The stories sometimes are vaguely linked, but the filmmakers (several had a hand in the 2012 horror anthology “V/H/S” but have upped their game here) aren’t after tidy tales, neatly connected and concluded. They know that the human mind finds loose ends unnerving.
(At Screenland Crossroads.)
Not rated. Time: 1:29.