Set in the USA’s deep south, Southern Gothic takes us on a modern day trip down vampire lane, Cajun style. After a close encounter with one of the unholy nightstalkers, preacher Enoch Pitt is transformed, reborn a vampire. Through his twisted religious view, he sees this new ‘gift’ as a message from God and takes it upon himself to convert his whole parish into slaves of the new order. Starla works the local strip joint as a waitress/dancer, her life’s bummed out and she feels she’s going nowhere. Fortune works the door, he’s an alcoholic trying to survive a life without his daughter and family. Little do they realise that their lives will become intertwined as they join forces to bring down the evil preachers ‘divine’ movement and save the town.
Southern Gothics greatest strength lies almost completely in its characterisations, deep, complicated, perhaps a little stereotyped in places, but nevertheless solid. William Forsythe’s portrayal of Pitt (the towns preacher) is absolutely superb. He shows the mania of a man torn between his religious views and his own failures as a human being. This tension is what would apparently drive the preacher over the edge once his transformation takes place. We’ve seen throughout history how religious nuttery can lead everybody down a road of darkness and Southern Gothic highlights this in its own style and does so convincingly. The other actors do a great job also, Yul Vazquez’s portrayal of Hazel Fortune the strip club’s local ‘hard man’ is definitely strong and at times you can’t help but sympathise with his character. All in all, strong show for Southern Gothic.
Shocks wise, I cant say that Southern Gothic is really that scary to be honest. Yes there are some creepy scenes but nothing that will have you hiding behind the couch. Special effects and gore are generally on the minimal side with a few rare exceptions, a few beheadings, heart tearings etc, nothing we haven’t seen a million times before. I’ve seen much worse, but then much better in this regard and i can’t say that shocks and gore are really this movies strong point. The direction is reasonably solid, perhaps the only gripe i could give is that at times things get a little too dark. Now i know dark does wonders for atmosphere but if you can’t see much at all, it becomes counter productive. Fortunately this doesn’t happen often and never becomes a massive issue.
In the end i would recommend Southern Gothic, it has strong characters that you can invest in whilst a reasonable amount of shocks/gore. Pacing wise it can be slow, so the hyperactive viewer had best watch something else, however for the rest of us it should make for a decent nights viewing.
Director: Mark Young
Writer: Mark Young
Actors: William Forsythe, Yul Vazquez, Nicole DuPort, Dani Englander
Release Year: 2007