[REVIEW] Southern Comfort (1981) – Fred Ward Vs. Varmants – ManlyMovie

[REVIEW] Southern Comfort (1981) – Fred Ward Vs. Varmants


Runtime: 106 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Rednecks Vs. Cajuns in the badass swamp, you lose it here, you’re in a world of hurt

A military outfit is being picked off and eliminated one by one in some badass bush by an unseen enemy.  Sounds like Predator.  But this came before it.  And the unseen enemy is not a ‘fucking alien’ but – arguably worse – a band of gun-totin’ Cajun Hicks.  Did the makers of Predator watch this movie?  Anyway, in order to speed up manoeuvres (so that they can spend more time with the prostitutes they have waiting down river, see) the National Guard steal some boats to take the easy route.  Trouble is, them boats belonged to said Cajun varmants and they dun took ’em without permission.  Naturally, the apology doesn’t settle things, the Cajuns will only settle for some killin’.  Stealing wooden boats is serious business, apology or no apology.

Though I could understand why a Predator would take on Special Forces and not this measly National Guard Unit.  Because this group has Fred fucking Ward in it – Predator don’t want none of that shit.  Of course, it’s Fred Ward who had the sense to pack some live ammo.  And it was Fred Ward who was the first to make the prisoner for who he was.  As if Fred Ward wasn’t enough reason to watch this movie, it has Powers Boothe.  Powers Boothe, that man never gets enough acclaim.  What a resume – Southern Comfort, Red Dawn (the real one that is), Extreme Prejudice, Tombstone, Frailty, Sudden Death.  It’s almost like he makes sense for an Expendables Villain.  Throughout this whole film, these are the only two among their panicking crew whose nerves and faces remain stone-cold and calm.  Shit, cast him and Ward both!

But this film is more than just a cool concept with a good cast.  It’s a well executed concept.  It’s like Predator stripped bare, it is to Predator what Alien was to Aliens.  You never really see the people hunting these troops, a nice touch of amping up tension.  This is a kind of survival horror film.  When it’s obvious that the blank ammo they were issued isn’t enough, live ammo is rationed (Fred Ward’s of course, which he has to share against his will!).  Training is called upon.  And just when you think the movie is over, it adds a surprise additional 10-15 minute situation.  A creepy situation too, I’m not sure whether the finale is inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Deliverance.  And it might be just me, but I think there’s even a touch of Blair Witch about this movie – but of course it’s obvious who ripped who off with that one.

And incase I didn’t mention it – Fred Fucking Ward versus Rednecks in a fight to the death.