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Southern Comfort

Score: 71%
Rating: R
Publisher: Shout! Factory
Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/2
Running Time: 105 Mins.
Genre: Drama/Action/Thriller
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono


  • Documentary
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Stills Gallery
  • DVD Version of the Film

Southern Comfort is the 1981 film directed by Walter Hill of The Warriors fame and seemed to me to be a mash-up of Apocalypse Now and Deliverance. It is the story of a group of National Guardsmen on maneuvers in a Louisiana swamp and the situation they find themselves in following a few mistakes and some playful, yet criminal behavior. Led by Poole (Peter Coyote), a decorated soldier and leader, the group of nine men enter the swamp, but are unable to follow their designated path due to recent flooding. They decide to commandeer a few pirogues (Cajun canoes) they see on a bank with the intent of returning them, or at least, simply "borrowing" them, but the real owners show up and see what appears to be their boats being stolen. Stuckey (Lewis Smith), a particularly stupid member of the group, decides to shoot at the Cajuns and as they duck for cover, he laughs, knowing he is shooting blanks, but the Cajuns don't know this and return fire, killing a member of the group. Some of the Guardsmen are furious and want revenge, specifically Reese (Fred Ward) and Bowden (Alan Autry), while Hardin (Powers Boothe) and Spencer (Keith Carradine) just want to get to the meeting point with the body of their fallen comrade.

As they come upon a Cajun shack and take one of the Cajun men prisoner, the group comes to realize that they are being meticulously hunted and will be picked off, one by one, by the locals. Do they release their captive in the hopes that this nightmare will end or is it already decided that they must die for their transgressions? The rest of the film is a cat-and-mouse battle for survival between a group of men who have lived in the swamp their whole lives and a collection of outsiders who really aren't working too well together.

I am guessing Southern Comfort is a bit of a cult classic, but personally I didn't like it at all. Between the slow motion, glorified death scenes, the occasional yet sickening butchering of animals, and the barbaric portrayal of the Cajun culture, I just wasn't a fan. Also, it's pretty clear this film is an allegorical comparison to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and it almost felt as though some of these men were getting what they deserved for meddling where they didn't belong. The film piqued my interest when I first saw the press release because I am always interested to see how Louisiana is portrayed by Hollywood, since I am a native of South Louisiana. Clearly, the Cajuns in this film were not portrayed as the friendly and open culture that they truly are, at least not the main group that was the film's focus. Also, in watching Southern Comfort, keep in mind it is from a different time period and some of the dialogue is fairly racially inflammatory.

The Blu-ray box claims to have outtakes, in addition to new interviews with cast members and the trailer, but I saw no outtakes, only a stills gallery. The documentary is a collection of interviews with the cast and crew members and they seem to be pretty recent, so there was some good stuff there, but it would probably be of more interest to someone who is a long-time fan of the film. This Blu-ray release of Southern Comfort does seem to have been cleaned up a good deal and the picture itself looked pretty good, especially considering its age. I just wasn't a fan of the content and didn't find it all that scary and suspenseful, more offensive than anything else. If you are a fan of this film and have been looking to add it to your collection, you will probably really enjoy the 30 minute collection of interviews with the cast and film crew, and you'll like having this film in high def. As for me, it just didn't make me a fan.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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