Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Jose Maria Yazpik
What's it about
Borderland centers on three college students who are looking to party in Mexico during Spring Break. Unfortunately for them, they run into a black magic practicing, drug dealing cult who want a 'gringo' to sacrifice.
Is it good movie?
I think I'll give this movie a one line review: it's like Hostel, only good.
Okay, I bet you want more from me, and who am I to deny man massive fanbase (which may be over 11!)? Anyway, self-indulgence aside, this movie was decent stuff, and definetely the best After Dark entry I've watched so far.
The plot isn't much to write home about. You have three stereotypical characters (the preacher's son, the party animal and the conservative conflicted one) who quickly get into trouble with the cult after inadvertantly crossing paths with one of them. The characters aren't well written, but they are well acted and this gives them life. And hey, Sean Astin's getting work! He's great as a sniveling rube cult lackey.
The direction was good too, I really liked the way this film was shot using various film filters. The colors were vibrant and dark as necessary and I felt that this added quite a bit to the film rather than making it look like a music video.
Also, Borderland (which is kind of a stupid name) was a brutal film that took me by surprise. There's a lot of violence in this one that will make you cringe. We're talking about plucked eyes and slashed Achilles' tendons. This one doesn't really conclude happily either, so those of you who are looking for fairty tale endings should likely look elsewhere.
Ultimately, this one is a film that has a mediocre premise but manages to rise above it through an engaging cast and some serious violence. I like that it didn't rise to silly levels and maintained a serious air about it.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and looks really nice, if I do say so myself (and of course I do).
Audio comes in Dolby 5.1, and although the mix is a bit front heavy, it works indeed.
Up first is Inside Zev's Head: A Filmmaker's Diary, which follows director Zev Berman around as he creates his film. It's good stuff, very honest and deep enough for something that runs 20 minutes.
There's a good audio commentary with director Zev Berman, actor Brian Presley, Director of Photography Scott Kevan and Producer Lauren Moews, although it can be confusing as to who's talking sometimes. Informative stuff though.
The best feature here is the 28 minute Rituales de Sangre - The True Story Behind the Cult Murder Investigation, which is essentially an interview with George Gavito, a former Deputy Sheriff from the Brownsville, Texas police. The man is charismatic, honest and interesting and gives a jaw dropping account of the truth behind what really happened. Knowing the facts behind this story really makes the movie better and I must say this was a must watch feature.
There's also the Miss Horrorfest Contest webisodes, which are throwaway pieces featuring girls vying for the title of Miss Horrorfest.
Although I wouldn't watch it many more times, I enjoyed this movie more than I expected to and it has me wanting to see more of this year's 8 films to die for. Borderland is a solid effort that is better than it has any right to be, check it out.