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The Borderlands – 5

Director – Elliot Goldner

Cast – Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Patrick Godfrey, Kevin Johnson, Luke Neal

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Well you could say I have been on a found footage binge, watching Afflicted and Alien Abduction as well this week, and sadly only Afflicted was a solid effort. What interested me about The Borderlands is its inclusion of religion, namely the Catholic religion. I am not a Catholic, but I enjoy seeing Catholicism used in horror because the religion’s long history has much to do with fighting demons as it does with committing horrific acts themselves. It is rare that I see a good horror film involving said religion, and ultimately you can chalk this flick into the pit of failure in that regard. There are some good scenes in this flick, including a very engaging climax that I never expected, but in the end The Borderlands is another found-footage flick with much to offer that never delivers.

A team of Vatican investigators are sent to investigate a remote church in the British West Country after receiving reports of paranormal activity.

With such a potentially awesome story before me this piece had my attention secured from the get-go. Elliot Goldner’s screenplay starts off a little odd if you ask me, introducing us to our characters without any dialogue regarding why they are there. After 16 minutes the story moves the two protagonists to the church and we see the surveillance video that caused the paranormal investigation. The video does not offer any concrete proof, and because of that one investigator believes the video is a fake and the other believes it is of a real supernatural occurrence. Our two main protagonists were written decently at best, but both were highly unlikable. I cared for neither, and because of that I never cared about what would potentially happen to them, which does not let the tension and conflict affect me as much. They spend the bulk of the story investigating inside the church, with the conflict coming from a few different sources. We do see some horror conflict at the hand of the demonic presence, which is pretty tame and consists of loud noises and inanimate objects moving on their own. The other source of conflict is local and religions politics, which I can’t get into very much without including spoilers. The bulk of the story is very uneventful and quite boring if you are looking for action, but the final sequence is incredible and one of the most horrific of the year so far. It will leave the climax open to much discussion, and I usually enjoy those.

Elliot Goldner also serves as the film’s director, and if anything I suppose his story held back his direction more than anything else. He did well with the horror, giving us a few decent jolts that are essentially jump scares. The audio played a big role in these scares, helping to provide excellent atmosphere that aided the creepy sets used for the church. Acting-wise the actors did a fair job, but neither really sold their poorly written roles. Goldner’s direction really shines during the final sequence. His sets are incredible (they are not in the church anymore) and he relies on live-action effects for the horror. The execution is so good that I watched this sequence several times, each time licking my lips more and more over the awesomeness unfolding – awesomeness that should have been present throughout the film and not its final scene.

Overall, The Borderlands is a film with an awesome overall storyline that sadly never lives up to its incredible potential. Instead, the story provides for a boring experience that throws in a few small scares here and there but does not fully mature until it’s closing sequence, and by then it is too late.

Rating: 5/10

…Additional Stills…

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