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Borderland

Directed by Zev Berman

Written by Eric Poppen, Zev Berman

Starring Brian Presley, Rider Strong, Jake Muxworthy, Beto Cuevas

Produced by Lauren Moews, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Elisa Salinas

Not Rated

105 minutes

***

Okay, o my readership, I am abundantly excited by what I’m doing right now. Seriously. Because this is the time of year—vaguely, anyway, it’s not as though it’s the same time every year even though you’d think it should be—that I get to bust out the newest copy of the After Dark Horrorfest for you all, and over the next few weeks, we’re going to carry right on with the best and the brightest and the least of the greatest, from number eight all the way to number one.

And we’re kicking off this monster block of joy with Borderland, based on a true story. Three Texas University students go over the border to celebrate their imminent graduation, only to run afoul of an ancient cult looking for human sacrifices. And the three students definitely fit the bill.

First off, let me say that I love the drive-in feel of the menu select screen. It’s a great angle and a downright joy to behold, easily on par with last year’s king of the menus, Gravedancers.

And of course, there really aren’t enough movies involving footage of people getting stoned and driving bumper cars.

Though Borderland is packed to the gills with bloodletting and brutality, it makes a surprisingly good cautionary tale. Granted, some will cry “cliché” at the sight of the drunk, stoned American kids getting dragged off to be human sacrifices for some Mexican cult, and anybody who compares this to Hostel will not be merely whistling Dixie, but still. It’s somehow appropriate, though. Better than Hostel by a long shot, a great movie to show the kids before they bug out for spring break, and still a little scary with some action on the side, Borderland is a lot better than it should be.

Of course, it’s a little less than believable to find that some of the cultists are involved in drug smuggling, and using “shields of blood” to make their drugs invisible to border guards, but this is a minor detail fairly easily overlooked.

The ending, an excellent presentation of siege warfare and survival horror, is a shining point in the whole affair.

The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, audio options, a commentary track, a making-of featurette, Miss Horrorfest contest webisodes and a feature about the investigation into the various cultist murders that brought this all about.

All in all, I’m seriously impressed by Borderland, a film that was, in all reality, better than it had any right to be. A fairly solid story with some great action and a few minor slow parts, it’s definitely one to watch.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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