"Don't believe everything you see."
The Borderlands (2013) is a brand new British independent horror film and the first feature of writer director Elliot Goldner.
The film follows a group of Vatican investigators whose job it is to investigate and record miracles and acts of God and weed out fraudulent cases.
I really like the premise of this film. It's super simple and clever that I really found myself in awe of this indie horror flick right off the bat.
I'm really not a fan of handheld "shakey-cam" found footage films like this but I gotta say, I think this was very watchable. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that the cameras they used were attached to headsets, and since we naturally keep our head upright when walking, I'm thinking this may have helped the watchability of this film quite a bit.
And I must admit I was pleased with the ending. I of course won't ruin it here, but I think it's very original and unlike anything I've seen before in these types of films. Whether or not it pays off for the film is debatable, but it was highly original.
This is already considered one of the most accurate found footage films ever made. And while that is true for the most part (they set up every single camera and use them all), it still makes the mistakes that a lot of these films make, in that they set up unnecessary cameras that would be uncalled for by these characters. Primarily I'm speaking of the CCTV cameras that they set up inside the place they're staying, this is something you just wouldn't film, there'd be no need to do this, from the character's mindset. I think the director wanted it just to give a wider range of shots, which I understand and appreciate but I think he needed to find a better reason to do so story-wise.
The most enjoyable thing about this film are the characters. All of the characters are very interesting on their own and work even better with the characters they interact with. These are very believable and likeable characters that really make the film enjoyable to watch. I found the first act really slow in this film (necessary to seem like every other found footage film, and really pay off in the end) but it was the really interesting characters and some great writing that really makes the first part of this film watchable. There's something really great about these characters and their faith and what they don't believe that they get into a bit also. I love how the most religious people in this film are also the most skeptical and first to dismiss something as a fake.
That being said I think the actors themselves have a lot to do with the believability of these characters as well. All of the actors really do an amazing job in this film and really help to make everything else in this film work as well as it does. Hard to come by in a low budget indie film.
The Borderlands also is just a really good mystery. It builds beautifully with lots of unexpected character turns and keeps building toward a beautifully original pay off in a way that just captivates you, and will have you really on edge and waiting to see what comes next, through the entire film.
The Borderlands (2013) is one of the best recent horror films in years, and in a style I don't even care much for too, so that's saying something!
Tomorrow on the 31 Nights of Macabre Movies we continue with a much older British horror film ;)
Be sure to check out Daimeon's review of this film too!
This film doesn't have an American distributor yet, so I can't share a link with you. But when it does come out, I highly recommend you check it out.