9 out of 10
Release Date: 15th April 2014
Director: Elliot Goldner
Cast: Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Luke Neal and Patrick Godfrey
Writer: Elliot Goldner
Trailer: THE BORDERLANDS
Not another found-footage movie! There’s a bunch of people that have turned off from this cheap framing device already but wait, come back! Here’s one of the very best of them. It had to happen eventually that there’d be someone out there that could use this storytelling method and come up with a great story to tell. The Borderlands is that film. It’s truly the best we can hope for after the legions of Blair Witch Project / Paranormal Activity wannabes.
Vatican sanctioned miracle debunker Deacon (GORDON KENNEDY – JUST LIKE A WOMAN) arrives at a remote Devon church to disprove a supernatural event caught on film. With him is atheist techie Gray (ROBIN HILL – DOWN TERRACE). They are later joined by their tardy handler; a high ranking priest called Mark (AIDAN MCARDLE – KILLING BONO). The church and their rented cottage is rigged with cameras. Said footage shows a family christening disrupted by ringing bells and moving candle sticks. Deacon has seen faked ‘miracles’ like this over and over again. But there’s something more to this case. The clergyman under investigation is a young man, Father Crellick (LUKE NEAL – WILDERNESS), the first to welcome a congregation after the church had been closed for nearly 100 years. He is shaken by a series of encounters and the investigation uncovers a very very disturbing mystery.
The atmosphere is key. The villagers themselves seem to be a dark and subdued lot. Hoodies lurk on every corner and the old people are monosyllabic and violent. The church itself is very creepy, it’s small but large enough to house something atrocious. The scenes in which Father Crillick is caught on camera going to the church in the dead of night are particularly hair raising. For a horror buff like myself this is a potent horror. There are well-established plot beats but this only serves to put you in a place of comfort only for the story to utterly unseat you come the climax.
Great performances from the forgotten Gordon Kennedy (wasn’t he one of Cilla Black‘s mates on Surprise Surprise back in the day?) and Down Terrace‘s Robin Hill. The fear that Gray shows as their grave situation escalates is excellent. I’ve rarely seen a character nail ‘frightened’ to death as he does. The Borderlands is successful because even after the mystery is partially unravelled you’re still gripped. The outcome is as unknowable and completely baffling as it is successful. One of the best UK horror ghost stories Britpic has seen to date.
9 out of 10 – Great yet unusual adoption of the found-footage method of horror filmmaking. This is all about the plot and some very very good acting that carries you away and gets you swept up in the mounting feeling of panic and dread. Something I’ve not seen in a ‘FF’ since Rec or The Blair Witch Project. Horror fans get connected.
Another review below by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher. He loved this scary masterpiece too!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Gordon Kennedy: Belly of the Bulldog, Robin Hood (TV), With Or Without You, Just Like a Woman
- Robin Hill: The ABCs of Death, Down Terrace
- Aidan McArdle: Mr Selfridge (TV), The Mill (TV), Killing Bono, Morris – A Life With Bells On
- Luke Neal: Pudsey The Dog, Wilderness
- Patrick Godfrey: Mr Turner, The Duchess, The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), Everafter, The Gambler, The Remains Of The Day, Maurice, Clockwise, A Room With A View, Dr Who (TV)