Today: May 22, 2024

The Borderlands

The found footage sub-genre has always been one welcomed by horror filmmakers. For one thing it is relatively affordable to execute but it also allows for a clear reason for said footage to be ‘found’ rather than just broadcast. From Cannibal Holocaust to the likes of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, found-footage horrors have been around for a long time and show no signs of going anywhere soon.

The Borderlands is one such film that might have passed you by however. So it is great to see it get a Blu-ray re-release from Second Sight. Because Borderlands is a found-footage horror that knows exactly how to get under your skin.

Known in some territories as Final Prayer, The Borderlands – which it should be highlighted is a far superior title, alluding to something between life and death – follows a Vatican investigation into a rural church in England. Techy Gray (Robin Hill) is there to simply observe and report while Deacon (Gordon Kennedy) is the expert of such things with a dark history of dispelling or otherwise claims of miracles and possessions. As they set out to document their findings, strange sounds and worrying events start to unfold in the church around them.

The Borderlands is far more interested in atmospherics than jump-scares. Those looking for the sudden loud noises and “oh GOD” moments of Paranormal Activity might feel a little short-changed but fans of unsettling, slow-builds before descending into pure terror come the final act of The Blair Witch Project will be delighted. Writer-director Elliot Goldner has created something genuinely gripping and come the end you will be left reeling with what you have borne witness to.

Central to this, and it is something touched on in the making of documentary accompanying the release, is a location that is harrowingly creepy. A small church in the middle of nowhere that feels like countless you’ve probably driven past and wondered, “who treks up that hill to attend that church?”. At times it dips into Little Britain territory with the locals giving sideways glances at the protagonists but it is to Goldner’s credit that this element hints at something darker within the town itself, that perhaps they’re more aware of what lurks in the church than they’re letting on. 
As found-footage films go, The Borderlands is a disturbing and sinister delight. A film packed with tension that unfolds into genuine dread. The final act is so disturbing it will leave you gasping come the final credits.

The Borderlands is out on Monday 15th April 2024 on Limited and Standard Edition Blu-ray.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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