Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Borderlands - dvd review

Remember a few weeks back, I blogged about a film called The Devil's Business? Well, over the weekend, I watched another great British horror. Two in the space of six weeks? I know. Madness.

Anyway, The Borderlands is another lovely slice of low-budget and creepy as hell horror. It's a little more normal in its approach than The Devil's Business in as much as it takes place over a longer timeframe, a fair bit occurs outdoors and in daylight...and it's a found footage film. It seems these days, everyone and his dog has had enough of found footage. Personally, I don't think it's an overdone genre, but it is one that's easy to cock up. If the focus is on the style of filming rather than character and story, then it's bound to fail. I'm happy to say that's not the case with this film. The balance of character and story is spot on.

We have a church somewhere in rural England that's supposedly the site of poltergeist activity. Enter three guys sent by the Vatican to see if it's legit and therefore potentially a miracle, or if - as at least one of the men suspects - a fake by the local priest in order to boost the low numbers of his congregation. Along with the two priests (who are not your usual doddering old farts), we've got the techie in charge of all the monitoring equipment including some pretty cool headcams, and another man - the main investigator from the Vatican. Before the real meat of the film kicks in, the relationship between Gray (the techie) and Deacon (Vatican official number one) is superbly done. Two bored men with little in common, both waiting for the priest to arrive so they can get stuck in, and both privately desperate to know for sure what the deal is up at the church. How their relationship develops from two strangers wary of one another to the closest thing the other has to a friend in the back end of beyond and with what might be some serious shit kicking off is done very well. You actually like and care about these guys - sadly rare in a lot of horror.

But it's not all sitting around and gettng to know you type stuff. There's definitely something going on at the church (special mention to the use of location) and it's not nice or friendly. Once they start digging deeper, things get creepy. Very creepy, very quickly.

I've read comparisons between this and films like the Paranormal Activity series. I made it through the first film and about half an hour of the second before my boredom and irritation made me turn it off. The Borderlands is far superior and proves yet again that filmmakers don't need big money, overdone scares and unlikeable characters to make a solid horror film.

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