Borderland (2007)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 57%
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Ranked #3,749
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Three college students, Phil, Ed, and Henry take a road trip into Mexico for a week of drinking and carefree fun only to have Phil find himself a captive of a group of satanic Mexican drug smugglers who kill tourists and whom are looking for a group of new ones to prepare for a sacrifice. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 07, 2008
I've had extremely low expectations for the films coming out of the latest After Dark Horrorfest, as with the sole exception of Crazy Eights, none of these films have sounded too terribly interesting. When I finally saw the aforementioned Crazy Eights and absolutely loathed it, and after I heard the overwhelming amount of negative reviews for damned near every film in the set, I think it should go without saying that I decided to basically skip the entire lot of those releases. However, Borderland came with some glowing recommendations from a friend of mine, and while the synopsis behind it made it sound like something that would be average at best, I decided to listen to those recommendations and give it a shot. I'm damned glad that I took that advice.

Things begin here as they have in thousands of other horror films, as we find three college guys - Ed (Brian Presley), Henry (Jake Muxworthy), and Phil (Rider Strong) - heading down to Mexico for a weekend of drinking, wanton drug usage, and of course, getting laid by Mexican hookers. The boys eventually meet up with Valeria (Martha Higareda) and are in the process of having themselves a grand time, but when Phil decides to head home early, he finds himself getting kidnapped by a Mexican cult who specializes in human sacrifice. Now, Ed and Henry must find their friend, but in a town where even the police are afraid of this cult, who can they turn to for help? Valeria has connections with a couple of locals, but will that be enough?

Here's the deal with this film: the description on the back of the DVD case makes it sound like just another lackluster horror film which may provide the audience with a couple of neat kills and some gratuitous T&A, but it doesn't sound like something that would be an overly memorable film. Hell, you may very well get that impression from reading the description I wrote up above, and that would be perfectly understandable. You see, the strength of this storyline is difficult to convey without treading into spoiler territory, and because of that, any synopsis written for the film at hand wouldn't do it justice. That's really a shame, because even though this is only the second film I've seen from the latest crop of After Dark releases, I firmly believe that Borderland may very well be the best of the bunch.

Yes, the storyline is the biggest strength of the film, and while it follows a tried and true horror formula (guy gets in trouble, his friends must help him, they have to battle baddies along the way), it's the way that it's presented here that allows the film to truly succeed. Even though this story is very simple on the surface, there are a lot of surprises along the way and we quickly discover that there's much more to it than we may have originally anticipated. It's still not exactly Shakespeare, don't get me wrong, but it's much better than I expected and it's damned entertaining as a result.

Making the film even better is the fact that all of this is presented with some extremely nasty scenes coupled with some disgustingly great gore effects. The opening scene alone won huge points with me in this regard, and it only gets better once the body count starts to rise. I don't want to give anything away about the treats that gorehounds are in for throughout the running time, but "eye" will say that there's one particularly memorable scene towards the beginning of the film that is just downright awesome. It's hard not to get chills when watching some of this once you consider that this tale is (legitimately) based on real-world events, and even though I'm sure some of the details have been changed, it's still pretty disturbing when you're reminded that there are people out there who would do this sort of thing without batting an eye.

Overall, Borderland is a solid film that delivers in every way possible, and horror fans would be well advised to give it a shot. This film has singlehandedly inspired me to check out the rest of the After Dark releases to see if there are any more hidden gems like this, and for that, I'm going with an 8/10.
grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 04/29/2008, 02:06 AM
I bought this at Best Buy almost a month ago based on your review and I'm glad to say I wasn't tooo dissapointed.. Ryder Strongs' execution is classic and though there are a lot of problems with the rest of the movie, I enjoyed it most out of any After Dark deal and it's the only one I plan on buying.
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