On my quest to be terrified on a regular basis, and without any new Paranormal Activity films available until OCTOBER I have had to branch out a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever found a horror that hasn’t frightened me at least a bit, but I do find it difficult to find new and interesting horror films to try. So many are generic and dull, with the sort of formula so fantastically parodied in Cabin In The Woods. It really isn’t enough for the film to be jumpy and gory, there also needs to be an element of mystery and hopefully a bit of a twist.
The Borderlands is a British film set in the West Country. The border mentioned is, I assume the border between England and Wales. It’s a found footage film, which is a format that can often be used to great effect. In fact, although I have heard of it being misused to be honest I have never seen a film where it hasn’t worked. The story centres on three men who are investigating a potential miracle on behalf of the Vatican, and naturally there is a lot of video recording going on. All the participants have to wear head cams as well which could seem weird but I think is made more plausible by the addition of an unnamed figure directing things from behind the scenes.
There are a lot of staple ingredients for a good horror here. A creepy and dilapidated church with the most inadvertently coquettish crucifix I’ve ever seen, which inexplicably was mostly visited at night. Some old manuscripts hinting at an unnamed horror. Introverted locals. Shuddering walls, loud groaning noises and tumbling items are also involved. However, there are a lot of less obvious tactics as well. The three men are bothered by local youths; it’s not linked to the larger plot but adds to the air of mystery and unpleasantness. The head cams are also very effective; a couple of times the head cam lights upon something that the wearer simply hasn’t spotted. Generally I would say that it’s a very subtle film, completely different from how it appears from the DVD cover.
So, to the denouement. It is not obvious what is going on for much of the film, and in fact the final point of the film is only made clear in the final scenes. I didn’t see it coming, and there is no real explanation as to how it is able to occur. Of course, I like that. I prefer when the unusual isn’t entirely explained. I just find it far too much of a plot device for someone to google what is going on – as they do in Paranormal Activity 2 – and go, oh, it is a demon. Come on guys. Work a little harder.
This is a small film, a British film, and well worth watching. I know I haven’t given tons of information but I really don’t want to spoil it. Give it a go. You won’t regret it. Unless you don’t like to be scared, that is.