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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 7 August 2015
Quite creepy in parts, one of those "secret cult captures unwitting tourists" kind of movie, not bad but the low budget does cause limitations and the promising first half leads to a very predictable conclusion so there isn't much here for seasoned horror buffs that they won't have seen many times before. I can be fairly sure I won't be seeing it a second time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 January 2013
`Compact' is the word I'd use to describe Borderland. It doesn't offer anything revolutionary which will blow your mind, but, if you're a fan of the genre, you should find it satisfying.

It follows the (familiar) story of X good-looking young Americans, travelling to X and running into trouble in the form of X. Sometimes these packs of good-looking young Americans are girls, sometimes boys, other time a mixed group. Sometimes they travel to a remote town in America, sometimes a remote town in Europe. Once they get to where they're going, they run into trouble in the form of zombie/vampires/ghosts/rednecks/cannibals - choose your `nasty.' In this instance, three lads travel to Mexico and get mixed up with... well, you'll have to watch it to find out.

Like I say, the story is pretty generic. I've seen plenty of these sorts of movies (you can probably tell by my cynical tone), but this one is pretty reasonable. The protagonists aren't (completely) unlikeable, don't do (too many) stupid things and you can basically root for their plight.

If you like this sort of film, give it a go. Trust me, there are many worse than this (and I've sat through almost every last one of them).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 February 2016
A great movie about satanic sacrifice involving students who go to The Mexican border for some down time. They get kidnapped and used in satanic rituals.
Gory but at least it has a decent storyline, it's not just blood and guts.
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on 9 October 2012
I watch a lot of horror dvds but this one was just great, but I have to say that I nearly stopped it, I was feeling uncomfortable, and to say the least scared, I hope there are more of this type. Brill!!!!!!!
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on 12 April 2010
This is not a bad film but its not spectacular neither. The film starts off with scenes of torture and my feeling was this film would be quite gory and scary like Saw. However, the first few scenes were probably some of the scariest in the entire film. Although the film has been compared to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw, I'd say there is alot more torture and violent scenes in both. What this film does lack is a decent strong storyline. Its quite predictable and doesnt really go anywhere.
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Horrorfest 2007 did not make it to the Zenith City, so I had to wait for last year's offerings to come out on DVD to be able to check them out, going the one a night route this time around. One of the interesting things about going to see the original 8 films 2 die 4 in the theater was the order in which I saw the films, since that colors the veiwer's perceptions of each film. The fact that the first one I saw last year, "Reincarnation," was the best of the bunch certainly affected what I thought of Horrorfest 2006 overall (It was not until I watched the schlock horror films that Lionsgate released direct to DVD during the past couple of years that I had to admit Horrorfest really does represent the cream of the crop, albeit during a period of extended drought). Anyhow, to figure out the order of these films I went to the official Horrorfest website and arranged these eight films in the order they appeared there. That means "Borderland" takes the lead off position, and history might repeat itself because it was the film I heard mentioned most often as being the best of the second round of offerings.

"Borderland" begins with a group of Mexican drug runners going to town on a pair of Mexican police officers, one of who survives the ordeal. This is a prologue to the main part of the film, where three Texas University students travel to a Mexican border town as a last fling before graudation. Henry (Jake Muxworthy), Phil (Rider Strong), and Ed (Brian Presley) have a series of misadventures south of the border that end up crossing the paths of both the lovely Valeria (Martha Higareda) and the drug cult. So it takes a while to get back to the blood, gore, and dismemberment that makes up most of the final act. Clearly there are torture porn elements to this 2007 film, and parts are reminiscent of the original "Hostel," most specifically in the fact that the victims are males rather than females (although the same rules apply for figuring out which of the trio will be last one standing). But director Zem Berman provides a mixed bag of horror genres in his film. The back of the DVD proclaims this film "blends the raw fear of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre}]' with the stark reality of '[[ASIN:B0000AN4JE In Cold Blood.' I can see the former as a point of reference, but not the latter, mainly because Ulises (Damian Alcazar), the cop who survives the opening scene, is around but not part of a concerted effort to track down the bad guys.

The most memorable part of this film is cleary the performance by Sean Astin, who shows up as one of the bad guys. Having played "Rudy" and Samwise Gamgee in "The Lord of the Rings," there is a tendency to think of Astin as being a kind soul and a little fellow. Well, forget that after watching him in this film. If you were wondering why somebody like Astin would show up for a supporting role in a film like this one, the obvious answer is the opportunity to play against type, which he does quite well. I found it interesting that Berman was more willing to show bad things happening to the good guys than when bad things happen to the villains, although I am not sure what such a distinction signifies. My biggest complaint here is the overuse of hand held cameras, because I am getting really tired of the shots constantly bouncing around in films these days (especially since more and more often I am convinced the rationale for the use of hand held cameras is not aesthetic, but economics: it is way cheaper to shoot a movie that way). However, whatever they did to the film stock for "Borderland " gives the movie an effective look for the south of the border setting. Too bad the soundtrack is little more than constant ominous ambience, because halfway through it becomes rather annoying.

Unlike most movies that throw out the label "Inspired by a True Story," Berman makes sure with the limited DVD Bonus Features that he proves his point. In "Inside Zev's Head: A Filmmaker's Diary," Berman tells about his own personal connections to the case of Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo, the serial killer and cult leader in Mexico known as "The Godfather of Matamoros," when he and some college buddies headed from New Orleans to Mexico with a bunch of voodoo stuff in their van. The specific point of inspiration is the disappearance of Mark Kilory, a college student, during Spring Break in 1989. It turned out that Constanzo, in addition to running drugs, engaged in occult rituals and human sacrifice as followers of Santeria, a religious hybrid of Catholicism and African religions. The details of the investigation are covered in "Rituales de Sangre: The True Story Behind the Cult Murder Investigation," where one of the Texas law officers intimately involved in the case tells the story. As far as telling the true story behind the movie, this is one of the better documentaries I have seen. It was almost enough to get me to round up on this particular DVD, but I really am getting sick of the over-use of handheld cameras in movies these days. Next up: "Unearthed."
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on 28 December 2012
A bit too long, a bit too nasty - ended up getting very bored indeed.
The highlights, if you want to call them that, are the opening torture scene (tougher than a hostel movie) and Sean Astin turning bad guy for once.
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on 1 May 2012
Borderland is based on true events so it is a little more believable than your average horror film, and allot scarier to think this happened! The film has some great bloody violence and shocking moments, you wont look the same way again at a person holding a machete! Worth a watch if its a genre your interested in.
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on 31 December 2010
`Borderland' has been a relatively hard to get movie that took a couple of years to get a Region 2 release. This could easily have been a bad movie full to the brim with clichés. Thankfully it is not.

On first glance, youngsters away on spring break getting caught up in torture and murder will have your interest slowly going elsewhere, however after the initial Hostel-esque first few scenes the movie actually plays out into a good story that unusually whilst boasting is `Based on True events' actually is, and not just a false marketing ploy (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Fourth Kind, The Strangers, take a bow), and has facts behind it. We have a great 30 minute documentary in the Special Features that tells of the full police story that this was loosely based on.

The cast is good, although Rider Strong will always be Ben Savage's mate in `Boy Meets World', even if he did a pretty good role in 2003's Horror, `Cabin Fever'. There is also an excellent performance by ex-Goonie, and Lord Of The Ringer, Sean Astin, pushing aside his slightly geeky persona to become a psychotic redneck.

The film therefore turns more into a dark and slightly horrific thriller, rather than a horror, and ends up being a lot better than I thought it would be. There is fast-paced action, with splashes of tension giving a pretty good movie. This isn't like Hostel, nor is it like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and whilst I loved both of these films, this gives a little more in what you don't see as opposed to it being a pure gorefest just for the sheer bloody hell of it.
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on 14 May 2011
I consider myself something of a horror movie fan but ten minutes into this I came very close to turning if off. The opening sequence is pretty unpleasant and (an even worse crime in my book) gratuitous.

After that it settles down but failed to grab me. My first problem was the characters: too grungy, druggie and unpleasant to each other to really appeal, while the female lead, Valeria, was played by an impossibly petite actress - something that always irritates me.

[Small spoilers in this next paragraph]. There's some initial tension as the story gets going but as soon the whole drug smuggling / blood sacrifice plot is revealed that tension slackens. After that I found it all rather predictable. If you've seen any horror film in the last 40 years, you'll guess what happens next (though reading other reviews here I'm obviously in the minority. Sorry!). The villains are also dispatched without much fanfare.

On the plus side it makes a break from convention to see young men tortured and terrorised rather than the usual big-busted and helpless girls. The film is also beautifully shot - with a high contrast grainy effect and a strong use of primary colours. If only the film was as engaging as its cinematography.

2.5 stars - but as my policy is always to round up...
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