18th Mar2014

‘The Borderlands’ DVD Review

by Jack Kirby

Stars: Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Luke Neal, Aidan McArdle, Sarah Annis, Lee Arnold, Patrick Godfrey, Marcus Cunningham | Written and Directed by Elliot Goldner

Elliot Goldner directs this British horror following a team of specialists from the Vatican who are drawn to a remote West Country church by reports of mysterious occurrences in the area. 

Borderlands-DVD

The Borderlands sees a deacon from the Catholic Church (Gordon Kennedy) and a sound engineer (Robin Hill) dispatched to a small and ancient church in rural England to verify the claims of miraculous occurrences. Though Father Crellick (Luke Neal) has video footage of items apparently being moved around inside the church by supernatural forces, the deacon is  a sceptic by nature and wants more conclusive evidence. He is later joined by another church official (Aidan McArdle) as shit goes from mysterious to frightening to crazy. They duly set up more cameras inside the ancient building, but are the scratching noises coming from inside the walls a source of greater concern?

I was at first a little disappointed to see the film was another found footage affair but it more or less serves the narrative – the team are obliged to record as much material evidence of potential miracles as possible but why this extends to the characters recording themselves in their holiday cottage and at the pub is questionable. However, I soon got over the slightly Peep Show-look the film had due to the head cams and started getting totally absorbed by its plot and characters.

The testing of faith is a major theme of the film and its depiction of quiet, rural evil evokes a kind of modern day Wicker Man (directly referenced by Hill) or Kill List, only with a coherent and satisfying conclusion. The film is impressive on its own terms too, with its slow burn build-up of terror and its drip feed of plot detail keeping the viewer wanting more. I really loved the film – it was sublimely atmospheric, genuinely quite disturbing and at times very scary. The final scene delivers the kind of gut punch that leaves you slightly ragged of breath…

The Borderlands is released on DVD on April 7th, courtesy of Metrodome Distribution.

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