I’m not usually a fan of human killers in my movies of choice. Truth be told, they scare me too badly. Even if you’re superstitious like me, you know we have far more to fear from real people. And if you’re not gullible like yours truly, you know that we only have the living to fear. And a lot of them are evil. So having said that, understand that the fact that I loved Borderland is a big deal, meaning it’s a pretty damn good movie to make me overlook my preferences. Set your own psycho-killer-with-a-pulse quotient and adjust accordingly.
Three guys who just graduated from college head down to Mexico and run afoul of a killer cult. That’s basically it. Yet somehow such a simple premise had me physically feeling tense and tingling with fear. We’re hit with a nasty, gnarly prologue killing and then we get a long leash with which to run and eventually hang by while vicariously enjoying fun in the sun con cervezas y senoritas. You know what is coming, but you have to wait for it. Meanwhile the sense of dread builds. Once the caca hits the fan, you can sympathize with these kids who are all alone in a foreign country where even the police are afraid of the killers.
Not giving too much away, let me say that I can’t think of anything worse than being attacked while peaking on hallucinogens. There’s also some eye gouging, traumatic amputations and some not-quite-identified (and therefore even more disturbing) mouth to mouth violence. The gore is used sparingly to great effect. Worst (or best) of all, this actually is based on a true story.
If I was gonna look too deeply, I would compare these three dudes to a trinity. You have a sacrificial lamb, a holy ghost who almost seems to possess his avenger, and then you have God, who does strike down with great vengeance and furious anger. If you didn’t see the whole movie, you might argue that the God character becomes what he is fighting against. Or if you’re a pussy. The rest of you will never be so happy to see some crazy bastards get what’s coming to them, even if they are begging for their worthless lives. I was yelling at the TV for those bad dudes’ blood, much to my husband’s amusement. The only way I could have liked Borderland more would have been if some demons had actually showed up. And this is really more of a crime thriller than a horror movie!
I have never heard of most of the actors in the film. I hear that the young ladies seem to like Rider Strong who plays Phil. He’s no David Duchovny or anything, but he’s okay. The other two protags are Brian Presley and Jake Muxworthy, and the Mexican Michael Berryman who you’ll want to see die is Marco Bacuzzi. Seriously, this dude was born to play crazy, scary gang members. Beto Cuevas is the cult leader and Martha Higareda is the love interest. People who hail from either the 80s or Middle Earth will be surprised by Sean Astin in a heel turn as the gringo cult member.
So what have we learned here? You will probably like this movie. Don’t smart off to strangers in the bathroom at a carnival. Stay with the group. When you are training a shotgun on your arch enemy, it is no time to make a speech. Human blood will not actually make you or your drugs invisible. While there’s no need to be a jingoist, Mexico sure as hell ain’t Kansas. And for Christ’s sake, don’t fall in love with a hooker. I hereby give this movie four stars.