31 Days of Horror: The Borderlands (2013) – REVIEW

There’s a fixation with weird stuff happening in the back-end of nowhere, and throwing religion into the mix should have only made it even more fascinating. However, The Borderlands didn’t quite manage that. It had a lot of elements that I liked, but they didn’t come together in a way that made the film all that I felt it could have been.

The film follows a team from The Vatican who are dispatched to investigate supposed miracles. When they’re sent to a church in a rural English village, they uncover more than they were expecting. 

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The Borderlands gets off to a decent start

One thing I instantly picked up on was the delightfully mismatched group of people who were the focus of the film. Gray (Robin Hill) and Deacon (Gordon Kennedy) especially were very entertaining to watch as they couldn’t be more polar opposites. The interactions between the two were brilliant, but where the dynamic really came into its own was when one would observe the other engaging with something else. A hint of The Office could be felt at times, which was great because it massively suited the sceptical nature of the characters. 

It was moments like these when the writing for The Borderlands really came into its own too. The conversations that the guys would have with the locals in the parish were top drawer. Gray’s lines in particular were something to behold. Everything about his character absolutely screamed ‘tech guy who hates his job’, and the dialogue only reinforced this further. Of course, what made it even better was the fact that you only caught snippets of these conversations. It was always the strangest parts that remained as the full context was never there.

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This is a film that exploits sound for all it’s worth

Painting a picture with noises is what The Borderlands does really well. It takes probably the most horrendous and disturbing sounds known to man and just sprinkles them throughout the whole film. Rushed whisperings, babies crying and screaming sheep are just a handful of the truly wonderful samples that make up the soundscape to this film, and they are very effective in getting you to imagine what exactly could be going on in-between the dimensions.

My main issue with the film was that it didn’t really gel together for me. All of these elements worked in tandem throughout, but never ramped it up for a grand finale. Yes, the ending of The Borderlands is quite severe and probably the most terrifying part of the film. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s possibly one of worst scenes you could watch in terms of how horrible the ideas behind it are. But it didn’t really fit the rest of the film, if that makes sense? There’s no way that I would’ve guessed that that was how things would end based on everything else I’d seen. It was a bit of a side-swipe if I’m honest, and kind of felt like the writers didn’t know the best way to close out.

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So it all fell a bit flat in the end

I just feel a tad deflated after watching The Borderlands. It was all going pretty well, but didn’t seem to know how to tie its loose ends together in the best way. What makes it an even greater shame is the fact that it’s so easy to get on-board with thanks to how the main characters are written and performed. They bring real entertainment value, and give the whole thing a twisted buddy movie vibe. But the film just couldn’t stick the landing in a way that fit the rest of the story.

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