Crossing The Borderlands

I was really creeped out by the final act of a new British horror film called The Borderlands. Have you seen it and what really pushes your buttons when it comes to being scared?

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  • Comment number 58. Posted by Duncan Stripp

    on 28 Apr 2014 12:08

    I saw this at TIFF last year, and have to say I was not impressed. The last 5 minutes may have been good, but you had to wade through an awful lot of sub standard "Blair witch" fare to get there. I am sick to the back teeth of found footage films, and haven't seen an original one, or one that works anything like it thinks it does for many years

  • Comment number 57. Posted by charley_pop

    on 27 Apr 2014 19:13

    Based on your recommendation I watched Borderlands yesterday night. The last scenes, as you have discussed, are pretty frightening and something akin to what I was expecting from the genre...but certainly the last 2mins / the last few screen shots I was not expecting at all and are terrifying !! The film ended and I was left with chills !

  • Comment number 56. Posted by Andrew Scott

    on 20 Apr 2014 04:05

    The thing to consider about The Borderlands is it's gleeful mashing up of various horror genres, which seem to nest within each other like russian dolls. While we start off in rather familiar horror territory (at least as far as film is concerned) with christian horror and hauntings, the gut punch of the third act comes with its foray into Weird fiction, as made so popular by H.P. Lovecraft.

    Indeed, the film follows an arc that will be very familiar to fans of Lovecraft, where the slow pieceing together of dissociated relevlations fit together to form the rough outline of what is really going on behind the scenes - something that is almost always far beyond the full comprehension of mere humans.

    The Bordlands slots very neatly into the conventions of this subgenre - with horrors on a cosmic scale that fuse the occult and the organic. End the end it doesn't matter about the belief systems of the characters or the conclusions they come to - they all end up under that church with a seeming inevitability, at the mercy of tangible but unknowable forces: pure Lovecraft, and I love the film for it.

  • Comment number 55. Posted by kerrussell

    on 15 Apr 2014 21:50

    Some really interesting comments on here. I watched The Borderlands tonight on Blinkbox having been encouraged by The Good Doctor's positive review. Maybe my expectations were too high - it is hard not to spend the first 65 mins without trying to anticipate what deliciously terrifying events might constitute that final act. I did warm to the film as it progressed - Grey and Deacon became less irritating and more rounded. I really began to care about them. But there were several moments where a less heavy handed touch would have added to the creepines (that gravestone doubletake felt really clunky). It sort of reminded me of the best and worst of old school Doctor Who. Whilst I did enjoy The Borderlands it didn't kill it like Kill List.

  • Comment number 54. Posted by Howie

    on 15 Apr 2014 15:06

    Bit of a mixed bag of opinions about The Borderlands on this blog it seems, I however really enjoyed it.

    Any criticisms of poor acting are very harsh, I thought all performances were very convincing. The nature of the techies character brought a believable banter to the script further developing the characters and their conflicting beliefs. Its this wise cracking opening that was not only very entertaining and amusing to watch but it also lulls the viewer into a false sense of security before engulfing you in the impending doom.

    The final act as the good Dr suggests does build to a creepy, satisfying finale the horror heightened for those who are prone to a certain (plot spoiler) phobia.

    In regards to creepy moments from other films I would always refer to the closing scene in Don't Look Now. The dimly lit, foggy streets of Venice set the perfect scene for the creepy chase sequence, resulting in one of the most horrifying reveals in horror history.

  • Comment number 53. Posted by Bev

    on 14 Apr 2014 19:40

    When I was 8 years old my big sister talked my dad in to renting Poltergeist for her 12th birthday party. When it reached the part when the guy pulls all the skin from his face, every child in the room ran screaming to the garden. That was my first horror film and it took me along time to love them as much as I do now.

    Over the years I've seen nearly all the most notorious horrors out there, but all though most are disturbing few are very scary. My favourite will always be Halloween, which still makes me wary of being alone at night. The scariest moment in any of the horror films that I've seen, is the last scene from Blair Witch. The moment I realised what was going to happen, even though it's never seen, left me completely terrified. From that day on I've gone off long walks in the woods.

  • Comment number 52. Posted by huntisova

    on 14 Apr 2014 17:24

    I watched 'The Borderlands' at the weekend after purchasing a DVD copy. I enjoyed the film & I thought it was very well shot, acted, etc, but it didn't creep me out as much I was hoping. The final act did have me 'on edge', but after the abrupt climax I was left with no lingering sense of unease. For me, the scariest section was around the hour mark when Deacon goes up to the church at night by himself & starts seeing ghostly flashes...

    No doubt many horror enthusiasts will be reading these comments, so while I'm here I'd like to put in a good word for the film 'The Banshee Chapter'. It's very well done, pretty scary & makes good use of some 'real life' strange phenomena. Kind of like a cross between 'From Beyond' & an episode of the X Files.

  • Comment number 51. Posted by seronie

    on 13 Apr 2014 01:12

    Having seen The Borderlands now on itunes I can say it was certainly above average fir a found footage and had moments of what is now quite rare - true horror. The build up is nicely creepy and harkens back to The Blair Witch Project where we are gradually led out of the world we know into the realm of the unknown. The down to earth (well, grumpy) characters lend a plausibility and naturalism to the dialogue and the story as the scares build and the nighttime scenes become more and more unsettling. Cleverly the director holds back on details, and while I admit the odd LOUD NOISE was used to elicit a jump, the film has buckets of atmosphere and intensity to earn it.
    *spoilers*


    There's also a Don't Look Now sense of evil being signposted by warning and clues, if only the protagonists will spot and listen. And dear God, the ending. Nightmare fuel! Like 'Open Water,' you are left with a clammy hand on the back of your neck and a chill that won't leave. A rare horror treat.

  • Comment number 50. Posted by Perry Ward

    on 10 Apr 2014 19:43

    I have to say I found Dr K's fulsome opinion of Borderlands to have been probably formed by his own well known phobias, rather than necessarily any skill on the part of the filmmakers. Personally, I found it a bog-standard dodgy-cam chiller enlivened by a game cast. In fact, with the exception of Cannibal Holocaust, I've generally found the found footage sub genre more hype than hypertension when it comes to shocks, excepting Eduardo Sanchez's underrated Lovely Molly, which is unnerving more for its characters and narrative than the occasional handheld stylistic ticks. For instance, many people I know have a soft spot for The Blair Witch Project (also Eduardo Sanchez); and while it has something of a nostalgic glow for me because I first saw it at university, the friend of mine I saw it with fell asleep inside twenty minutes and snored very quietly through the whole performance.

    As for what does push my buttons, I've always been a fan of the "uncanny", that which seems familiar and alien at the same time. I often think this is the reason horror fans are such fine supporters of international cinema: simply engaging with what another culture finds frightening, and at a remove, is inherently unnerving, to wit Ringu, Dark Water, Let The Right One In, Andrzej Zulawski's Possession and Richard Stanley's seldom mentioned Dust Devil (one of my favourite films). In fact, films don't even have to be "international" to have uncanny elements, just set in unusual locations, such as John Carpenter's The Thing (the antarctic), Alien (space), The Abyss (deep sea), The Descent (good to see it getting a few mentions here, and it's set largely underground), and Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (er, Texas). In fact, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a fine example of an uncanny feel being created by a seemingly innocuous encounter (like Dust Devil, a hitchhiker) and after just twenty minutes I felt like I had to walk away from it, having not even got to the chainsaw. Like John Carpenter's Halloween, where the uncanny is created by Carpenter's masterful score, and The Shape's stillness and mask, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had me suffering sleeplessness for many, many nights after seeing it.

    I would add as a postscript that the uncanny (or lack of it) is also one of the reasons for the utter and embarrassing failure of so many horror sequels and remakes. Once what was familiar and alien has become just plain familiar, it loses its power to unnerve, to frighten, and to shock. That, and many of them are made by seeming idiots. Rob Zombie, I am thinking of you.

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