Hostel, Saw, The Devils Rejects and now Borderland – all examples of the (relatively) new wave of torture horror, known to some as ‘Torture Porn’.
It’s a strange genre, if you can call it that. most of the horror being in the drawn-out, gruesome suffering of the characters on screen before us. It’s horrible alright, but is it taking things a tad too far?
Borderland could easily be mistaken as being part of the Hostel series.
3 American lads wanting to blow off steam after graduating from high school, travelling across the border to Mexico for drugs and hookers. One of them is a virgin, one is a hothead and the other is intelligent, good-looking and sensible; any guesses who the hero is yet?
After just a short time in South America they get into a scrape or two, pick up some girls, and after a wild hallucinogen filled night at the funfair (not exactly my idea of a ‘wild’ time) they wake up in a haze the next day with one of them kidnapped.
The Mexican police don’t want to know, and there is lots of talk about spirits, the devil and the general feeling that the remaining American boys should GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.
But that wouldn’t be very entertaining, would it?
After a bit of half-hearted nosing about, the whereabouts of their friend basically falls on their lap, and the race against time begins.
It’s a good film. Rider Strong (Cabin Fever), Brian Presley and Jake Muxworthy play the three unfortunate amigos. There’s also an appearance from one of the hobbits. Not the main one, the other fat one. He’s pretty good too (as you’d expect) playing a follower of the mysterious Mexican cult which is responsible for all the evil goings on.
It’s also worth noting Martha Higareda’s very natural performance, playing girlfriend of Ed, the hero.
It’s very nicely shot with a great use of colour and lighting – with lots of south American sunset orange and bloody reds.
NIce visuals aside, is it worth watching? Well, that depends on what sort of person you are. This torture horror is an acquired taste. I have seen plenty of it now and I still don’t really like it.
Don’t get me wrong, as you probably know by now, I like a good slasher film. In fact there isn’t a lot of horror that I don’t like. But even I do wonder if ultra-realistic violence is a healthy thing to subject the masses to.
The effects are pretty flawless, and the scenes of torture and death are lingering. So much so, that I was feeling slightly traumatised after watching them. Some people may like that feeling, not sure I do; although I do feel like I’m contradicting myself a bit after rating The Texas Chainsaw Massacre so highly for years.
The ending is a little weak, all too predictable for me. The film is supposedly based on ‘real events’ meaning that you get a load of text at the end letting you know what happened to everyone as if it were a documentary.
The ‘real events’ themselves are probably that (a) there are cults in Mexico, and quite separately that (b) some American tourists have vanished and (c) been murdered over the years. Not actually a true foundation for this story at all.
At the base of it, Borderland is just another incarnation of Hostel. The storyline and characters being so similar, it’s uncanny.
But to its credit, the action and horror kicks off as soon as the opening titles have rolled. Then It’s uncomfortably entertaining throughout, much like the Saw series that it is likened to.
Gore, tension and lots of tequila. A cautionary tale for anyone wanting to go to Mexico to get stoned and laid. For everyone else, a decent dose of torture porn.