Found-footage movies seem to dominate the horror film market these days, so it’s refreshing for once, to find one that’s a cut above most of the competition. The Borderlands deals with paranormal goings-on in a remote West Country church, reported by its decidedly twitchy priest. A team of Vatican investigators are sent to try and fathom what’s going on. Deacon (Gordon Kennedy) is a hard-bitten cleric who has experienced spooky events all over the world. Mark (Aidan McCardle) is the official team leader, a real ‘by the book’ stickler (and frankly a bit of a twerp). The third member is Gray (Robin Hill) a ‘techie’ and a man with no religious beliefs whatsoever. He sets up countless hidden cameras and equips everyone with radio controlled head cams, which immediately makes the ‘found footage’ side of things more believable than most of the other films in the genre, where we’re expected to believe that characters will keep pressing ‘record’ while their pals are being slaughtered.
Director, Elliot Goldner, deals in suggestion. Things are glimpsed in the dark, but never properly seen, there are sounds in the night that are never readily identified, and the three investigators encounter things that they cannot easily explain. It all goes to generate considerable (sometimes almost unbearable) tension. What’s particularly intriguing about the story is that Gray, the confirmed Atheist, turns out to be much more suggestible than his Catholic companions. As is generally the case in films of this kind, the tension is gradually cranked up to max and there’s a labyrinthine conclusion that will have claustrophobic viewers climbing the walls. If there’s a major criticism, it’s having brought us to the brink of terror, the film doesn’t really know what to do with us, but maybe that’s beside the point.
If you’re looking for something to give you some decent chills after a night at the pub, this one should do nicely.