Zer Berman’s 2007 film BORDERLAND is a dark and often brutal story, based on true events. Although comparisons have been made to SAW and HOSTEL, this film has a real gritty reality and is somewhat more believable.
Three Texas University seniors decide to take a road-trip to the borderland of Mexico before going their separate ways. Intent on a fun-filled, hedonistic time of debauchery the guys set off in high spirits. When they inadvertently attract the attention of members of an ancient blood cult looking for human sacrifice, things take a nasty turn. The three guys consist of Phil (Rider Strong), a virgin
looking for some action, Ed (Brian Presley), the more sensible type, and their more reckless and fearless friend, Henry (Jake Muxworthy). I’m not one for spoiling the plot so all I’ll say is that some pretty nasty s**t happens - some scenes are quite harrowing to watch and the fact that this film is based on true events is an uncomfortable thought.
Borderland is beautifully made and each component of the cinematography sits perfectly together. It shows brutal scenes unflinchingly but without the same gratuitous pleasure as Hostel and Saw. The acting is above par throughout but special mention has to go to Martha Higareda who played bartender Valeria, and to Brian Presley whose acting during his final shot on screen shows perfectly the horror he feels with himself and is one of the finest shots of the film. There are times when one could question the decisions made by the guys but such is human nature, and overall Borderland is very believable and cohesive.
Borderland is not the kind of film that will be permanently etched into your memory, nor was it the best film of 2007. I do think it’s well worth a watch and I’m hopeful that it won’t be the last we see of Brian Presley who far exceeded my expectations, especially during the climax of the film.
BORDERLAND (2007). Director: Zev Berman. Writers: Eric Poppen, Zev Berman. Cast: Brian Presley, Rider Strong, Jake Muxworthy, Beto Cuevas, Martha Higareda, Sean Astin, Damián Alcázar, Marco Bacuzzi.
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