The Borderlands

01 Jun

DVD Pile

Botderlands DVD 001I saw this film going cheap in the local Sainsburys and remember  film critic Mark Kermode mentioning that he was genuinely creeped out by some scenes in it so I had to give it a go. It’s a British found footage film with a low budget and small cast but it manages get beyond these limitations to deliver an effectively atmospheric horror. It is a bit slow to get going and there is nothing you could really call action but it kept me watching and I was amused and surprised by the ending

A group of investigators from the Vatican are called in to a small English village church to investigate the strange occurrences that the local priest Father Crellick (Luke Neal) is claiming is a sign of a miracle. The investigators are Father Deacon (Gordon Kennedy), a gruff cynical world-beaten man, Gray (Robin Hill) who is a sound and camera technician and not an active church member and finally the officious little politician Father Mark (Aidan McArdle).

Gray sets up cameras all around the church and their living quarters and all three have to wear head-mounted cameras at all times except for sleep and toilet. This is apparently a precaution that resulted from an earlier case that ended tragically and there are references to this incident throughout the film but the main result is that Mark is in charge but before ‘The Incident’ Deacon led investigations.

The miracle being investigated is the video of the motion of a couple of things on the altar during a christening. Right away Deacon and Mark assumes it’s fake and they are just investigating how Crellick did it and they have the priest move out while they investigate. In fact only Gray is open to the events being real and he seems surprised at how close-minded Deacon and Mark are.  Deacon’s scepticism seems to be more from cynicism while Mark doesn’t believe in the supernatural at all, he believes in the church and his place in it.

When they investigate they get the same movements on the altar and there are sounds of things moving in the walls and the creepy sound of children crying. It doesn’t sound very exciting and mostly it isn’t but they do pretty good job building up tension. No matter what happens Mark always insists there’s nothing to it and has a naturalistic explanation ready no matter how desperate and unlikely it is.

Deacon comes to believe there is something evil going on and calls in help from Father Calvino (Patrick Godfrey) which puts Mark’s nose out of joint since Deacon went over his head to call him.  Calvino is an expert on church history and he talks about this church was built over a site of ancient pagan worship and whatever spirit they worshipped is still there.

They go the church and Calvino starts a banishment ritual and that’s when the things go crazy with lights blowing out and some force seems to be tossing them around.  When the lights come on again Calvino seems to have disappeared and Mark has gone down the old steps to the basement and this when the film starts becoming a bit like a Lovecraft story where Deacon and Gray chase after Mark and they get deeper and into strangeness and uncover disturbing ancient secrets.

The film is pretty interesting for a found footage film and it has an excellent cast whose performances helped with conveying the building sense of dread which is also helped with some great use of sound. Although I found the film interesting I have feeling others may think it is a bit slow and if you are not familiar with the works of HP Lovecraft the ending may seem strange. I found the first half was quite slow myself but the characters interested me enough to carry me into the second half.

Rating  6.5/10

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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Entertainment, Film


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