Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Elliot Goldner.

Starring Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill. Horror,

UK, 89 minutes, certificate 15.


Released in the UK on Blu-ray by Second Sight Films on 15th April.


Released quietly in a thimbleful of cinema screens ten years ago, Elliot Goldner’s first, and so far, only, film was quickly released on a bare bones DVD, seemingly destined for an afterlife of quiet obscurity. However, a handful of decent reviews, including one from Mark Kermode who in his review claimed he nearly had to leave the screening room towards the end through fear, have helped the film garner a small cult following that have amassed around its haunting story. Fair play to then to Second Sight Films who have released the film in a new substantial package, finally giving the film its proper due.


A superior example of the found footage sub-genre, THE BORDERLANDS follows Deacon, follower of a religious order employed by the Vatican, to investigate and confirm/debunk spiritual phenomena. After a mysterious incident in Brazil, Deacon is dispatched to a remote, ancient church in Devon along with Grey, a blokey tech expert sent along to make sure that every instance of their investigation of a supposed miracle is captured. The mismatched pair soon discover that the easily disproved miracle could be a symptom of something much more malignant and sinister that reaches back in time to the church's 13th century roots and beyond.


The films slow-burn, rural atmosphere evokes M.R. James' ghost stories whilst Grey’s investigative methods puts the viewer in mind of THE STONE TAPE, an influence which the film’s producer enthusiastically admits to on the disc’s special features. From the beginning the film manages to capture its audience with the double act of Deacon, played by Gordon Kennedy, a Scottish actor known more for his comedy roles such as classic sketch show ABSOLUTELY and Grey, played by Robin Hill, a frequent Ben Wheatley collaborator known more for his film editing than acting. Their truly likeable and recognisable performances lend themselves to the film's format and convincing nature and helps pave the way for a truly memorable and disturbing climax that manages to flick that claustrophobic switch inside all our minds.


Again, Second Sight Films prove themselves as one of the most highly regarded boutique labels out there with yet another sterling presentation of a true cult gem. The special features consist mainly of informative interviews, the most entertaining being the joint effort between Kennedy and Hill that details their working relationship, the films ongoing rediscovery and a truly surprising close link to BARBIE of all things. Producer Jennifer Handorf also gives an entertaining informative alternative perspective of the film’s origins and production while special effects designer Dan Martin demonstrates the know-how of how to convincingly produce slime, which after one viewing of this you will know how important this is, especially when it comes to that truly hellish conclusion.


All four personalities come together for the film's sole commentary track that exposes all the trickery and sleight of hand involved in making the film transcend its low budget roots while never taking themselves too seriously. All of this behind-the-scenes info is welcome, especially when presented alongside the deluxe packaging of the slipcase, sturdy booklet and postcards of the limited edition that is available alongside the standard edition. All in all this is a fantastic presentation of a film that seems to be gathering more and more of an appreciative audience as the years roll on.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans