Directed by Zev Berman.
Cast: Brian Presley, Jake Muxworthy, Rider Strong, Martha Higareda, Damian Alcazar, Marco Bacuzzi, Sean Astin.
2007 104 minutes
Rated: (for strong grisly violence/torture, drug use, language and some sexuality/nudity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, November 10, 2007.
Inspired by true events that took place in Matamoros, Mexico, in 1989, "Borderland" is an unnerving, ruthless, borderline-mesmerizing thriller. On the eve of going their separate ways, three college friends from Texashotshot Henry (Jake Muxworthy), virginal Phil (Rider Strong) and contemplative Ed (Brian Presley)decide to have one last gallivanting fling by crossing the border into Mexico. Their fun is cut short when one of them goes missing, kidnapped by a Satanic cult specializing in human sacrifice. With the border authorities no help"This isn't Mexico City, this isn't even Mexico," one of them saysthe two remaining buddies run afoul of a hellish nightmare they can't wake up from. Directed by Zev Berman with the palpable grit and grime of a film straight out of 1974, "Borderland" will be compared to "Hostel
" and "Turistas
," but this more reality-based tale stands up confidently as its own entity. On-the-mark characterizations, a gripping slow-burn pace, and powerful actingRider Strong (2003's "Cabin Fever
"), as Phil, and Sean Astin (2007's "The Final Season
"), voraciously playing against-type as the menacing Randall, are standoutsaid in making "Borderland" one of this year's most effective genre efforts.