The Borderlands (2013 film)
|Directed by||Elliot Goldner|
|Produced by||Jennifer Handorf|
|Written by||Elliot Goldner|
|Edited by||Will Gilbey|
The Borderlands, released in the United States as Final Prayer, is a 2013 British found footage horror film and the feature film directorial debut of Elliot Goldner, who also wrote the movie's script. It had its world premiere on 24 August 2013 at the London FrightFest Film Festival and centers upon a group of Vatican investigators researching an old church rumoured to be the site of a miracle.
Three men – Deacon, a sceptical religious brother, Gray, an English layman and technology expert and Father Mark Amidon – are sent by the Vatican to investigate reports of supernatural activity in an old, recently reopened church located in the Devon countryside.
Upon their first visit to the church, local priest Father Crellick tells them a miracle has taken place, while Gray sets up recording equipment. Crellick shows them footage of objects on the altar mysteriously moving but Deacon remains sceptical. The next day, Mark discovers a hidden side panel but he is disturbed by an unseen force before he can enter. A multi-mic radio setup detects the sound of deep growls and whispers, followed by the sound of an infant crying. Mark pursues a despondent Crellick up the bell tower to the roof; Crellick questions whether he has witnessed a miracle or something far worse – he leaps to his death before a horrified Mark.
The inhabitants of the village start to behave with hostility towards the team. Local youths burn a sheep to death outside the men's cottage. The local pub landlord evicts Deacon and Gray from his premises after overhearing the two men discussing local folklore and the credibility of the tenets of old pagan religions versus those of Christianity. Deacon continues to investigate and traces whispers and creaks to a hidden door, inscribed with a pagan sigil he has seen in the diaries of the last minister to serve at the church until it was closed in the 18th century. Behind the door, a set of stairs leads down into darkness and Deacon is assailed by the sounds of a baby crying and Crellick screaming.
Deacon brings in his elderly mentor from the Vatican, exorcist Father Calvino, in an attempt to purify the church grounds. Calvino has evidence that the church is situated on a site that once played host to human sacrifices to an unnamed pagan deity that was worshipped by the pre-Christian inhabitants of the area centuries ago. He explains that during the founding of Christianity in England, priests would build churches upon the sites of pagan temples to more easily integrate the locals.
That night, during the exorcism, violent and invisible forces shake the church. Mark is apparently killed and Calvino's eyes bleed before their bodies mysteriously vanish. Deacon traces distant cries to the hidden staircase. As Gray and Deacon descend into a subterranean labyrinth, they find evidence of child sacrifice and realise that the former minister had converted to worshipping the pagan deity. Seemingly spotting Mark, who walks into the darkness heedless of their calls, the pair find Calvino's ornamental crucifix on the floor of one of the tunnels. Following the sound of Mark's voice, they crawl through a narrow, foul-smelling passageway whose exits suddenly contract via a membranous material before the tunnel itself begins to move. The walls begin to secrete a powerful digestive enzyme which horribly burns the two men. As their lights go out, Gray screams in agony and terror while a tormented Deacon recites the Lord's Prayer.
- Gordon Kennedy as Brother Deacon
- Robin Hill as Gray Parker
- Aidan McArdle as Father Mark Amidon
- Patrick Godfrey as Father Calvino
- Luke Neal as Father Crellick
Critical reception for The Borderlands has been predominantly positive and the film holds a rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 15 reviews. Common elements of praise centred upon the acting and the interactions between Gordon Kennedy and Robin Hill's characters, and Radio Times commented that "It's the pair's easy-going chemistry that firmly anchors this slow-burning shocker, whose rural setting deliberately evokes The Wicker Man". Time Out London and The Hollywood Reporter both gave mixed reviews for the film, and The Hollywood Reporter wrote that it has "plenty of chilling atmosphere but lacks bite".
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- Wiseman, Andreas. "Buyers take to Salt's Borderlands". Screen Daily. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "THE BORDERLANDS (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Hatfull, Jonathan. "THE BORDERLANDS FILM REVIEW". SciFiNow. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Jones, Gareth. "Borderlands, The (review)". Dread Central. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Lambie, Ryan. "The Borderlands (review)". Den of Geek. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Jones, Alan. "The Borderlands (review)". Radio Times. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Huddleston, Tom. "The Borderlands (review)". Time Out London. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Dalton, Stephen. "The Borderlands: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 October 2014.