x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Borderland

The violence, when it does come, is grimly realistic and more shocking for that.

Border crossing:
Border crossing: "Between countries, between good and evil, between right and wrong."


Three teenagers (the quiet one, the Lothario and the clever one) take a pre-college road trip to over the Mexican border. When they get bored in the city, they head out to the countryside in search of a party, but end up finding more than they bargained for. The set-up is as hackneyed as it gets, but Borderland manages to stay a cut above the usual slasher fare. This is partly because the three leads manage to turn what could have been central casting cliches into characters it's possible to care about, but it's also thanks to the screenwriter and director Zev Berman's deft handling of his first horror film. We know what's in store for the boys because we've already seen it happen to a Mexican policeman in the opening scenes of the film. This knowledge planted, Berman is sparing with the gore in the first half of the film, letting the tension build and the characters develop. The violence, when it does come, is grimly realistic and more shocking for that. The film is also, as the title suggests, about borders - between countries, between good and evil, between right and wrong - and how crossing them can be easier than coming back. While it would be a stretch to claim it says anything profound, it does manage to raise at least a few ideas along with the goose bumps.
estimson@thenational.ae