Friday, January 26, 2018

Borderland (2007)

This film was loosely based on the Adolfo Constanzo case. Read about the actual case here: Matamoros Cult Case

I am pretty familiar with the Constanzo case, so when I heard that "Borderland" was based on it, it quickly jumped onto my must-see list. I was expecting it to be cheesy, as many evil cult films tend to be. Instead, I was very surprised and impressed.

The film has a very dirty and gritty feel to it. That really set the mood for a place in the world where life is cheap and the police always seem to have better things to do than look for missing locals.

The story follows the adventures of three young students about to go off to college and spending their last vacation together in the sin city south of the border, Mexico City. Such an adventure wouldn't be complete without carousing with local prostitutes, drinking gallons of beer, and partaking in native hallucinogens.

But unbeknownst to our party boys, there is a Palo Mayombi cult that operates in the area and needs the parts of screaming human victims to feed their leader's nganga. (A cauldron filled with all sort of nasty, rotting ingredients that magically creates a universe for a ruling spirit to live in...roughly comparable to a genie in a lamp.)

Most of the cult members themselves are easy to spot by way of their dress and general attitudes, although the cult leader (mostly referred to as "Papa") has an interesting charismatic charm to him when holding casual conversation with his victims. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to have caved in to dressing their villians in the universally-accepted black garb rather than following with Palo Mayombi traditions and swathing them in white.

The violence in this film is quite brutal, but not over-the-top. The balance is nice, given the gritty setting and dirty appearance of the characters regardless of what side of the law they are on. The filmmakers succeeded in creating a very realistic and uncomfortable atmosphere for their story.

As a bonus, on the DVD there is also a documentary about the actual Matamoros case that included some video footage and still photographs that are not often found while doing general internet searches on the case.

Info on IMDB: Borderland

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