Film: Borderland

Borderland is a film directed by Zev Berman in 2007.

On a college trip in Mexico a group of friends uncover a religious cult that practices human sacrifice after one of them goes missing.

Very Loosely Based on a True Story, although more so than other horror films with the same claim; there was a religious cult lead by a man named Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo in Mexico City who performed human sacrifices in order to gain protection in his drug deals. He was arrested after murdering a college student on spring break.

It was part of the After Dark Horrorfest film festival.

This film provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Randall is pretty charming for a misogynistic serial killer.
  • Bald of Evil: One of the recurring cultists sports one giving him a sinister skeletal appearance, his character seems more wicked than some of the other cultists, and the complete lack of hair on his head helps him stand out compared to the more shaggy appearance of most of the other members.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Word of God says this was the intention of the ending in which Ed brutally murders one of the younger, more innocent cult members despite their pleas for surrender.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The cult is fond of this.
  • Cruel Mercy: Ulises is left alive by the cult at the beginning of the film but one of his legs is broken and his friend is killed to leave a message about what happens to people who cross them.
  • Eye Scream: Happens to Ulises' partner in the opening scene.
  • Forced to Watch: Ulises is forced to watch his partner tortured and murdered by the rest of the cult.
  • A God Am I: The leader of the cult sees himself as this.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The film is pretty gory but a lot of the violence happens off-screen and we usually just see the aftermath.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The young hooker that Phil almost hooks up with.
  • Hubris: The leader of the cult considers himself to be invincible thanks to the sacrifices performed. He is shot and killed by Ulises moments later.
  • Human Sacrifice: The modus operandi of the cult.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Henry
  • Off with His Head!: We don't see it happen, but at one point Phil is decapitated and his severed head is discovered.
  • Police Are Useless: The local authorities are terrified of the cult and refuse to help. Only Ulises proves to be useful.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Ulises, the disgraced cop, finally kills the leader of the cult but is shot in the process and dies from his wounds.
  • Religion of Evil: Subverted. The film makes clear that Santería has been perverted by the cult for their own selfish purposes and is not an evil religion by itself.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Phil tries to do this with a young prostitute but stops once he discovers that she has a baby.