25 March 2017 | Wuchakk
Brutal & gory flick based on the sacrificial murders of Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo
Released in 2007, "Borderland" is a horror film about three college guys (Brian Presley, Jake Muxworthy & Rider Strong) on Spring Break in Galveston, Texas, who decide to skip over the border to party with the prostitutes. Their vacation goes awry when they run afoul of a brutal drug cult, led by a charismatic-but-diabolic occultist (Beto Cuevas). Damián Alcázar plays a Mexican detective while Martha Higareda appears as the potential girlfriend of one of the Americans. Marco Bacuzzi plays the top cult henchmen with Sean Astin an American enlistee.
The opening epilogue involves a gory torture sequence, which is unpleasant to say the least, but the story soon switches to the three Americans and their trip to Mexican strip joints where a couple curvy señoritas are highlighted. I could tell this was shot on the West Coast of Mexico rather than the East Coast. The city scenes, for instance, were shot in Tijuana, substituting for Matamoros.
The story is loosely based on the 1989 abduction of American pre-med student, Mark Kilroy, from outside a Mexican bar where he was taken to Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo's ranch in the desert, about an hour drive from Matamoros & the border. Fifteen mutilated corpses were discovered buried at the ranch, one of them Kilroy's, who was hacked to death by a machete. Constanzo's cult practiced sorcery in the form of Palo Mayombe, engaging in torture and human sacrifice for supernatural power, e.g. for their drug-runners to appear invisible to border guards.
Constanzo was a known homosexual, but the movie surrounds the Constanzo-based character, Santillan, with Mexican babes. I doubt this was done to be politically correct; I'm sure the filmmakers simply wanted to give him cinematic appeal for the target audience, most of whom would run away screaming if Santillan was depicted with hunky dudes attending to his amorous needs.
While the movie's sometimes unpleasant for obvious reasons, it's gritty, engaging and well-acted, particularly the first half. I'm sure the director, Zev Berman, is a fan of films like "Apocalypse Now" because you definitely see glimmerings of that kind of greatness. Unfortunately, this was the last movie by Berman as of this writing. He could've gone on to be a contenda, like Coppola.
The picture runs 100 minutes and was shot entirely in Baja California, Mexico. It was written by Eric Poppen & director Zev Berman.