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Five friends returning from a marriage in Canada return home to the United States. Not far from the border, two customs officers stop them to check their identity. Suspicious, they take their time especially with Jalil, a man of Arab origin. The situation worsens when a customs officer finds a small bag of marijuana in the luggage. Then things degenerate rapidly: a customs officer grabs the little dog that's part of the group and slits open its belly to be sure it's not a mule. When Gab makes a move, he's shot. The customs officer orders the surviving friends to undress and put on orange coveralls. Gradually, it dawns on the four tourists that they are in the hands of former torturers from Guantanamo. Written by
It's always interesting when one takes a genre like horror, or horror-porn and uses it to address larger themes and social issues. It doesn't always work, but when it does, as it does here (and even better in Aleksey Balabanov's far more horrific, but also more complex "Cargo 200") it can be a potent use of cinema.
A group of young Americans returning from Canada are kidnapped by a pair of ex-soldiers dressed as border guards. These men were in Iraq and at Guantanimo and want to continue the torture and 'information gathering' they were part of as soldiers. So in the name of protecting the country, they lock up and torture these kids, largely because the driver of the kids' 4x4 has an Arab name.
And soon you realize, given the number of innocents it's now acknowledged were (and probably still are) locked up among the 'real bad guys' in the war against terror, that this nightmare isn't very far from real ones that real people are going through right now in the name of national security.
Surprisingly well acted for the budget and genre, as well as nicely shot, this certainly has moments where it shows its roots as low budget horror. There are awkward scenes, and forced bits of exposition. Logic gets stretched (but not too absurdly) at times. But it's not really all that gory (despite the allusions to 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' on the video box), and it's most effective terror is caused by tension and fear about what might happen, rather than any blood and guts you see.
Among other things, this is an interesting examination of what happens to borderline personalities who are given permission by their country to torture in the name of good. Will these people be able to let go of the monsters we willingly unleashed inside them?
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