Since leaving Pretty Little Liars, Lucy Hale has managed to find a place in genre cinema. Borrego is her latest entry into horror and shows that while the actor may be up to the task, the writing has not always managed to keep pace with her. The film is about a young botanist named Elly (Hale) who has witnessed a plane crash. When Elly goes to investigate, she is taken hostage by the pilot (Leynar Gomez), who turns out to be a drug mule. Her only chance for survival is to take him to the drop off point.
It is a simple premise that should provide excitement and suspense. Though the characters are not particularly deep, Hale and Gomez have great chemistry. The issue with Borrego is that it does not take full advantage of this. The end result is two people the audience are left wanting to know more about.
Outside of Elly and Tomas, there is no one that leaves an impression. While cookie cutter villains are not the worst thing in this type of movie, the big bad in Borrego is a little too generic. Even worse, the other supporting characters tend to be boring. The movie would work fine as a straightforward action thriller. Adding subplots ends up taking away from the overall impact.
The issues tend to stick out since Borrego has a lot of good going for it. Its handling of the drug trade and addiction has moments of surprising sensitivity while Hale is in her element in this type of role. Writer-director Jesse Harris has also filled his movie with some beautiful shots that make full use of the scenery. Even when the story is not hitting on all cylinders, the film looks good.
There are times when a strong premise and competent cast are enough to carry a movie. That is mostly the case with Borrego. Lucy Hale gets the most out of a bare bones character while the plot has its moments of excitement. An uneven script does not hamper the more entertaining moments.
Borrego is in theaters, on Digital, and on Demand January 14
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