SXSW 2023 review: DEADLAND’ is a haunting portrait of power, politics, and unresolved trauma.


This nail-biting thriller from writer-director Lance Larson starts with a bang and ratchets up the tension by the minute. Two seemingly unrelated mysteries plague border control agent Angel Waters. When a man attempts to cross the raging rivers onto US soil, he is swept downstream. Upon transporting his body, the man resurrects and requests, “El Paso, por favor.” Plans go awry, and Angel, his two coworkers, and the man become haunted by their choices. Meanwhile, Angel’s long-lost father appears in his home. His pregnant wife plays mediator in a volatile situation.

McCaul Lombardi plays Agent Hitchcock with the epitome of toxic masculinity, while Julieth Restrepo‘s humanity as Salomé proves to be her undoing. Their journey is akin to watching a car crash. Luis Chávez is chilling. Manuel Ariza and Kendal Rae leave their hearts on the screen. Roberto Urbina plays Angel with a masculine aura but anxious hesitancy and unresolved abandonment issues. He is magnetic. As a whole, this cast nails it.

Jas Shelton‘s gorgeously shot landscapes are juxtaposed with cold immigration offices. Angel experiences visions that are nothing short of mesmerizing. DEADLAND‘s final ten minutes made me gasp. Superb writing from Lasron and Shelton and fantastic performances are guaranteed to captivate SXSW 2023 audiences with questions of morality, guilt, and the things that haunt us.

Film Screenings

Mar 13, 2023
Mar 14, 2023



Lance Larson

Executive Producer:

Fred Baker, Charles Larson, John Shoemaker


Elizabeth Avellan, Bob Bastarache, Jas Shelton, Lance Larson, Tara Pirnia, Chris Wilks, Marsha Ann Larson, Norah Veloz


Lance Larson, Jas Shelton


Jas Shelton


Lance Larson

Production Designer:

O’Shay Brooks

Sound Designer:

Rene Coronado


Christopher Dean White

Principal Cast:

Roberto Urbina, McCaul Lombardi, Julieth Restrepo, Kendal Rae, Luis Chavez, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Manuel Uriza, Chris Mulkey, Chris White, Dave Maldonado

Additional Credits:

Line Producer: Wendy Parker, Stunts / SpFX Coordinator: Chris A. Wilks, Art Director: Jennifer Herbal, Costume Designer: Summer Moore, Gaffer: Jake Basnett, Key Grips: Joe Guzman / Kurt Stevens, Set Decorator: Ashley Stewart, Head Make Up: Reanon Casillo, Head Hair Stylist: Erika O’Bar, Casting Director: Beth Lipari