“Father says it’s because of the blood”
Written & directed by Xavier Gens, Frontier(s) is one of the recent French horror movies in the so-called “New French Extremity” Frontier(s) is an interesting movie that works on many levels. It’s biggest problem is that it isn’t as good as some of the French horror films released around the same time. It’s certainly nowhere near as good as the incredible Martyrs or Haute Tension or even A l’interieur, yet it is a very good movie.
As the film opens, Paris is in the grip of severe civil disobedience caused by the election to French president of a right-wing candidate. It’s during these riots that a group of young friends, Alex, Tom, Farid, pregnant Yasmine & her brother Sami decide to pull of a bank robbery in the hope they can afford to leave Paris & start a new life. During the robbery Sami is shot & badly injured. Once the friends have fled from the police they split up. Alex & Yasmine take Sami to the hospital while Tom & Farid leave Paris with the money, the group agreeing to meet near the border. Sami dies & Alex & Yasmine flee the hospital. Sami’s last wish is for Yasmine to keep the baby. Tom & Farid call Alex & Yasmine from an isolated guesthouse near the border & arrange to meet the next morning there. Once inside Tom & Farid are met by Gilberte, Klaudia & Goetz. The two women seduce the Tom & Farid then attack them with Goetz’s help. They try to flee by car but are run off the road by Goetz & take refuge in a nearby mine. A few hours later & completely unaware of the danger, Yasmine & Alex arrive at the guesthouse.
Frontier(s) is a movie that on the surface is gruesome entry in the popular current trend of the so-called torture porn movies. but scratch the surface a little & you will find more substance than twelve Hostels & Saw sequels put together. The movie’s opening is very reminiscent of La Haine. It also echoes the French riots of 2005 & the subsequent election of Nicolas Sarkosy, a right-wing politician. Even the movie’s bad guys are actually a family of racist neo-nazis, a possible nod to the French government & some of their right-wing policies. Gans defiantly had something to say with this movie. As the movie progresses the movie’s influences can clearly be seen. From The Texas Chainsaw Massacre & The Hills Have Eyes through to the likes of Wrong Turn, Frontier(s) wears its influences proudly on its sleeve. The violence in the movie is strong & brutal, in particular a scene involving bolt cutters & someones Achilles tendon! The film’s biggest weakness sadly is the acting. Virtually none of the cast cover themselves in glory during the film but Karina Testa as Yasmine, the films heroine & central character is shockingly bad. Her performance at the film’s conclusion is nothing short of dismal. The only cast member to put in anything like a reasonable performance is Maud Forget as the impressionable family victim Eva.
Frontier(s) is by no means a bad movie. It’s a film that is defiantly worth seeing. It’s a film that sits on my bookcase with the rest of my DVD collection. If you haven’t seen the likes of Martyrs or Haute Tension, the movies that are the cream of the crop as far as recent French horror films go, see those first. Then give Frontier(s) a go.