Dir: Xavier Gens. 2007. Starring: Karina Testa, Aurelien Wiik, Samuel Le Bihan. French/German. Horror.

For a country not known for redefining or even perpetuating the horror genre, the French are starting to step up to the plate and show the world how it’s done. In recent years, we’ve seen several little horrifying gems come from a place better known for idiosyncratic comedies, dark fairytales and, essentially, the definition of modern cinematic storytelling. Such films include Irreversible, Haute Tension, Inside, and this film – Frontiere(s).

First of all, I have to thank Phil Blankenship for motivating me to check this one out. I had read a really good review in a recent issue of Fangoria yet I wasn’t convinced. Apparently, it was apart of the “8 Films To Die For” festival that takes place in November (that could very well be the reason I didn’t take this one too seriously upon discovery). It wasn’t until my conversation with Phil that I really took notice.

The film begins with Paris ablaze during a Presidential Election gone awry. Looters and thieves run amok throughout the city. Gun fights and explosions are at every corner.

A group of young outlaws are making their way through the broken city in attempt to escape the imperialistic clutches of the new Government leader who is about to take office. After a couple of detours, the group finds themselves at a country-side hostel run by some very peculiar folks. And this is where all the fun begins.

Within the first five minutes of meeting our unruly hosts, we encounter rough group-sex, force feeding of the family matriarch and eventually a horrible car crash. And so begins the absolute nastiness that encapsulates the rest of this film.

Pulling references from many American horror films, most of them recent, Frontiere(s) lacks in originality and a cohesive story structure but doesn’t come up short with the red corn syrup and beautifully shot action sequences. The plausibility factor is almost non-existent here but that’s actually what makes this film so much fun. All of our anti-heroes go through such blood-curdling, hair raising experiences that even John J. Rambo would be pissing in his pants.

Frontiere(s) is the embodiment of cruelty, anti-humanism and irresponsible film making. It’s relentless violence and breakneck pace invokes certain emotions that I haven’t felt since my first screening of Irreversible. And I loved every blood soaked minute of it.

Not entirely torture-porn or slasher or exploitation, Frontiere(s) is something else. A culmination of something so nightmarish and bleak, it should only be viewed by the most hard-core of fans. Guys, don’t take your girl to see this film. Girls, don’t let your guy know that you actually liked this one. Most definitely not for the faint of heart.

Posted by:
Travis King
Jun 2, 2008 5:42pm
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