When it comes right down to it, you have to ask yourself: how much can you endure; how far are you willing to go… to survive?
Horror films ask these questions of their characters all the time; but it is how they are shown to answer these questions that makes a movie good or bad. Luckily, Frontière(s)’ portrayal of its characters’ struggle is drenched in bloody excellence.
An extreme right-wing government has been voted into power and Paris is burning in protest. At the same time, a group of youths are using the riots as cover for smash-and-grab robberies across the city. The burglaries are a means to an end that will get them out of the slums of their childhoods. But when plans go awry and the cops get too close, the gang splits up, agreeing to meet at an inn near the Luxemburg border.
Unfortunately, their destination’s hosts turnout to be neo-Nazi fanatics set on furthering the Aryan race and feeding on the unworthy masses. Led by a jackbooted patriarch, the Von Geisler clan of licentious daughters and brutish sons entertain their guests before deciding to which plan each is best suited to contribute.
The psycho family in the woods is akin to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but Frontière(s) can also be compared to Hostel because of the severity of the violence. However, unlike recent slasher films, director Xavier Gens keeps the graphic part out of most of the brutality, choosing to pan away or focus on the expressions of the victims rather than the act itself. This is not to say there is no blood; on the contrary, there are buckets of it. In addition, there is a horrific scene in which someone is divided by a table saw – but that is the worst (or best) of it.
Frontière(s) introduces audiences to another “final girl” in Karina Testa – a plot element that was very popular during horror’s heydays in the 1970s. Although Testa’s whimpering and hyperventilating causes her to appear vulnerable and somewhat annoying, by the end she proves she could fight and scream with the best of them.
Gens’ feature debut keeps audiences glued to the screen while triggering some cringes and mouth gaping. His next film, Hitman, is already creating a buzz among fans.