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3.8 out of 5 stars
Frontiers [DVD]
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2009
France.The Near Future.Riots plague the major cities and under the cover of this civil uprising five people botch a heist and end up fleeing into the countryside only to turn up at a motel ran by a family of cannibals and well....you can guess the rest.
Directed by Xavier Gens(Hitman) and from the team that brought you Switchblade Romance,Frontiers has something in common with the Hostel franchise and the Belgian film Calvaire but thankfully it is a cut above that garbage thanks to some pretty fierce action sequences and a tremendous performance by leading lady Testa who nails the essence of someone in frightening peril with startling conviction.
Frontiers is overlong and empties it's bag of tricks a little too early with Gens using a little too much shadow and fast edits to mask budgetary limitations and while not being particularly original it delivers some ride when it gets going.
I never like to look for "messages"in the horror genre - everywhere else fine - scary,nasty and someone to root for is enough for me,Frontiers ticks all the boxes.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2008
Frightfest banned it, Optimum didn't know whether to release it or not, the critics weren't keen, but one thing's for sure: We LOVE it!

The makers of Switchblade Romance have done it again! Frontiers is possibly an even more powerful 'endurance test' than last year's remake of Funny Games. Ultimately, Frontiers is made for you to pause the film for a second, take a deep breath and ask yourself, 'Why am I still watching this?'

The story plays out just like your average Friday night horror flick: A group of kids get into some trouble whilst rioting at the latest presidential election... soon enough, after deciding to take a run for it, they all end up staying at a creepy old hostel run by a large family of uncompromising Nazi cannibals...

...And thank God! For once! It's as good as it sounds!

Beautifully shot, expertly crafted and brilliantly acted, Xavier Gens -director of the more recent Hitman- has served up for us something quite special: Frontiers is a shocking, brutal, emotionally draining and immensely powerful piece of horror cinema. It demands to be seen, and at this price it's hard to resist!

(P.S- To those who are frightened of subtitles: It's French. Also: Stunning cover art!)
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Frontiers is a good movie - or rather a `good movie' if you like horror films. However, in my opinion, it will never be a great movie, on account of the fact that it's just The Texas Chainsaw Massacre set in France.

A group of youngsters head out into the French countryside (does it really matter why?) and spend the night in a local hotel. Sadly for them, the hotel is run by a family of cannibal Neo Nazis.

From then on we're treated to the general `hunt `em and kill `em' type film which the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is often credited as starting. We have escapes, near escapes, gruesome deaths, a family of murderers with a strong family bond, an elderly relative that needs help eating her chopped up human dinner and all the things we've seen before.

So, if you liked any of the Texas Chainsaw films or are generally a fan of the genre, you could certainly do worse than Frontiers. It's well shot, well-acted and has plenty of the red stuff flying around. Perhaps the only criticism is that some of the youngsters are pretty much as unlikeable as the Nazis who are hell-bent on chopping them up.

If you don't mind the subtitles, you could spend a worse hour and a half watching this. It's just a pity it basically covers the same ground as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Probably more of a 3.5 / 5, but what the hell, I'm feeling charitable - 4/5.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Certain to be lumped in with the torture porn or Gorno as it is also known Frontiers is a truly brutal film with an indistinct political message . Now I thought the same about Hostel which made salient points about American imperialism not to mention capitalism and then they went and spoiled it all by making an unnecessary and exploitative sequel .Frontiers is, or the way I saw it , making a point about the insidious and all pervading nature of right wing politics which I personally think is an admirable thing to do . Unfortunately while working quite successfully as an exercise in extreme horror it botches the message somewhat.
How does it do this ? Well the plot has a group of young thieves taking advantage of the chaos ensuing after rioting breaks out in Paris due to the possible election of an extreme right wing government. This merry band head off to the country and hole up in a remote dilapidated country house hotel . But the place is run by a bunch of delinquent murdering neo Nazi's led by the deranged patriarch and former SS officer Le Von Geisler( Jean Pierre Jorris)They also delight in a bit of torture and mutilation on the side.
While the film ramps up the tension nicely and the gore scenes are done with stomach churning realism it really fails to work effectively as true horror because the victims are such an unpleasant lot. It is important for the audience to root for the victims and with the debatable exception of Yasmine ( Karina Testa) who lets not forget is still a member of violent gang of thieves and more pertinently Farid ( Chems Dahmani ) the one individual who seems to show any truly defining sense of moral character this lot are almost as bad as the nutters they run into.
Nor does Frontiers do anything remotely original, running through the gamut of horror clichés- remote location with perverted gang of aberrant psycho's, one of the delinquents being vaguely decent, one of the victims running anyway only to mistakenly think one of the delinquents a potential rescuer and so on - with gleeful abandon. It is essentially a rerun of all the stuff we have seen before in films like Saw, Wrong Turn ,The Hills Have Eyes , The Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc.
It is brilliantly made though with intense performances and a graphic pragmatic sense of true horror and it looks stunning on DVD. Writer /director Xavier Gens has in attempting to supplant a political message to a horror film and by putting one of his characters at a moral crossroads done an ambitious thing,. Some will view this message as clumsy and trite and that it doesn't belong in a horror film. Great horror films though , force us to face up to truths about ourselves. Frontiers isn't a great horror film but it does , with its final images tell a stark truth. We all at one point are driving into the future screaming our defiance but we all eventually come to the point where we hold our hands up in surrender.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2013
Frontiers is another truly memorable horror film from our neighbours across the Channel.
It is up there with the best, believe me.
The main characters who fall victim to a determined group of hard core Nazis are an unpleasant bunch, and make their gory final moments on Earth somewhat well deserved.
The female lead puts up with an awful lot, with a spectacular and well drawn out climax.
Worthy of the 5 stars I give it.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By the time "Frontier(s)" was over my teeth really hurt. That was because I kept clenching them during the moments in this French horror film (the correct spelling of which would be "Frontière(s)"). This 2007 film is being promoted as the ninth of the 8 films 2 die 4 for last year's After Dark Horrorfest, because when it earned an NC-17 rating in the States it had to be pulled from the lineup. So it has the whole vibe of being too much horror for Horrorfest, which means the expectations are pretty high when you sit down to watch this one. On the other hand, the second crop of Horrorfest films were rather disappointing so you figure this one has to be an improvement, and the good news is that it certainly delivers. I am not the sort to close my eyes while watching the gory parts of movies (although I did close one of them in sympathetic reaction to the opening game of "Saw II"), which is why I went the clenched teeth part. A bad case of the measles as a child took out some of the calcium in my permanent teeth, so I am surprised some of them did not crack.

France is in the throes of some political upheaval having to do with the election of a hard line government, and while a century ago this might have sent young people to the barricades, in these trouble times they turn to crime. With the cops on their trail they decide to hole up in this filthy little bed and breakfast. This, of course, turns out to be a really bad mistake, and while the victims are not deserving of our sympathy on the basis of their characters, they are the hope of the future compared to their tormentors. There is really nothing more to say in laying out the plot, because you should just enjoy the ride, if you sense of the word "enjoy" encompasses what happens in this film. The film breaks down into three acts and how much you like the movie will probably come down to whether you think the final act tops the second.

Writer-director Xavier Gens ("Hitman") gets the credit for coming up with all this sick stuff, but credit also goes to cinematographer Laurent Barès, who gives the film is visual style, and especially film editor Carlo Rizzo, who crafts some moments of bizarre beauty through his creative use of montage. A few horror films of recent vintage have attempted to be "arty," and "Frontier(s)" certainly has some moments where you can argue it is cinema rather than just a horror movie.

The obvious cinematic touchstone here is supposed to be "Hostel," but I was reminded more of the original version of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." You will pick up echoes from a lot of other films, but it speaks to the film that I never got the feeling this was a pastiche. I still think "Wolf Creek" is at the top of the list for the torture-porn genre, although I am sure I have not seen everything that is out there. But "Frontier(s)" is closer to that than it is to the "Hostel" movies or "The Saw Trilogy," where there are mystery element in play that divert your from the blood, guts, and whatnot. This is just one of those bloody movies where you wait to see if anybody is going to get out alive.

All I can say now is: What a difference a movie makes. "Frontier(s)" was replaced in the Horrorfest 2007 lineup by "Unearthed," which means that what would have been my highest rated one of the 8 films 2 die 4 was replaced by the one I rated the lowest (although you have to grant that they were right not to have included "Unearthed" in the first place). The original Horrorfest lineup earned an average rating of 3.7 from me and this year's were a step lower at 3.0; but replace "Unearthed" with "Frontier(s)") and the average jumps to 3.4. I had sworn that next year I would rent the Horrorfest movies rather than go ahead and buy them when they came out on DVD (we did not get the festival the second time around), but I am glad I saw enough of the buzz about "Frontier(s)" to go ahead and pick it up. The only real complaint is that there are no DVD extras. Final Note: I wonder if the people behind the After Dark Horrorfest have noticed that their best flicks are being made in foreign lands, because that's certainly what has happened so far.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2009
French new wave horror has become the edgiest and most brutal produced around the world. Now from the makers of Switchblade Romance comes this 2007 shocker from writer/director Xavier Gens Frontiers(s). During a not to distant French presidential election a gang of small time crooks goes on the run after a failed robbery. Seeking refuge in a seedy hostel deep in the middle of nowhere where their hoists turn out to be a family of degenerate neo-Nazi cannibals. Here they are subjected to all kinds of extreme mutilation and torture. I hate to admit that I loved every blood thirsty minute of this brutally shocking masterpiece.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2011
For me any credibility this film might have had was lost when one of the characters is first bludgeoned with an iron bar before having his fingers shot off. Then he escapes in a car that is run off the road, ploughs through a fence and down into an abandoned mine and lands ON ITS ROOF. Having been beaten, shot and been involved in an unlikely RTA he is still able climb out of the wreckage and crawls through the mines tunnels. Predictably, he ends up back in the clutches of the nutters who were bashing him up. Bet his lotto numbers didn't come up that night, either.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2012
Being a huge fan of French horror, I guess I expected more from this film than what it delivered.
It's a rather cliché, recycled story line. Nothing any horror fan hasn't seen before, but the films 'shocking point' is the amount of gore used, which was even slightly disappointing. To compare it to another film within it's genre, I'd say it's more or less another 'Hostel'..but in French.
I found the characters highly annoying and dislikable to the point I really didn't care if they managed to escape or survive, which defeats the purpose of a horror film, you're usually meant to root for the main character to make it out, but I found myself not caring less because they were pretty stupid.
The film takes a long time to get anywhere and it's not really worth the wait for what you get.
I admit the film is very gritty and has a couple of disturbing moments, but I think overall it's weak and generic to the point it's laughable - such as the ending, which only left me with further disappointment, and made the entire film seem pointless.
Overall I'd give 2/5, there's many better French horror films out there.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is an absolutely first rate French horror film, which benefits from several imaginatively over-the-top murder scenes. Four youthful hoodlums flee from the police, after trouble-making in an inner city, and hide out at a remote country inn. The inn is run by a decidedly creepy and dystopian German family. It soon becomes very clear that this Germany family are not like the Waltons, they are inhospitable hosts, who get their kicks by dispatching their guests, in a variety of gruesome ways. As the film gets into the second half, and we are witnessing the fight for survival of the youths, the movie becomes extremely brutal, tense and gripping. Perhaps harking back to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there is one memorable scene involving death by a table saw, I've never seen so much blood splattered in one horror film. The movie is made with typical French fair, very artfully shot, indeed it is a lot more inventive and stylistic than the vast majority of horror movies, and it keeps you pinned to your seat right through to the closing scene. Highly recommended, provided that you don't mind the small distraction of sub-titles.
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