Frontier(s) (2007)
By: J.R. McNamara on February 6, 2009  | 
Madman (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). French DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 103 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Xavier Gens
Starring: Karina Testa, Aurèlien Wiik, Patrick Ligardes, David Saracino
Screenplay: Xavier Gens
Country: France
External Links
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The 21st century has given us a new wave of French Horror. French filmmakers are attempting to explore extremes, not just in horror, but in many types of film with the so-called New French Extremity, and this new wave of horror sits amongst it. While the Americans are remaking everything except for their home movies, the French are attempting to revolutionize cinema by pushing the boundaries in new films with new stories. The films Inside, Haute Tension and Ils are amongst these, and sit highly regarded by many, and this film (though to some older horrorheads it may appear to be an homage to many American films) could sit quite comfortably amongst them.

Frontier(s) tells of a fictional time in French history where due to mucho political strife, Paris has descended into a place of violence and rioting. A group of young thieves are on the run from the police, with the intention of escaping to Holland with a cache of cashola, when one of the gang members is shot. The team split up, with Farid (Chems Sahmani) and Tom (David Saracino) going ahead to a meeting point… yet to be definitely determined… while Alex (Aurelien Wiik) and his pregnant ex-lover Yasmine (Karina Testa) take her shot brother Sami (Adel Bencherif) to the hospital for treatment. When Sami dies from his wounds, and the doctor on duty reports the gunshot wound to the police, Yasmine and Alex have to scarper.

Meanwhile, Farid and Tom find a place to stop and text directions to their now in motion accomplices, in a small hotel near a mine. They are told they can have a room for free, and are soon subjected to the hungry sexual advances of the two girls working there. Very quickly their situation devolves, until they find that they are actually in the hands of some seriously screwed up people who have a love of human flesh.

This all takes place while Yasmine and Alex are still in transit, so by the time they arrive, the situation has been cleaned up and all appears to be normal. They ask to be reunited with their criminal cohorts and are soon in the hands of an even bigger group of sadistic oddballs. Even worse, this crazy family is lorded over by a cruel leftover Nazi, who intends on making their stay… well, not very comfortable at all.

This is a pretty good film, looks nice and has been well directed by Hitman's Xavier Gens. I will say this though: Gens is clearly a bit fan of backwoods horror films, and this, while good in its own right, could be seen as a blatant rip-off of a lot of those films that are readily available to hire or buy. In actual fact, I imagine most horror fans will be in the same boat as me, attempting to pick what has been paid respect to in each scene: that guy looks like the guy from the basement of Hostel, this feels like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre family etc etc.

If I am to be really picky of this film, it is in the continuity. If you are going to do the 'Haute Tension covered in blood' look on your female lead, well, make sure the blood is the same from scene to scene. I usually can overlook such blatant oversights, but these were far too obvious at times. I also thought the two bits of irony at the end (I won't spoil either of them) felt … I don't know, tacked on to see if people were really paying attention.
Nicely presented in a virtually faultless 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The image was fabulous.
The audio is presented beautifully in a Dolby digital 5.1 French soundtrack. Unfortunately no badly dubbed English track, which usually gives some amusement. The French track can be played with or without English subtitles though.
Extra Features
Unfortunately average extras on this disc:

The Making of Frontier(s) is not actually a 'making of' as such, but more a collection of behind the scenes footage. It is interesting, but nothing special.

Teaser Trailers is a series of five teasers, each with a different amusing catchphrase at the end.

The theatrical trailer is just that, but a good one. The trailer even warns you that the film is so violent, the trailer requires relaxing music for you to enjoy while you watch the carnage… nicely tongue-in-cheek.

Stills Gallery… yes, ladies and gentlemen, another useless stills gallery for you to ignore. This time we have 15 images lifted from the film for no reason other than to take up space on the disc. Really, the only place one should see a 'stills gallery' is at a moonshine museum.

There are also some trailers for three other Madman releases: Gruesome, Funny Games and The Ordeal.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
There is only really one thing wrong with this film: you've seen it all before. This is the film to watch when you are sick of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (any of them), and Hostel, and The Hills Have Eyes, and Severance, and Wrong Turn and the other countless hillbilly (or the French equivalent…l'illbillies perhaps?), cannibal, torture flicks that have come out in the past 10 years or so. I enjoyed watching it, but spent a lot of time inadvertently mentally comparing it to the library of horror that sits in the lumpy grey matter between my ears.

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