Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

As I saw that French director Xavier Gens’ new horror movie ‘Frontiers’ was blessed with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, especially since there’s virtually no sex in the movie, I’m thinking this must be one violent ass movie. Particularly after watching the doc ‘This Film is not yet Rated’ it’s fairly clear that MPAA doesn’t have too much a problem with violence, but heaven forbid you show a pubic hair in an improper situation, so I’m seriously questioning do I want to see a movie that in the year 2008 is able to garner an NC-17 rating based on violence alone? Probably because my anticipation was so amped to see what I was supposing to be one of the most violent movies ever made, I was actually a bit disappointed. I mean it was violent to be sure, but it wasn’t all THAT bad. Lucio Fulci’s ‘Zombi’ from damn near thirty years earlier is still waaaaaay more bloody gorily violent than this movie. All that being said, Gens comes through, as he did with ‘Hitman’, with a pretty tense, dread filled film.

Set against the backdrop of the political ethnic riots in Paris, a group of young rebels are on the run from the police after having stolen some money. Final Girl material Yasmine (Karina Testa), who informs us that she is three months pregnant, is attempting to drag her seriously wounded brother to safety amidst the violence and chaos in the streets. She makes contact with her ex-boyfriend and babies daddy Alex (Aurelian Wiik) who is on the run with a pair of his colleagues after a shootout with French Police and advises her to hold tight, which doesn’t sit well with Yasmine since her brother is basically bleeding out. Eventually this quintet is united and Alex dispatches his two buddies out of the city with the stolen loot while he and Yasmine run her brother to the hospital.

So off Farid (Chems Dahmani) and Tom (David Saracino) go into the darkness until they decide that it’s time to rest for the night. As folks tend to do in movies like these, they travel down a deserted road and find a little house which allows them to stay for

the night. Considering how incredibly strange the inhabitants of this house are, I would personally have gotten the hell out of there immediately, but then this is why I will probably never be in a horror movie situation. Certain bad things happen while this pair is at the house, prompting them to attempt to get the hell out, but alas things don’t go too terribly well for them on that front. Fortunately their bickering pair of ex-lovers is on their way to this location to meet up with them to save the day, or not. Turns out our heroes have stumbled onto a family of inbred cannibalistic Neo Nazi’s, which sucks in just about whatever country you happen to be in, led by the completely out-his-shite patriarch of the group Geisler (Jean-Pierre Jorris). Now poor Yasmine finds herself in a bit of a predicament because Geisler has chosen her, looking past her obvious ethnic heritage, to bear his chosen son Karl (Patrick Ligardes) lots of babies to keep the Nazi flame burning bright. But Yasmine, aside from being drop dead gorgeous, is one plucky little chickadee and has decided she ain’t going out like that. Exactly what chance does a 115 pound raven haired beauty have against a team of heavily armed, cannibalistic Nazis? You’ll have to sift through the exploding heads and find out this out for yourself.

Admittedly ‘Frontiers’ isn’t the most original movie in the world with since pretty young people have been running from blood thirsty cannibals in various movies since before many of us were even born, but recognizing that the words ‘originality’ and ‘movies’ are almost mutually exclusive about now, what you do get with this is a film high on tension, high on gore and pretty damn warped. I salute Xavier Gens for succeeding in keeping me interested in his film because quite honestly we have very little taste in torture horror as I found the ‘Saw’ sequels and the ‘Hostel’ series fairly intolerable, but Gens has littered his film with clever story bits, some reasonably interesting characters, and one of best bad guys in recent memory in the completely mad character of Geisler. Pretty Karina Testa made a very realistic heroine who gets by more on luck and good fortune, though there were a couple sequences which did stretch the believability of her characters abilities.

Though I don’t the film is really worthy of its NC-17 rating it’s still not exactly ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ as there are some seriously brutal scenes of violence with heads getting blowed the F off, a dude introducing himself personally to a circular saw, cannibalistic children, folks getting pressure cooked and other little tidbits of Nazi-esque horror, but it’s not like it’s non-stop brutality as the majority of the film is thriller style chase and hide and flush, then repeat until everybody’s dead.

‘Frontiers’ is an effective and efficient horror thriller which succeeds in what I believe it set out to do, and that is provide some fast moving action, gory brutality, and still manage to be reasonably entertaining. Probably not one to show for the next visit with grandparents, but still very worth seeing for those who are into the genre.

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