MAY 22, 2008


It figures that one of the few good movies that After Dark has acquired over the past few years would get the most limited release. Frontière(s) was released on approximately 8 screens for about as many minutes just two weeks ago, sans any sort of advertising or press. Granted, it was due to hit DVD 4 days later, but still, it would have been nice to see the film in the theater. And since it has an NC-17 rating (which is a nice surprise; I am so used to movies simply being 'unrated' it's almost charming to see the rating again), Blockbuster won't carry it (no R rated cut like Inside, I guess) even on its online service, which STILL limits its audience.

But while I demand you move heaven and earth to see Inside, Frontière(s) is merely a decent movie you might like, though dying without ever having seen it won't keep you up nights (especially since you're dead). There's not much originality on display here, with just about everything in the film taken from any of the Chainsaw films (even the remake/prequel ones), Hostel, Saw, and whatever movie writer/director Xavier Gens happened to see that had a "they are being kidnapped for breeding purposes" subplot. Take your pick!

However, Gens is a fantastic shooter, and despite some too-rapid cutting during some of the 'horror' scenes, the film is quite well made. The confident shooting, coupled with some truly gory/effective sequences, is just about enough to forgive the script's lack of originality, not to mention focus.

Early on in the film, our "heroes" (they have robbed a bank - fuck em as far as I'm concerned!) are trying to escape a riot that has been caused due to outrage over a right wing political candidate (one character exclaims "great, France has their own George Bush!"). But these elements are clumsily shoehorned into the film (even moreso at the end, when a radio broadcast brings it up again, long after we've forgotten about it in the first place), and stink of simply trying to give the film some social relevance. It doesn't work though, because it's clichéd for one thing and left out of the film for nearly 90 minutes for another. Originality issues aside, the film at least works fine on its own; randomly tossing in some half-assed 'commentary' is just distracting and eventually pointless. The bank robbery angle is also fairly pointless in the long run - why make your protagonists unlikeable right from the start when the money has no actual bearing on the plot? I could see if it was used to try to bribe the bad guys, or if the group fought over the money which led to their capture, but like the political stuff, it's essentially forgotten once the horror starts; not even consequential enough to qualify as a Macguffin.

I also wish that J.R. Media Services in Burbank, CA (the subtitler credits himself the second the film fades to end credits) had done a better job with their goddamn subs. In addition to occasional nonsense like this:

There are also several occasions where they are doing an exact translation that doesn't quite work (no one says "Go away!" to their friend who is trying to rescue them, they would be saying something like "go! run!"). But the most annoying blunder is constantly putting two characters' lines in a single scene. This completely betrays dramatic tension at times, because they will have someone's response on the screen long before the character actually says it. At one point, our head Nazi villain says "What do you want?" to one of the heroes, who replies, after a few seconds' pause for dramatic effect: "Kill me!". However, the subs give us both lines at once, so we are essentially knowing his response before the question is even finished.

Sadly, the DVD is completely featureless other than trailers for other LG releases (lucky us). Thus I cannot really condone a full price purchase, but if you come across it cheap (or for rental) then you should enjoy it for the most part. It's good to know that the French can make generic knockoffs just as well as we can!

What say you?


  1. Actually caught this in the theater while I was in Seattle visiting friends a couple weeks ago.

    I knew almost nothing about it going in so I didn't know what to expect other than it being, as one pal described it, "a French gore flick."

    That about sums up this over-the-top blend of Hooper's original TCM, HOSTEL, the SAW films and every other piece of torture-gore to come out in the last ten years or so.

    I wasn't all that impressed by the script. Again, it lifts from a parcel of better films and it seems to exist purely to shock and gross out the viewer with its death-by-steamroom scenes, snipped tendons and heroines crawling through pig shit.

    Literally. If you've seen more than a dozen horror films made in the last 30 years you know who's going to live, who's going to die and in some cases how.

    Maybe I'm getting old but I just don't like this whole direction of the horror genre. Don't get me wrong, I love a good gore flick but give me mindless zombies or demon-possessed theater patrons. There's enough real-life horror out there for me to be conscious of... do I really need to concern myself with aging Nazis residing in the French countryside kidnapping juvenile delinquents for their experiments in breeding?

    As I said to one friend, the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE mines the same haywire dysfunctional family territory with 1/1000th of the gore and 1000X the tension.

  2. There may be Spoilers; You Have been warned!!! From Dusk Till Dawn, Calvaire, Texas Chain Massacre, House OF 1000 Corpses. you name it, we pretty much have learn the golden rule; If the place it’s good for hiding, it could be that Something it’s already hiding there!!! In Frontiere (s) the acting it’s very good, the gore it’s more than abundant and the setting it’s more close to home than most of us are willing to admit… the Freak family here has very likeable points on their character, in a ironic way, the family it’s remnants of a Nazi group, but they are more likeable than the white trash family Rob Zombie keep presenting us in his films, and the ones in the Texas Chain Massacre films, I actually could picture a lot of American actors for the parts in the most assure Dreaded REMAKE. In the third act there’s a lot of time when you would think that you’re watching the last scene, just to realize the film keeps going, (about three times), In this film the culture it’s not a factor, like in Asian films, so you can easily relate to the whole setting. Be sure you check this film, but be aware than although the pacing is very good and steady, it might be somehow slow for those are used to the pacing in “Saw”, in any case this film it’s a great new breath for an saturated remake market…

  3. grabbed this at blockbuster, mislabeled as a different film of all things... seems to be the original, unedited film, so that's cool.

  4. i liked it, though it reeked of TCM2, a thousand corpses-- especially the "Help me"-- oops youre one of them car scene-- but dude, how can you not like the Nazi dad?? He was amazing! And he would just slip into german every so. And the pregnant "little sister" she was good too.

    We had a french night and watched this with ILS, i was not disappointed.

  5. i love this movie! i like inside, but i enjoyed this a lot more.

  6. Mediocre. Nothing more, nothing less.

  7. this film is 1000xs better than Inside! i'm getting fucking tired of people bashing this shit and calling INSIDE the gone with the wind of horror. i gave both five starts, but it's getting really tiresome to have to keep hearing the same shit over and over again!!

  8. This movies is really great the blood work was really good and the story plot was different then the main stream story plots there are now. Watching a couple of the French horror movies you will noticed that the hero/villain ends up being a female. What I like most about this movie they do not hold back any punches if there is a scene where something gory is going to happened they show the whole thing in a lot of the movies out now you just here the sounds and you don't know what happened to a character and that really bothers me. I give this movie a 10 out of 10

  9. I watched Inside, then this one week apart and they were booth the only movies in years to give me nightmares.

    Couple thoughts on the robbery and riots: I think they were trying to raise money for an abortion for the girl, which was why they were going to Holland. Also, the fucked up situation in Paris was meant to show it didn't matter if you were in the sticks or the city, people were shit.

  10. what's not to like, french nazi rednecks. EPIC. ok i've calmed down a little bit, i saw this back to back with inside. what is it with the french, pregnant women and riots. this was tcm in french with guns! there was also one of the best exploded head scenes since scanners imho! anyways good violence and must see if you like saw, tcm et al.

  11. This is definitely a better film than Inside. Also better than Haute Tension or Ils.

  12. This film rules. Sure it's not the most original movie in the world, but it's more of a homage than a ripoff. It's not bad nor a generic knockoff or cheap and ripoff in any shape, way or form. The characters are all awesome, important and likeable. The four main characters despite the criminal edge are likeable and have a sense of purpose (hello? political riots) and aren't bad guys that deserves what happens to them. Eva the only good member of the Von Geislers is likeable because of how she showed sympathy and befriended Yasmina and the Von Geislers are one of the best horror clans of all time. This is a true fact, this film truly deserves anything good said about it and is worthy to the horror genre. Hey Monsieur Gens do everyone a favor and make a sequel to Frontier(s) that is set on December 2011 and make all the characters return and let it be a crossover with High Lane, Inside, Ils, High Tension, Open House, Stag Night, Shadow and We are the Night with lots of action and horror and let it all start soon instead of a slow ending. Make the characters all turn out to be immortal. This movie truly is undeserving of any bad things said about it. This is a truly amazing and likeable film. The New French extremity truly does not suck at all SO STOP SAYING IT DOES BECAUSE THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY DOES NOT SUCK AT ALL. This film rules and I hope that a sequel to Shadow will be made too with the original cast returning but with new cast members. I Love French horror. Who agrees with me? GO FRANCE. :))

  13. I'm the same person who wrote the comment above I forgot to mention Bloody Mallory and Hollywood Kills should also be in the crossover in Frontier(s) 2. This movie is truly spectacular and underrated like I said Hooray France :)

  14. I'm also the same person who wrote the two comments above Frontier(s) 2 should also have The Graves and Sint in the crossover. I hope all the directors of these movies especially Monsieur Gens himself are reading this because they should really make a sequel. Fuck the haters. Frontier(s) and French cinema rule.

  15. The sequel should also be a crossover with Storm Warning. Monsieur Gens rules and I just love HMAD. I'm a different person reading the comments.

  16. The sequel should also crossover Rumah Dara.

  17. Frontier(s) a generic knockoff and/or a bad movie huh? There is a difference between Frontier(s) and that crappy Saw rip-off Steel Trap
    Frontier(s) plot: Frontier(s) has a fantastic plot.
    Steel Trap plot: Crap plot that reminds us that it's a generic knockoff.
    Frontier(s) acting: Frontier(s)'s acting is spectacularly compelling
    Steel Trap acting: The acting sucks
    Frontier(s)'s characters: The characters (every single one of them) are all awesome, compelling, interesting, likeable and important to the story.
    Steel Trap characters: The characters are annoying, unlikeable and pretty one-dimensional.With the exception of Kathy King.
    Frontier(s) cast: The cast is excellent
    Steel Trap cast: The cast is pretty bad though not the worst. But Georgia MacKenzie is a pretty good actress though.
    Frontier(s) script: The script is great.
    Steel Trap script: The script is lame-ass.
    This is how Frontier(s) is way better than Steel Crap. Com'on Luis Camara you can do better like Xavier Gens did.


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