Monday, January 3, 2011

Movie Review: Frontier(s) (2007)

46 movies in my DVD queue, 57 movies in my instant queue. GOOD GRAVY. Not all of them are horror... but a fair number are. I don't know how else to get through them except one by one... by one by one by one. First up is Frontier(s).

"Intrigue" is French for "plot": A group of friends flee Paris during political riots with stolen cash, hoping to take their ill-gotten gains across the border to Amsterdam. They get split up and two of the boys, Tom and Farid, make it to an isolated inn. However, by the time the others, Alex and Yasmine, arrive, the group is in a horrifying situation with the Neo-Nazi family running the inn. There's another guy named Sami somewhere here but he's not part of the main story.

A bit haphazard at times, Frontier(s) is still a nice entry into the rave of ultra-gore films from those kooky French people. It starts out as a totally different than what it becomes, with a sort of crime-thriller feel. The credit sequence has several news-footage type shots of the rioting in Paris and our main group of friends running from the po-po and one of them getting shot. None of this really matters, though. The weird shit happens when the boys get to the inn and almost immediately proceed to have sex with the two women they find there. This is quite possibly the most awkward seduction I've ever seen. First of all, Tom is ugly and most obviously a douchebag. It's strange what Nazi cannibal chicks find appealing, isn't it?

Anyway, for comparison's sake, I'll say that this movie is a little bit Texas Chain Saw Massacre and a little bit Hostel (in the gore sense, not the poorly acted, misogynistic script). It comes *this* close to being as gory as High Tension, while trying to be as emotional as Martyrs. So there's a lot of stolen concepts blended in with a semi-new one of a crazed patriarch using Yasmine and his other female family members to create a master race.

However, this concept serves only to get across the fact that this dude and his family is nucking futs and never takes it anywhere further than that. The plot for the rest of the movie is simply a chase movie as Yasmine chops her way through the family to get to safety, with the help of the hunchback shy girl whose name I never caught. Most horror films end up as a chase movies by the beginning of the third act and I've come to accept that. Here, it leaves the movie falling a little flat. Sure, Yasmine's been through some crazy stuff and lost her friends and whatever but there's no real even attempted cathartic ending - the movie just, well... ends.

So in all, as I'm writing this just after seeing the movie, I gotta say that while it tried to offer something new to horror fans, a lot of Frontier(s) felt like shit I've seen 100 times before - only it was done better those other 100 times. The other films in the After Dark Horrorfest have not been that impressive either, save for a few minor accomplishments.

But I'll give the movie props for what it gets right. The few scenes of extreme gore are well-placed and well-executed. Remember in Hot Fuzz where Nick Frost's character asks, "Is it true that there's a place in a man's head that if you shoot it, it will blow up?"? Frontier(s) answers with, "HELL YES!" When Yasmine is saved from Crazy Brother #1 in the elevator, he's shot in the head. It is not most of his head that explodes as other horror films show, but his entire fucking head down to part of his neck. Awwwwwesome.

Let us not speak of the Achille's tendon cutting. We just don't need to go there. It sucks hardcore and nobody likes watching that crap, SO. Moving on.

Another great moment is when Alex and Yasmine are at one point chained to the wall in a pig pen. They manage to free Yasmine by breaking the chain and she has to dig through the mud and muck to get underneath the fence. The pigs are waiting on the other side and I had one shining glimmer of hope that maybe these were trained man-eating pigs or something and they would attack her. Sadly, this did not transpire. Oh what might have been.

There's also a nice shot after Yasmine has dispatched the last of the Nazis where the rain comes down, washing away the blood that covered her face, and she lets out a yell. Of triumph or horror, we don't know, but they do one of my favorite things in movies by shooting the rain in slow motion while she belts out her release to the heavens. I just love slow motion rain and think it looks incredibly beautiful.

Anyone else notice how Gilberta, the blonde chick, is dressed exactly like Sheri Moon Zombie in The Devil's Rejects? Just sayin'.


  1. agree. not as awesome as other French flicks, but still highly thrilling and entertaining

  2. I love this flick. I loved that it was Hostel, TCM, The Decent all thrown into one.
    My only qualm is how much Yasmine shakes like she's got Parkinsons or has had a stroke. I understand that its from what she's been through, but still...

    Oh, and 'nucking futs', love it, one of my most commonly used spoonerisms.

  3. will have to see this one, I have to be honest and say that I never heard of it until now. Great post

  4. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 4, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    This was OK but it wasn`t as good as "Martyrs" or "Inside".

  5. Only 46 movies in your queue???
    I've got, like, 450!

    And this movie looks awesome. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. @Maynard - Yeah it was just okay, some good scenes but overall I've seen it before.

    @Caffeinated - Haha, yeah I noticed the shaking thing too. It's what actors do to seem all "intense" I guess!

    @Dempsey - It's not as good as other French flicks but worth a watch.

    @Andrew - Whoa, 450? You've got a long way to go, man! I don't think I could find 450 movies I need to see just yet.

  7. I love this film don't listen to the haters especially that pathetic Blair Russell Guy. What a loser thinking he can bash people just for liking a film he doesn't like or hate I just hate that guy but you and Maynard Rock.

    1. I agree Blair Russell (Bitch Scumsell) sucks ass I like Michele and Maynard better.

  8. Just watched this after reading your review. Loved it, i agree with the martyr kind of feel. The hunchback girl's name is Eva