Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Film Review: Frontier(s) (2007)

Frontier(s) (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"If you have the stomach for it, this is a must-watch for horror fans."

During the violent aftermath of a controversial election, a group of robbers flee Paris and find refuge in a secluded hostel—which is operated by a family of neo-Nazis...

Frontier(s) follows a gang of robbers: Alex, Tom, Farid, Yasmine (Karina Testa), and her brother Sami. After a far-right candidate wins the presidency in France, violent riots break out in the streets. So, this gang seizes the opportunity and commits a robbery. Unfortunately, Sami's brother is shot, which changes their plans. Tom and Farid flee Paris with the money and agree to meet the rest of the gang at a hostel; meanwhile, Alex and Yasmine take Sami to the hospital. Of course, this only means Tom and Farid meet the hostel owners before their partners in crime. One thing leads to another, and soon everyone is fighting to survive in this hostel. There's much more to the story, including a wide cast of villains, but I'd rather not spoil anything else. It leads to a bloody climax and good ending.

Frontier(s) is one of my favorite horror films from the New French Extremity wave. It is a brutal, tense, and effective film. It has some political undertones, but they're not at the forefront—they're undertones. I mention this to show you that the film has meaning—it's not just extreme violence from beginning to end—and because it can be ignored. If you're tired of politics, fear not: you can enjoy this film as a traditional horror movie. Well, a traditional extreme horror movie. This is one of the few films that has ever made me cringe. It had that physical affect on me, forcing me to squirm and wince. That's because it is ridiculously graphic and suspenseful.

My only issue with the film becomes persistent towards the end—plot contrivances. In this case, this film has those villains that talk and talk... and talk until they miss their chance to kill someone. You know, the type of character who aims a gun at someone they're trying to kill, but instead of pulling the trigger, he talks for a few minutes about how badly he wants to kill them. That's a plot contrivance I despise. But, that's really my only issue, and it's not that severe.

The acting was great, though. Karina Testa is fantastic as the leading lady. Aurélien Wiik also performed well. The performances felt raw and real, so it really amplified the horror in this film. The film looked great, too. The editing can be a little over-the-top at times, but it's not bad. The music was great, too. I believe the film mostly used practical effects. I think there were only a few scenes with computer graphics. The film was written and directed by Xavier Gens. I think Gens is a great horror filmmaker. He knows violence isn't the winning ticket to making an effective horror movie. He pulls great performances from his cast, he crafts a gloomy, hopeless atmosphere, and he knows how to create suspense.

Overall, Frontier(s) is a fantastic horror film. It's a brutal, disturbing, and effective movie. It keeps you on the edge of your seat through its depictions of violence and its dreadful (in a good way) suspense. If you have the stomach for it, this is a must-watch for horror fans.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and blood.

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