Frontière is another example of a great horror movie coming to us from France. It’s a riff on the classic American movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Hills Have Eyes with a distinctly French twist. I mean, of course, our young group was involved in riots when they had to flee the town. They ended up in some backwater town where things are going to get even more fucked up.
Although the main story is familiar, Xavier managed to create an original and very uncomfortable atmosphere. An atmosphere I had a feeling was suffocating me at times. The tension was palpable, but the pacing was a bit off in my opinion. It varied throughout the movie with parts that were too slow or subplots that felt out of place. The same goes for character development, especially when you consider how good the main story is.
However, I will have to admit that Frontière(s) powers through all of these issues with brute force. The severity of the situation and tension keep you engaged almost constantly. This is a brutal and visceral movie offering much more carnage than its American counterparts. And it has this certain rawness to it, a filthy, bloody rawness that makes everything feel even more gnarly.
I also appreciate the decision to steer clear of the found footage style. You can see that they were toying with this idea in a couple of scenes, eventually giving up and making all of our lives better. The practical effects are excellent, offering a fair share of graphic scenes. They also didn’t fuck up the gloriously bloody finale, something that happens so often in modern movies.
After the riots in Paris, a group of young delinquents is trying to reach the border. They want to get to Amsterdam with some stolen cash. On their way, they will stop at a restaurant near the border. Everything seems to be going rather well until their hosts start acting a bit odd. That situation is soon going to escalate.
I think we can all relate to the main story in Frontière although it has been already seen so many times. We’ve all had the pleasure of stopping in some satanforsaken dump in the middle of nowhere getting awkward vibes from the natives. Almost the entire story takes place in a single location over the course of one night. And the story no matter how far-fetched it may sound does ring of truth.
Now, I don’t want to spoil anything but you can do your own googling after the movie is over. It also mirrors the current, very worrying political situation in France. It’s funny to think that this movie was shot more than ten years after Mathieu Kassovitz’s film La Haine also featuring the aftermath of the riots. And a pretty same cast of characters dealing with some of the same issues.
Finally, Frontière(s) is part of the New French Extremity wave of horror movies. Martyrs, High Tension, and Inside are probably the best examples. And while these are a bit older movies now, Titane, released in 2020 is certainly not. And it’s just as fucked up as these ones. I should also mention Them and Calvaire as they are also pretty nasty. So, if you’re interested in seeing horror movies that are pushing the boundaries and offering something new, do check them out.
Director: Xavier Gens
Writer: Xavier Gens
Cast: Karina Testa, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefébure, Aurélien Wiik, David Saracino