(The following review was contributed by R.T Ewell. R.T is a writer, his work can be found here)
Frontier(s) is a euro-horror-movie that has been on my radar for a while. In fact, I bought the movie a few years ago but it got put in the “to-watch” pile and never made it on to my television. Since it is currently October I figured it was the perfect time to give it a try. Going into the movie I knew very little, except it was a French horror movie that has been compared to the SAW and HOSTEL series’. Well, that’s all I need to know to watch any horror movie. The movie is under the “8 Films to Die For” banner from After Dark Horrorfest.
The story follows a group of young thieves that are attempting to flee Paris during a violent aftermath of a political election. Since they were separated during the chaos they made a plan to meet at a hostel. It seems like they would have done some research to find a safe place to hide but then again we wouldn’t have a horror movie if they did. Unfortunately, for them, the place they have chosen was not a wise choice. A family of sadistic cannibals are the people that run the hostel, so things don’t turn out so good for our young thieves.
I usually hate the victims in horror movies. Due to the fact that there is usually no depth and they are very unlikable characters. It doesn’t help that they make dumb decisions or get caught due to stupid choices. I wish I could say that this movie is different but alas it’s not. I hated most of the victims in this movie, however, there was one exception, Karina Testa, who portrays Yasmine, is absolutely fantastic. The emotions that she shows really come smashing through the screen. I promise you, by the end of this movie you will be cheering for this woman to survive the horrific night. While the others you’ll just want to see die.
The bad-guys in this movie are some of the more interesting ones I’ve seen on screen. It’s a family of villains which made me even more interested as it’s something I have written about before. Something about the closeness of a family that wants to capture, torture, and kill people together is terrifying to me. In particular, Samuel Le Bihan as Goetz and Maud Forget playing Eva are both drastically different characters yet both co-exist inside this unique family. Goetz is instantly a character you will love to hate which is always a bonus for horror movie, while Eva has a history that you can’t help but sympathize with.
The movie came out during a truly great time for cinematic horror, especially outside of the United States. Not only are these movies gruesome but they also dare to tell a story that is sometimes layered in controversy. Frontiers does just that while keeping up an excellent pace of storytelling. You will cringe at some of the scenes while you are trying to figure out where the story is headed. I am not a big fan of people, especially in their late teens or early twenties, getting captured only for the sake of being captured. I give this one a pass because of its attention to gory detail. The sadistic family has a really unique story.
There are some torture scenes but nothing to the level of your normal gory flick, however the amount of blood in this movie is somewhat staggering at times. What really makes this movie stand out to me is the different types of horror that it includes. As gory as the movie is, it is also very suspenseful. It does everything extremely well, presenting a very well-rounded film.
There is a scene where if you’re claustrophobic, you will definitely have to close your eyes. It’s one of the most memorable and creative shots I’ve ever seen. The way its done brings about a tension that allows us to feel what the characters on screen are experiencing which is incredibly hard to do. It’s an absolutely brilliant scene that gives me chills just thinking about it. What makes it such a memorable scene is that there is no blood or death involved, and that’s what makes the true horror stand out.
I am not as high on this flick as some others but in no way do I think it’s bad, the story just didn’t grab me like I wished it would have. If you have been aching for a horror movie that’s not PG-13 and just a series of jump scares and wanted a bit of gore than this is a movie that might just fill that void.