Frontière(s) (Frontier(s)) (2007)
France (dir. Xavier Gens)
Cast: Karina Testa, Aurélien Wiik, Patrick Ligardes, David Saracino, Maud Forget, Amelie Daure
Synopsis: A gang of young thieves flee Paris during the violent aftermath of a political election, only to hole up at an inn run by neo-Nazis.
Review: “ Frontière(s)” is basically the horror movie equivalent of a mixed tape. It is essentially a melting pot of far superior movies. Instead of getting a great mix with some satisfying results, you’re left with the cinematic equivalent of recycled paper. At any instant where there is a shocking scene or an interesting plot twist, you are automatically reminded of a better movie from the past. At the end you are left thinking, “Why did I bother watching this when I could have watched “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”/“Hostel”/“Martyrs”/“The Midnight Meat Train”/anything other than this?”
The movie starts off with a rather confusing story where a bunch of anarchists (or just really politically active young people, I couldn’t really decide which they were) get in a lot of shit for beating down a cop during a riot in Paris. The gang ends up splitting up into two groups during the course of the night (one gang member even ends up dying, but you won’t really care about that) and goes their separate ways. One group (two yawn-inducing “bad boys”) end up driving to a secluded hostel that is located on a farm and apparently doubles as a brothel after midnight (sure, why not?). One of the guys ends up getting laid (after spending sometime howling, which I guess in France is how men indicate they are ready to mate) and the other decides against a quick lay because his prego girlfriend (who is with the other group) is on her way to the hostel as well. After a mild confrontation with one of the hooker’s/farm girl’s brothers regarding some money (I think it was like a measly $1500 that the gang stole earlier) things go awry and a few limbs get forcibly removed via shotgun blasts. The guys make an attempt to get away but end up crashing their car instead, and then I think they end up getting gutted and sliced up for meat in the hostel’s complicated underground butcher site.
When the second group arrives (along with prego girlfriend) one of the guys discovers his buddy from the first group is slowly dying in a “The Midnight Meat Train”/”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” kind of way and tries to rescue everyone. Obviously he fails or else the movie would have kind of stopped at this point (I really wish it had) and both he and the prego girl end up in a pig pen in the underground butchery. There’s some mildly torture pornish stuff at this point, mainly involving a muddy pig sty and some human leashes, but that’s pretty much it. It is revealed that the hostel is owned by a “family” of Neo-Nazis (primarily made up of inbred siblings and kidnapped/brainwashed women) which is headed by an actual Nazi who wants to create a perfect race and also eat people. Fun! When he discovers that one of the gang of hostel visitors is pregnant, he decides to keep her as a wife for one of his sons so that she can give birth to a pure blood baby which will keep the family living on.
Eventually, during a rather awkward dinner, the prego girl (Yasmine) decides enough is enough and she kills Nazi dad and a bunch of the other family members before escaping. She pretty much single-handedly took care of the whole situation. Pretty awesome for a chick! Unfortunately, the movie is just too terrible to allow for Yasmine’s actions to have any redemptive quality whatsoever. In fact, I wanted very badly for this movie to end even before anything good started happening (and even when some good stuff was happening). Most of the time I just thought to myself how unnecesary this movie is. If I want to watch something like this, I’ll just watch something better like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and not have to put up with an awkward and nonsensical subplot involving Nazis. There was also an alarming amount of violence towards the pregnant woman, almost to the point where it just felt like they threw in some pregnant woman bashing to up the controversy level on the movie.
While the movie succeeds in being dark, brutal and nasty it fails in being captivating or exciting or even coherent. The entire movie was translated into English subtitles so damn poorly it was almost a joke. Also, members of the Nazi family were confusing to keep track of, and I had trouble understanding the family’s goals (why is eating people part of Nazi political endeavors? and why bother allowing a stranger to give birth to another stranger’s baby in order to add to a supposedly “pure blood” family?). With a movie like this, you need to add something interesting in order to make it stand out from all the other generic torture porn out there, and I don’t think throwing a Nazi and a pig sty into the mix will help.