Sunday, 22 May 2011

Review - Frontiers (2007 - Dir. Xavier Gens)

A high octane bloodbath which attempts to combine both the gritty and horror genres in a single bite-size morsel. One minute a group of gritty urban French protestors are taking part in a Parisian riot, and the next thing you know they're fighting for their lives in a motel complex run by a bizarre family of  nazi cannibal maniacs. All manner of hi-jinx follows and needless to say none of it is all that pleasant. Let's just say it's not one to show your grandma.

Not being a fan of 'nasty real' horror like Switchblade Romance for instance, I was quite surprised to quite enjoy this film. It's violent and gore-filled but not 'nasty'. In fact, but for the urban grittiness factor, it's a relatively standard horror film in plot and format. The family at the centre of events are so over the top grotesque that they take on pantomime villain roles in a kind of Adams Family meets The Hills have Eyes style and this detracts from any notion that the situation could be anything but a dark fantasy.

Having said that, there's some clever and genuinely scary bits on show. The hair cutting scene is really disturbing, the tunnel scene is uber-claustrophobic and the rain scene at the end is cleansing and provides some sense of hope. The acting is anything but subtle, but Karina Testa is entertaining as our heroine and leaves you feeling she has been genuinely mentally unbalanced by the events. It's hard not to smile at her shambling, zombie-esque retreat though.

It's difficult to say what the message is here, other than 'watch out for Nazis!' They may have excellent family values, look after their elderly relatives and sit round the table together for their tea every night, but they're still baddies.

Not for everyone and not for the faint-hearted, but for fright fans with a sense of humour this is an enjoyable but ultimately throwaway addition to the horror genre.

If you like this you could try:
Martyrs, Switchblade Romance, The Machine Girl, The Hills Have Eyes.

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