(Joel LeFrancois, Samuel Le Bihan, et al / DVD / NC-17 / 2008 / LGF)
Overview: Alone in a Paris plagued by deadly race riots the young and beautiful Yasmine is looking for a way out. In her desperation she turns to her shady ex-boyfriend. Together with his two thug friends they pull off a bold heist and head for the border. With the police close behind they hide out in a seemingly peaceful inn. But the mysterious innkeeper is hiding a secret more terrifying than anything they could ever imagine.
DVD Verdict: Since 2003 movies dealing with some form of torture have made a pretty big comeback; back in the 60s through the early part of the 80s these kinds of movies were rather popular before some what fading away. But since 2003 these movies are coming back and the major difference is these flicks are now mainstream rather than cult. Frontiers is the latest torture flick, this one out of France.
While as a whole I enjoyed I can't help, but think if this was an American movie it would probably get more heat. Frontiers takes a little bit of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original or remake) and takes a whole lot of Hostel as well as other exploitation inspired movies. The fact this movie is French and not American it won't be seen by as big of an audience in the States; I think Frontiers is an excellent movie, but I can't help, but think some of the praise is due to it not being American. Frontiers, while it is enjoyable really has nothing original to be found.
'Frontier(s)' is quite twisted, but hardly as shocking as it's made out to be for those who know their exploitation cinema whether it be the old school or the newer ones I doubt this one will shock you much unless you are easily shocked. With that said though of all the recent hash of 70s inspired exploitation flicks, 'Frontier(s)' would probably rate as one of the better ones. Making a movie like this isn't as easy as most people think it is. The common belief is torture people in the most brutal of ways and that's it.
I personally think there is more to it than that. The biggest problems movies like this often suffer from are characters who really aren't all that sympathetic and villains who are way too likeable. When the villains start spitting out one-liners they become too likeable. Thankfully Frontiers avoids that, but there is still a problem with the characters not being sympathetic.
Writer Xavier Gens also directs and is able to put together some fairly good suspense scenes and is able to keep the pace moving forward for the most part. 'Frontier(s)' received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA and people talk about how gory it is. Actually, Frontiers really wasn't that gory with the exception of the power saw scene and the amazingly awesome shotgun blast to the head. Besides that the gore isn't very extreme it's just the movie has constant violence. Sometimes a movie can be so dark and mean spirited people tend to think it was gorier than it actually was. Frontiers has gore, but only 2 scenes of extreme gore.
Gens does a solid job though; he takes a very clichéd movie and makes it much better than maybe it should have been. 'Frontier(s)' isn't as shocking as one might lead you to believe, but it does have some very dark and twisted scenes and Gens delivers one of the better torture flicks of the decade. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features.