Director: Xavier Gens
Cast: Karina Testa, Aurélien Wiik, Patrick Ligardes, David Saracino, Maud Forget, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefébure
Lionsgate / Color / NTSC Region 1 / Unrated Version / DD 5.1 French Audio / English Subtitles / Anamorphic 2.35:1 Widescreen / Purchase from DiabolikDVD.com
Sometimes when you watch the kind of movies that you and I watch, you may get a little jaded. A little numb. You grow a little cold to all of the sex, violence and gore thrust on you by the seemingly never-ending lot of new Fulci and Miike wanna-bes. It’s OK, it comes with the territory. But sometimes – not often enough – but sometimes a movie and a filmmaker comes along that jars you out of your coma of depravity. Frontière(s) is that movie and Xavier Gens is that writer/director.
The plot is simple and familiar enough. It’s your fairly typical survival-horror flick, following closely to movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre ’74. A group of people, this time a small group of thieves running from the “fascist” French government, plan on hiding out in the country at a desolate motel. When they arrive, they quickly find that a seriously fucked up family of murderous (possibly cannibalistic) neo-Nazi’s want to add to their already copious amount of dead bodies hanging in their barn (or underground mine, I couldn’t tell).
Not only do they want to kill them and possibly eat them, but the father (their “leader”) wants to keep the family bloodline going to fill in the ranks of his little army. He wants to use the only girl from the group of thieves as his successor’s (his son) baby-maker. He doesn’t want any more deformed offspring running around like the outcast ones that live in the abandoned mines near the motel/house. The blood is no longer pure, but tainted with incest. Will the family of (real) fascists’ bloodline continue with new blood? Will anyone get out alive?
There is something about the new wave of French horror (Calvaire, Haute Tension, In My Skin, etc.) that continually shocks and surprises me. They take decades old stories and mold and mutate them into creatures unknown to the rest of the world. It seems to be all in the delivery and style. It’s just so bleak and jarring. I love it. The extreme violence and gore are amplified by the claustrophobic tension and palatable fear. The superb acting and characterization also adds to the completely insane goings on.
The French seem to know what works right now. Xavier Gens has helped to give me back what I had as a kid watching Creature Feature on Saturday afternoons; anticipation and dread. Two reasons why I watch horror movies in the first place. It stimulates that nerve cluster in my brain and makes me hide behind the pillow all the while not being able to take my eyes off of the screen. Je vous remercie, Xavier et j’espère voir plus de vous dans l’avenir!