Frontiére(s) (2007)

Yasmine (Karina Testa), her brother Sami (Adel Bencherif), her boyfriend Alex (Aurélien Wiik)and accomplices Tom (David Saracino) and Farid (Chems Dahmani) stage a robbery in the middle of the worst riots in the history of Paris. Many are taking to the street to protest the election of a far-right government, and the police are out in force. The riots don't provide much cover for the thieves, as the police are also hot on their trail and Sami has been shot.

Yasmine and Alex get Sami to a hospital where he dies of his wounds (and they are almost captured) while Tom and Farid continue ahead with the cash, heading for Amsterdam to spend the money in style and get away from Paris for awhile. On the way they stop at an out-of-the-way inn to wait for everyone else to catch up.

Anyone familiar with American films knows what happens when young people turn off the paved road out in the country. Turns out the same thing happens in France as well.

Tom and Farid enjoy some R&R with the women who seem to run it, Gilberte (Estelle Lefébure) and Klaudia (Amélie Daure). Well, Tom enjoys, while Farid is practically raped. Also on hand is their brother Goetz (Samuel Le Bihan), who seems to serve as the cook. After Tom offends their hosts by calling the women whores, another brother, Karl (Patrick Ligardes) shows up, and he appears to be the local law. He takes them to task, and then tries to kill them. The chase is on, and the boys crash outside an abandoned mine shaft.

Directed to the inn, Yasmine and Alex show up and are driven out to the mine, which turns out to be the family's base of operations. Not only have they fallen into the clutches of a strange family, but the family turns out to be Nazi cannibals - and Father (Jean-Pierre Jorris) has plans to continue the bloodline by marrying Yasmine to Karl, even though she is not "pure." It also helps that she is three months pregnant, so Father and Karl hope to indoctrinate the child from birth.

One thing I liked was that the family was not a bunch of horror stereotypes. Except for the overly large brother Hans (Joël Lefrançois), who handles the butchering with his wife Eva (Maud Forget), they all look like normal people. And there is also no family unity; Father wants Karl to take over, while Goetz plans on usurping the job and Hans just seems to hate everyone.

The only sensitive one is Eva, who was stolen from her real parents as a child and later forced to wed Hans. Besides helping out with the food preparation, she also tends to her horde of feral children living in the mine. She also quickly befriends Yasmine and tries to make her stay with the family as comfortable as possible.

The movie is described as France's answer to Hostel and Saw, which leads me to believe whoever wrote the review red a blurb of the film rather than seeing it. This is much closer (and handled in a much more serious manner) to a film like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What largely awaits the victims is being treated like livestock rather than playthings or being put in elaborate contraptions to teach some moral lesson. This film is brutal, it is bloody and, though well-made, is derivative of classic American horror films. However, it is an injustice to put it in the same category as certain movies that many horror fans avoid because they consider them "torture porn." Frontiére(s) is definitely not that.


Duration: 108 minutes

Starring: Karina Testa, Maud Forget, Aurélien Wiik

Director: Xavier Gens


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