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Reviews & Ratings for
Frontier(s) More at IMDbPro »Frontière(s) (original title)

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39 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Lives not closely up to the hype

Author: dschmeding from Germany
31 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Damn, after really good french movies like A L'interieur and High Tension I was really eager to see Frontieres from reading all the positive reviews. The movie starts out kind of different with political riots and some kids who seem to have stolen money in the hassle. After some dramatic departure of one gang member they flee and split up to meet at the border to go to the Netherlands. The first two take a break in a hostel (Yeah, Hostel everyone!) where they soon meet some strange backwoods girls and a butcher guy... after some uninspired sex with the girls the action breaks loose just waiting for the other 2 to arrive You can pretty much guess what happens... like in a million other movies they were killing tourists for years (clicheed pictures of boxes full of cellphones and passports and abandoned cards hint to that like in Wrong Turn etc.). Its exactly the old TCM Theme with a real messed up family which in this case happen to be the followers of some cliché Neonazi who talks a real fake mix of french and German. You get some violence and torture and like the french love it the only girl turns out to be the toughest of the gang. The cinematography is nice, the acting is OK, the gore is kind of average considering that we live in the age of torture-porn Saw/Hostel movies and the violence is not as over the top as I expected. What bothered me about Frontieres is the strange pacing... the movie is way to long and beginning and end are strangely torn by some cheesy dramatic elements (the female main actor real overacts the last sequences... it seemed way off to me how they were all permanently crying in this movie or telling each other how the love them). The main part of the movie is stretched and seems kind of random in how the family story is implemented. Its just puzzled together with a decrepit slobbering grandma, then some deformed children in the basement, Nazi Daddy and the obligatory good character in form of a seemingly sick girl who lends a helping hand in the backwoods mess. Most of this stuff is just thrown in, dropped off and doesn't work as creepy as e.g. the family story in TCM2 but rather seems like a patchwork of loose ideas. Frontieres is not a bad movie but it suffers from a kind of stylistic inconsistency that throws it from drama to hostel-horror to weird action-style shootouts and back to drama. I am a friend of movies that try to break the genre boundaries but this one didn't quite work. I think A L'interieur did that way better. If you just rent this for he violence you can fast-forward this but you won't see anything you haven't seen in other movies before... OK, maybe I never saw a messed up girl in such a bloody bloody white dress but the whole idea was there ... in other french movies of the recent past. Overall a rather average movie that obviously stole too many ideas from here and there.

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36 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Boring Mess.

Author: louis-price
25 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just thought I had to throw in my penny's worth here and express my surprise at the glowing reviews for this film. Normally I tend to agree with the majority of reviews in the IMDb comments bit, but I feel like I live on a different planet to most of my fellow reviewers here. I had really high expectations for this movie, I loved Haute Tension, Calvaire, Sheitan, Inside, Trouble Every Day, Irreversible, Dobermann, etc etc; These new french horror flicks are really exciting, they follow the lead from the 80s french horror 'Baby Blood', in that they are uncompromising, gory, unpredictable, and even sexy. Frontier(s), sounded like it could easily fit in with this ethos, but it was a total blow out.

Frontier(s) is slickly shot, quite gory, and has some bits that should be scary, but it has this horribly immature atmosphere to it, like it was made by a bunch of 15 year old kids let loose with a decent budget and short term memory loss. The editing is ridiculous, rendering the film unwatchable and incoherent in the action scenes, Frontier(s) makes 'Van Helsing' look like a Bela Tarr movie. The acting is really bad too, with the main characters performances reminding me of some kind of inner London 'Yoof' centre Am-Dram play. The director has obviously watched 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and realised that if everyone screams their head off and goes into (unconvincing) spasms, then they will create a scary atmosphere. All it does is pull you out of the film.

Finally, the plot is completely stupid (even by horror standards), introducing a Nazi sub- plot (There is definitely a 'La Haine' type plot element, with Paris rioters coming into contact with neo-Nazis, hmm), and making no attempt at all to explain anything.

If you want to watch a film where by the end you feel like you have been shouted at and smacked around the face with a packet of Bernard Mathews gammon for 10 hours, then watch this film. Otherwise avoid like the bubonic plague.

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103 out of 188 people found the following review useful:

A shocking experience

Author: javicozar from Spain
7 November 2007

I saw this movie at Sitges International Film Festival on October, 2007, and I am still trying to survive to the shock. I've seen lots of gore movies as I am a big fan of these kind of genre in cinemas, but I hardly remember something so cruel, so brutal, so anti-human, so dirty and so extreme. It's one of those movies that you must not see with your girlfriend, otherwise you're exposed to have a deep argument about your film tastes. So you are on your own, if you have the chance to take a glimpse to this movie, don't hesitate. It's, by far, one of the most thrilling experiences in the land of gore movies for about the last 10 years.

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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Sadly typical.

Author: Jacques98 from United States
2 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maybe I need to watch it a second time. Just being honest, the first time I saw it I actually fell asleep because it was so typical. I watched the last hour I had left this morning, and I still wasn't impressed. I think reading the review on helped me enjoy it a bit more, but . . .

Things you need to know about this film that no one is mentioning:

- It takes a lot of time to start up. There is a lot of action in this boring time, but none of it is extremely well done, so you'll most likely be bored in the first hour.

- The plot itself is nothing special. It IS, not arguably, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a Nazi instead of a wannabe cop gone over the edge. Leatherface is replaced by a guy with his exact same build, but no chainsaw or skin disease. The family table scenes are copy/pasted into this movie in nearly the same exact form. Rip off or inspiration? You decide, but you can't deny the liberties the director took to use the same exact story as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

- The way it's shot is a copy/paste of the Saw franchise, minus the clock-tick camera scenes. The way it's cut, combined, edited, and shot originally are all heavily influenced if not directly ripped-off of Saw. Once again, decide for yourself which it is.

- Unlike the poster tries to suggest, this is no epic. It's more or less a "went to a hotel with the family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, they put me in a Saw II-like maze, and I got out like every typical horror movie ever". Nothing more, nothing less.

- It is NOT insanely violent. If you've seen Saw III, this is tame. Nor does it have the brutality of Saw II. The gore is very generic, almost boring, and certainly predicable in every way. It remained me of an edited cut of The Hills Have Eyes minus the mutants and minus the more extreme moments. Do not expect a gore-fest. If you do, you'll be disappointed. Some gore scenes are even cut-off scenes.

My opinion: This film was way too typical. You've seen the formula done a hundred times. The reason I enjoyed it was because it was very well done, and it was pretty intelligent. I was disappointed with the lack of gore, but it wasn't too bad. If I hadn't seen the movies it took everything from, I would have really loved it. But I have, and it was just too typical. The action scenes with the guns were very cool and probably the most memorable parts of the movie. Some of the acting was dead-on-amazing, while others—the little girl, the fat guy—were just lame. The only thing that sold me was the twisted moral about wishing your child was dead before it was born into a world like this.

Worth a buy? Not really. Worth a rental? Hardcore, yes! Just don't go into it with the expectations that a perfect review suggests you have. Maybe it does earn a perfect review for the moral, or maybe it deserves a low one for the clichés. I don't know. Decide for yourself. Do not skip a viewing of this movie in some way.


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40 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Above average horror/slasher antics

Author: slake09 from Silver Lake, Ohio, USA
3 May 2008

If you like the slasher genre, specifically the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you'll like this. This film has the same atmosphere of dread, of bad things about to happen, of bad people on the way to do bad stuff. It takes a lot longer to get to the gory part, so don't be discouraged by the first 45 minutes or so of drama. Once the killing, maiming and screaming start they don't let up.

I found it to be considerably bloodier than Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with about the same amount of suspense. There are a couple of moments when you're hoping the characters aren't really going to do what you just know they are going to do: those "ouch!" moments right before the bloodshed.

If you're tired of the slasher satire films and ready to get back to some old fashioned blood and gore, this one is for you.

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16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Slick Mayhem

Author: seany_c from United Kingdom
3 January 2011

Frontier(s) is a fast-paced, very violent thrill-ride from Xavier Gens. While it won't be everyone's taste, for fans of full-on gruesome action it's a must. It's basically a very decent version of 'Hostel' with a couple of thugs on the run from riot-torn Paris who seek refuge at a seedy hotel, unbeknownst what lies ahead. It's not a great film by any means but it is a thrilling one. The lead actress did a great job, but there's also good stuff the actor who played Farid and the actor who played the meathead lunatic. Its style is slick, just what I enjoy watching. Fans of the genre will know what to expect, others may not. But I recommend 'Frontier(s) for a mind-f*ck of a night. ***/*****

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The butcher, the bone-breaker, the carnal sick-maker.

Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
26 February 2011

So it's another in the line of impressively ultra-violent French movies we have been seeing since the turn of the 21st century but, despite the fact that many other horror fans view this as one of the better examples, I have to say that I was left cold.

Frontier(s) is all about a bunch of young people fleeing a riotous Paris and the inn they end up staying at, a place full of nasty people who want to do nasty things to them. And, essentially, that's about it. Oh, one of the potential victims is a pregnant woman so we can at least care for the baby inside her even if her character is otherwise as blank as all the rest.

Writer-director Xavier Gens seems to have wanted to make a new, French version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and he's succeeded, in some respects. The violence, when it begins, is pretty constant and nasty and the horrid characters populating the movie are quirky enough to be memorable.

But what Gens has missed is something intangible and yet essential. Things quickly become so violent and insanely gritty that the whole thing becomes boring. Perhaps it's how little emotional investment we have in the potential victims or perhaps it's because Gens starts with some harsh violence and tries to maintain that level all the way through, rather than building up to a brutal climax (although there are certainly one or two impressive death scenes in the last reel), or perhaps the pacing is a bit off.

This will certainly please fans of the more extreme, violent horrors we have been seeing from our European friends of late but I don't think it has the intelligence of Martyrs (even though I ended up disliking the second half of that movie immensely I at least admire it's ideas), the quick and effective character empathy of Inside or just the absolutely over the top carnage of Le Horde. And Switchblade Romance AKA Haute Tension still sits atop this particular pile for me so bear that in mind when you consider my opinion on this one, for better or worse.

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21 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A Good Variation of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hill Have Eyes"

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
30 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Paris, during the riots due to the election of a conservative candidate to the presidency of France, the Muslin small thieves teenagers from the periphery Alex (Aurélien Wiik), Tom (David Saracino), Farid (Chems Dahmani), the pregnant Yasmine (Karina Testa) and her brother Sami (Adel Bencherif) plan to run away from Paris to Amsterdam with a bag full of robbed money. However, Sami is shot and the group split, with Alex and Yasmine going to the emergency of a hospital with Sami while Tom and Farid heads to the border with the money. Tom and Farid decide to stop in a bed and breakfast nearby the frontier, and are hosted by Gilberte (Estelle Lefébure) and Klaudia (Amélie Daure) that offer free room and sex to the newcomers. They call Alex and Yasmine that are fleeing from Paris to join them in the inn, but sooner they discover that their hosts are sadistic cannibals of a Nazi family leaded by the deranged patriarch and former SS officer Le Von Geisler (Jean-Pierre Jorris).

"Frontière(s)" is another brutal French horror movie and a good variation of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Hill Have Eyes". As a fan of horror movies, I note that French directors are making extremely violent and gore movies, like "Haute Tension" and "À l'Intérieur" that I have recently seen. "Frontière(s)" presents the storyline that everybody knows, but associated to a good screenplay with many cruelties and tortures, great acting and realistic special effects and make-up. I believe that fans of the genre will not be disappointed with this film. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Fronteira" ("The Border")

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51 out of 95 people found the following review useful:

Effective flick especially if you know about recent riots in France

Author: cinaphile from Detroit
23 April 2008

It's not often you need an overview of recent European history to fully enjoy a horror movie. But Frontier(s) is a special case. All the negative commentary I've read seems to come from the hype surrounding this film. Is Frontier(s) blood-soaked and violent? Sure is! Is it the bloodiest, most repulsively gory film ever? No. I also agree that the basic plot doesn't really venture too far off the path of Hostel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Motel Hell for that matter. But what some people seem to be missing is socio-political climate of France in the last few years. Well, here's where a short French history lesson may come in handy. In October and November of 2005 there were a series of large-scale riots in France that stemmed from the death of two teenagers who lived in a low-income suburb of Paris. They were suspected of a break-in at a construction site and being chased by police. When they tried to hide in a power substation they were electrocuted. The civil unrest that broke out was fueled by unemployment, religious tensions, racial inequality and a growing fear of police harassment. A little over two years later more riots broke out when two more teenagers died after a police car collided with their stolen motorbike. These recent events give Frontier(s) a healthy dose of sub-text as well as a realistic backdrop for its extreme violence. Fear and intolerance are now right beside baguettes and berets as France's main cultural identity. The France seen in Frontier(s) isn't the glossed up version most of us have dreamily romanticized. There are no midnight walks on the Seine. No sipping of espresso at a sidewalk café with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. No scenic tours of the Louvre or the Arch de Triomphe. Writer/director Xavier Gens shows a modern day France that's dark, violent and in anarchy. This is the France that in 2004 banned the wearing of khimars (headscarves) by Muslim girls at school and in 2007 elected Nicolas Sarkozy — a right-wing conservative — as president. So it should be no surprise that Gens' choice of a Nazi family as the bad guys works as a not so subtle metaphor for the French Government. So, for what it's worth, anyone too myopic to know something about France's current environment probably just won't get what Gens is saying in this film.

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32 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

French Kiss .... The Extreme Kind!

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
8 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The French seemingly can't be beat when it comes to visceral, savage and in-your-face sadistic survival/torture porn flicks lately. Since "High Tension" skyrocketed the popularity of the horror genre in 2003, this nation already delivered a couple of ultimately brutal movies that – without the slightest form of exaggeration – make U.S. films "Saw" and "Hostel" look like soft and sentimental Disney cartoons. The more or less simultaneously released "à l'intérieur" (a.k.a. Inside) thus far remains the absolute highlight of shocking controversy, but this "Frontière(s) surely ain't no Saturday afternoon picnic, neither. The rudimentary concept is a variation on the infamous mid-70's sub genre of 'Rednecksploitation'. These films revolved on maniacal hillbillies terrorizing and butchering big city folks in rural areas far away from the civilized world and usually strictly for their own sheer entertainment. Considering the high population density all across the European continent, it would be pretty ridiculous to introduce unworldly rednecks and so Xavier Gens' script cleverly replaces them with extremist cartels. There are several of those around here, including fanatic minions of Hitler's Nazi principles. The city of Paris is in complete chaos following the announcement of the election results, and a bunch of young thugs grabs this opportunity to commit a bank robbery and flee towards the French-Luxembourgian border. They arrive in a place far worse than the Parisian suburbs when checking into a hotel run by a deeply deranged family of Nazis. The family, led by an elderly patriarch who easily could have been one of Hitler's closest drinking buddies, need the girl for breeding reasons and subject the men to various games of sickening torture.

Admittedly "Frontière(s)" sounds like a compilation of gratuitous gore and perverted characters, but writer/director Xavier Gens definitely had some more admirable ambitions. Extreme right-wing political parties unstoppably march forward in pretty much each European country (in fact, their victory triggered the whole chain of events here), and Gens actually attempts to illustrate – albeit quite vigorously – what the consequences would be if they regain power one day. Anyway, you obviously shouldn't watch this movie for its valuable morality lesson, but rather because it vividly depicts hardcore violence and uncompromising cruelty. Unless you have nerves of steel and a properly insulated stomach, you might want to consider turning your head away from the screen most of the time. There's a truly nauseating massacre involving a mechanical band saw, various close range shotgun killings, slit throats, stabbed chest and one excruciatingly uncomfortable moment featuring pliers and someone's Achilles tendon. Yikes! Vile, revolting and totally unnecessary? Perhaps … but definitely fascinating to behold. "Frontière(s)" suffers a bit from messy cinematography and limited imagery, but at the same time you could claim this also increases the primitive and savage atmosphere Gens intended to reflect. The film is definitely a bit too long for its own good (110 minutes of running time for a sickie film?) and some of the redundant sub plots and character drawings during the first half hour could easily have been cut. The make-up effects are simply great and Xavier Gens' surefooted directing skills already bought him a one-way ticket to a promising career in Hollywood.

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