Saturday, October 10, 2015

Horrors of October - Frontier(s)

Frontier(s) (2007)

As their nation is plagued by unpopular election results and numerous rioting, a group of friends try to use the chaos as a cover for a robbery. Things naturally go awry and further spiral out of control when they hide out at a hostel in the countryside. FRONTIER(S) is pretty much France's version of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, retaining some of the same beats and plot points of the seminal horror film but changing out the social and political metaphors and upping the gore factor to a severe degree. Without giving out too much away, the movie is writer-director Xavier Dens' critique of his country's racial issues and how those in or coming to power are regressing to ideals that are along the same line of thinking of a certain European movement. The genetic identity of the protagonists was clearly though out in order to generate the main conflict of the feature and enforce the harsh theming and cruel violence. Dens' dark vision was so uncompromising that not only did the MPAA slap it with a NC-17 rating but the film had to be removed out of After Dark's "8 Films to Die For" line-up, thus defanging the quality and name value of the so-called annual festival to real horror. Is the movie that extreme? Yes, but it's right above Eli Roth's level in terms of on-screen depravity; a good chunk of the brutality is actually only inferred or hidden from sight. Though I do love its homaging to Tobe Hopper's legendary work and its audacity to crush the viewer's soul, the film does suffer from many issues. The liberal use of shaky camera is very aggravating, the main characters' sheer French behavior in the beginning stages can cause you to utterly hate them, and it never seems to explain why some sections take place in a perfectly preserved and updated underground mine. If you want to go extreme this season, FRONTIER(S) is a quality choice.


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