|Directed by:||Xavier Gens|
|Written by:||Xavier Gens|
|Cast:||Karina Testa, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefebure, Aurelien Wiik|
|Studio:||After Dark Films|
|Genre:||Crime, Horror, Thriller|
As a sensationalistic event of violence, Xavier Gens' grisly Frontiere(s) is all device and not much essence. As a device, it chokes, lacerates, heaves, and suffers the entire revolting disaster over with a vicious excitement. People are boiled and sliced like beef tenderloin, condensed to gooey fat and muscle and, for grins and the hell of it, bled like a slaughterhouse cow while hanging upturned, still alive. Nauseating as it all is, writer-director Gens has a conundrum: a lack of ability to relinquish the specter of that all-too-proverbial Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Four Muslim bandits escape a rebellion-ravaged Paris with enough loot to retreat to a Riviera vacation property, abandoning a fatally wounded companion because of some eager cops. The companion's incidentally the brother of the gang leader's pregnant girlfriend, Yasmine (scenery-masticating uber-ham Karina Testa, whose version of trembling with terror translates into a lugubrious and repetitive Harlem Shuffle) which brings about a dreadfully unwelcoming excursion out to the countryside. None of this turns out to matter one ioda after two of the thieves come across a hostel run by a family of uncivilized pig farmers.
As one might guess, hell detonates with heaps of cherry vinaigrette. The entire disaster gets restlessly berserk nevertheless reference must be made of the head of the pig farming family, a crusty old Nazi who imagines generating his own Aryan race. He takes Yasmine as a brood mare in spite of her brown hair. In model procedure, it's Yasmine's responsibility to make her own way out of the carnage.
As a blood-and-guts fête, this MPAA-slammed entry in the New French Extremity movement is a valid monster. Gens revels in prolonging a scene where Yasmine watches substantial chunks of her friend getting piled onto the plates of the cannibalistic (yeah that too) farmers and then sees it made quick work of as the patriarch passes Yasmine off to his favorite son and successor of his new Reich. The incest and domestic strains are seasoning for what is presumably a 90-minute gastric regurgitation, though the ultimate mêlée between Yasmine and her tormentors has a sort of mud-congested refinement.
All that being said, and as much as I advocate the conquest of global cultural and economic integration to some extent, give the French a tang of neo-fascism, race riots, and paramilitary onslaughts, and they hunt for relief in the American cinema's preferred modern amusement, energetically over-directed torture porn. Coming after the turbulent myocardial springs of High Tension, Calvaire, and Pascal Lugier's warped excursion into shame, vengeance and evil Martyrs, Gens' gruesome debut takes the most frankly opinionated direction yet, though as sheer spatter, a sensationalist molotov of searing condensation, gashed tendons, table saw and bursting heads, it's as unremitting as it is odious, ham-fistedly directed, and imitative of the most routine slosh in the last twenty years of American horror cinema.
This transgressive film is basically a transient whim and nothing more. Unbending in composition and predictable in most of its surprisingly conventional characteristics, Gens seemingly aspires to transcend the splatter film with sociopolitical content but compromises on any remote intelligence in any of the characters, allows them to make the same mistakes as the slutty teenage morons in the Jason, Michael and Leatherface schticks, and is content to barter panache for gloss and frivolous flickers. Frontier(s), with undemanding allusions to Franco-Muslim affairs and post-Sarkozy pandemonium, has neither the substance nor the creativity to have a lasting impact past its unusual slaying methods. Still, this is not to say that watching a person literally liquefy is or will ever not be disturbing.