Frontière(s)

Movies, Horror
2 out of 5 stars
Writer-director Xavier Gens’ confused slice of Gallic ‘survival horror’ is intense and technically impressive, but politically naive. It piles on the sadistic cruelty and gore, creating a stomach-churning air of dread that ‘Hostel’ fans may relish.

References to the election of a right-wing government hint at a deeper allegory, but serve as little more than an opportunistic backdrop. On the run from Paris’s riot-torn suburbs, reluctant robber Yasmine (Karina Testa) and three male accomplices hole up near the border and enter motel hell. The owners are a neo-Nazi pater familias and his in-bred cannibal family, who serve their captives human flesh, then treat them like pigs. One victim is broiled alive in a steam oven; another’s Achilles tendons are snipped with rusty bolt-cutters.

Yasmine’s pregnancy temporarily saves her – the incestuous family’s bloodline needs renewing – but not for long. An indication of Gens’ lack of control over the material is his juxtaposition of an exploitation-style ‘girls-with-guns’ shoot-out with a distressing scene that echoes the imagery and distorted sound of Elem Klimov’s bleak 1985 war film, ‘Come and See’.

By: Nigel Floyd

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Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Xavier Beauvois
Screenwriter: Xavier Beauvois
Cast: Karina Testa
Aurélien Wiik
Patrick Ligardes