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Blu-ray Review

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Starring: Karina Testa, Aurélien Wiik, Samuel Le Bihan and Estelle Lefébure
Distributor: Second Sight Films

2NDBR4186 / 2NDBR4195

Certificate: 18
Release Date: 24 July 2023

Second Sight Films releases the 2007 debut film from French director Xavier Gens on Standard and Special Edition Blu-ray sets. Frontier(s) is a brutal horror survivalist thriller with extreme political undercurrents. The Special Edition incorporates a rigid slipcase with new artwork by James Neal, a 70-page book featuring new essays by Dr Sarah Cleary, Mark H Harris, Carolyn Mauricette and Alexandra West, and six collectors’ art cards. There is a plethora of disc extras on both versions, including Deleted Scenes, Behind-the-Scenes Photos, the Making of Frontier(s), Storyboard Comparisons, the Short Film: Fotogrifik, an Audio Commentary with Zoe Rose Smith and Kelly Gredner, and five separate Interviews – including director, composer, cinematographer, and actors Karina Testa and Maud Forget.

An extreme right-wing party has come to power into Paris, sparking protests and fully-fledged riots. Amidst the violence, fire, and destruction a group of young adults decide to rob a number of establishments. However, there are complications and a tragedy. With the police on their trail, the last four are obliged to split-up into couples and flee the city. When they decide to meet-up and spend the night in a remote countryside guesthouse owned by the Von Geislers, the debauched and brutish inhabitants are soon discovered to be neo-Nazis. Nothing will prevent them from extending their new Aryan race and Yasmine, one of the new arrivals, looks to becomes key in their creation of a new bloodline. With no evidence of morals, resistance is met with instant violence and torture… And just who are the creatures underground?

This is one of those realistic films which seems to negotiate its way through connecting genres. The first impression is that the key characters are violent protestors in the Paris riots, before it’s suddenly revealed they have a bag full of money and have used the distraction to steal from unknown shops. Then there is the inevitable fall-out and one of them dying. The entire direction of the movie changes abruptly the moment they stop for overnight accommodation at a remote farmhouse. It then becomes a survivalist extreme horror. The men there are into extreme torture and slaughter, the women are violent sexual predators, but the head of the family almost makes them seem like kittens in comparison.

Frontier(s) is an ultimate example of the ‘final girl’ scenario. Seldom has a character been obliged to endure so much in order to fight for survival. It will please the gorefest viewers, but it is all conducive to the plot, which certainly has plenty going on – including peripheral sub-plots like the young woman who has an affiliation to the creatures underground. There are set-pieces aplenty, and a overlying message that the real monsters in life are the human ones. Fans of Ordeal and Switchblade Romance will like this format.


Ty Power

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