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Frontier(s) – Blu-ray Review

3 min read

Second Sight

When you mention French cinema to most, they probably picture those arty farty dramas where everyone has cropped haircuts and stares wistfully into the middle distance as they contemplate… something. Less well known perhaps is the trend of exploitation cinema. Zombies, torture, flaying, all that fun stuff that those of us with less refined tastes love sinking our teeth into. Frontier(s) is most certainly part of the latter trend. Despite the short haircuts, there is nothing wistful here.

We meet a group of youths trying to escape the suburbs of Paris during a riot triggered by the increase of right wing sympathy during a presidential election. Yasmine (Karina Testa) is in the early stages of an unwanted pregnancy, her brother has been shot by riot police and her estranged boyfriend seems to have little interest in anyone beyond himself.

Despite their indifference to each other, the four remaining gang members make their way to Holland via a remote motel. The two first to arrive are lured by the attractive women who seem to run it, getting pulled into a group sex situation despite one of their protestations of having a girlfriend. They neglect to notice the eagle and swastika tattoo on the back of one of their paramours.

Second Sight

Things turn gnarly pretty quickly, with them cycling through situations taken from The Descent, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Green Room, before ending up trapped in the mines under the motel. That’s when it gets really nasty.

When our final girl and her sort of boyfriend arrive, things are immediately amiss, and with the introduction of this unpleasant family’s patriarch, the situation goes from bad to bloody at speed.

Unfortunately, Frontier(s) never manages to reach the heights of any of the films it apes. The gore is extreme but nothing about the plot really seems to add up. The Nazi occupation with purity makes no sense combined with cannibalisation and re-production with people they see as impure. The literal approach to the conflict between left and right ideologies is just that, literal and one dimensional. And despite Frontier(s) attempts to anchor itself in political conflict, the bookended references to the riots never seem to really connect with the main body of the film. Worst of all perhaps, the characters aren’t interesting or likeable, once again falling into the same trap the rest of the writing does. Being one dimensional.

Frontier(s) is unfortunately a bit of a miss in terms of the usual standard of releases from Second Sight. Despite their as per usual generous inclusion of bonus features, the interviews and making-of documentary mostly make you wonder if the film-makers are talking about the film you just saw… because really, there isn’t that much to say.

Special Features 

  • Audio Commentary with Zoë Rose Smith and Kelly Gredner
  • Reinventing the Extreme: a new interview with Director Xavier Gens
  • Going Method: a new interview with Actor Karina Testa
  • A Light in the Dark: a new interview with Actor Maud Forget
  • Lights, Camera… Fear: a new interview with Cinematographer Laurent Barès
  • Sounds of Violence: a new interview with Composer Jean-Piere Taïeb
  • The Making of Frontier(s)
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Xavier Gens and Karina Testa
  • Behind-the-Scenes Photos with commentary by Xavier Gens and Karina Testa
  • Storyboard Comparisons
  • Fotografik Short Film
  • Xavier Gens Highschool Trailers
  • Trailers

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by James Neal
  • 70  page  book with new essays by ​​Dr Sarah Cleary, Mark H Harris, Carolyn Mauricette and Alexandra West
  • 6 collectors’ art cards

Frontier(s) is released on Limited Edition Blu-ray from Second Sight on 24th July.

Second Sight