ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Frontier(s) (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Xavier Gens

Starring:
Karina Testa/Yasmine
Patrick Ligardes/Karl
Estelle Lefébure/Gilberte
Jean-Pierre Jorris/Le Von Geisler
PLOT-CRUNCH
A group of French hoodlums get the f*ck out of Paris during a riot (sparked by a right wing election) and find refuge in some remote hostel ran by a family of murderous, Neo Nazi cannibals. Talk about bad luck man! Not just murderous cannibals but murderous Nazi cannibals! And I thought I couldn't catch a break!
THE LOWDOWN

Some lines should not be crossed...

I'll be honest with yall, I've been ducking FRONTIER(S) all year. Why? Because I heard it was a torture film and I am personally SERIOUSLY tired of the subgenre. Enough! Give me a ghost story or a monster movie already! But being that it’s the end of the year, I couldn't put my Top 10 Movies of 2008 together with a straight face without having seen this jack-hammer. So I pulled a FRONTIER(S) today and thank mighty Thor that I did because I freaking loved it!

FRONTIER(S) was another French ringer that went buck nuts on the extreme stuff with child like glee. Think THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE with French Politics undertone, graphic goods and lots of automatic weapons. Plot wise the flick was nothing original, I could pretty much second guess its every move. But it was a different story when it came to execution. FRONTIER(S) stroked me right in 5 key instances. First the flick's morbid coated visual style whooped me stupid; stylish, arresting in terms of fly shots with moody cinematography in its back=pack, this savage bitch looked good. Second of all, tension was in the house. Often enough these "gore shows" drop suspense in the name of solo Karo but not this mofo, it got its whore and ate her too.

Thirdly; the level of violence just kept topping itself much to the delight of the gore boner living in my ripped jeans. By the time I saw that dude do the table-saw-dance; I knew FRONTIER(S) had no problem going all the way and then some. I respected that. Fourthly, the powerful score by Jean-Pierre Taieb so hit the spot when it came to evoking emotion out of the imagery at hand. And finally; any film that decides to go HORROR but with machine guns in tow is all good in my book! Seeing hot cannibal babes opening fire in our heroine's way made for quite the turn on! Moreover, tossing mucho pow=pow in there made for a unique genre bending vibe in terms of the last act. Me likey a lot!

On the slim downside, as I already mentioned, FRONTIER(S) unoriginality somewhat played against it. Predictable was the word and that took away from it. If it had played against expectations more, my score would've gone higher. And what was up with that oddball grandma character and them freako kids being introduced and then done nothing with? I hate dangling ideas in films. And the same could be said about the NEO NAZI family not really being true to their bigot beliefs. If you're all about "pure blood", how the hell could you want an ethnic dame to father your future kids? The film did explain it with a throwaway line, but I just didn't buy it. Too convenient. Having the baddies stay true to themselves would have made them scarier and amplified the film's political subtext.

All in all though FRONTIER(S) proved once more that the French have something in their chinos that US horror is severely lacking now of late and that's a set of big bulldog balls. While American Horror is too busy focusing on opening weekends with its PG 13 drivel, French horror says f*ck you and goes for the jugular. AS IT SHOULD! You going to cross this border? I recommend ya do!
GORE
Wow! Where do I begin? Humans remains, hits on the head, a dude burned to death, another being sawed to splat, gun shot wounds, fingers blow away, a throat bit out, another slit and more! If you like red onscreen, you'll be well greased with this one!
ACTING
Karina Testa (Yasmine) was credible and intense in her role. Looked like it was a taxing part to play. Props! Patrick Ligardes (Karl) owned as the imposing and no bull second in command of the evil family. Estelle Lefébure (Gilberte) brought sexy, psycho menace to her role while Jean-Pierre Jorris (Le Von Geisler) creeped me the f*ck out as the warped patriarch. It should be said that all the kids that played the heroes and the peeps that tackled the villains were on the ball as to their roles.
T & A
Funnily enough, outside of a undergarment laced sex scene and a dame in wet undies/top – NATHING!
DIRECTING
This was Xavier Jens feature length directorial debut and I understand how it got Hollywood's attention. Visually remarkable, a sly way of capitalizing on his creepy settings, back-handing use of slow motion. a strong grasp on tension and some beautiful moments of horror/art made this one stand out.
SOUNDTRACK
The haunting and emotionally charged score by Jean-Pierre Taieb owned me!
BOTTOM LINE
FRONTIER(S) was yet another take no prisoners, don't push the envelope, BURN IT, French horror effort. The flick had me from the get-go and didn't let up till the bitter and grisly end. Sure, it was far from original as to its content, missed a couple of opportunities and did one miss-step as to its villains but none of them snags diluted this well acted/shot, grab ya by the throat and f*ck ya in the ear ride. You like it extreme? Bend this one over and teach her a lesson…old school, she'll thank ya after with a bloody sheets and an army of STDs.
BULL'S EYE
Xavier Gens was born on April 27 1975 (we share the same B-day) in Dunkerque, France.

Xavier Gens shot HITMAN as an R rated film. The Studio wanting a PG-13 brought in editor Nicolas De Toth to re-edit the movie for its release.

VISIT THE FRONTIER(S) SITE HERE

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10:51PM on 08/31/2009
A over the top, disturbing, violent movie in the vein of High Tension and Hostel. Not one of my favorite french horror movie I've seen, but definitely a ballsy one. I just felt like I've seen this before, but I still like what it brought to the plate and I recommend it.
A over the top, disturbing, violent movie in the vein of High Tension and Hostel. Not one of my favorite french horror movie I've seen, but definitely a ballsy one. I just felt like I've seen this before, but I still like what it brought to the plate and I recommend it.
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-1
4:59AM on 04/29/2009

zzzz

I do not like hardly any of these nu-horror flicks. Especially when they are desperately trying to be "IN YOUR FACE" with corny speed up/slow down choppy editing and endless scenes of people screaming while being tortured. See, its not disturbing, or even mildly engaging, I watched this movie at a friends house while downing some beers and eating some steak and found myself wandering room to room coming back to look at the widescreen every now and then and found the entire thing annoying. I
I do not like hardly any of these nu-horror flicks. Especially when they are desperately trying to be "IN YOUR FACE" with corny speed up/slow down choppy editing and endless scenes of people screaming while being tortured. See, its not disturbing, or even mildly engaging, I watched this movie at a friends house while downing some beers and eating some steak and found myself wandering room to room coming back to look at the widescreen every now and then and found the entire thing annoying. I think The Blob remake from 1988 was on another channel, I made it almost to the end of this but The Blob was calling me, far superior flick. I dunno, the bulk of these type of movies seem really pointless.
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8:33PM on 01/24/2009
Yeah I was avoiding it for a bit, but my reason was I watched all the other After Dark 2007 films and was not impressed with them at all, but this is definitely the best of the bunch! After being ticked off that it was using an overused plot, the film's fast pace in your faceness redeemed it for me! But still, I think nothing beats the first After Dark Horrorfest *sigh*
Yeah I was avoiding it for a bit, but my reason was I watched all the other After Dark 2007 films and was not impressed with them at all, but this is definitely the best of the bunch! After being ticked off that it was using an overused plot, the film's fast pace in your faceness redeemed it for me! But still, I think nothing beats the first After Dark Horrorfest *sigh*
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11:40PM on 12/29/2008

LOved this

I was wondering why the hell this was appearing now.
Glad to see you finally saw this beast.
I was wondering why the hell this was appearing now.
Glad to see you finally saw this beast.
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12:00PM on 12/29/2008

quite the ride.

So glad to see you review this, Arrow! After also hearing it was supposed to be a torture film around the After Dark mishandling, I dodged it for quite a while (I've refused to see the Hostels or any Saw past the first). A month ago or so I finally decided to ball up and watch it - quite glad I did. Like you said, takes a familiar concept and executes it in a fresh manner. The acting is all top notch, the visuals incredibly (almost too) slick, and with a surprising, pulsing score.

You
So glad to see you review this, Arrow! After also hearing it was supposed to be a torture film around the After Dark mishandling, I dodged it for quite a while (I've refused to see the Hostels or any Saw past the first). A month ago or so I finally decided to ball up and watch it - quite glad I did. Like you said, takes a familiar concept and executes it in a fresh manner. The acting is all top notch, the visuals incredibly (almost too) slick, and with a surprising, pulsing score.

You did miss a nipple, but it's not boner material anyway - the scene where she sits up in bed, clothes loose, facing the sun through the window - that scene was standout for me, and looked something like a Renaissance painting in motion - the crisp, brooding score behind it. Great film for that sort of 'yawn' subject matter.
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