Now that the weekend is over, it's time to dive head first into Frontière(s), the French gore flick from director Xavier Gens. This film is clearly not for everyone, due in no small part to the excessive amounts of gore and the similarities that can be drawn between it and many of the themes and aspects often associated with that most reviled of non-genres, torture porn. Part of this discussion will focus on why I think this association is unfounded and why you should, too, all while discussing key scenes in the film that make it stand out among the pack.
As usual, spoilers dwell within.
I think in a way much of my life for the film is shrouded in bias. I have an unabashed love for French horror, and save for Haute Tension, have been utterly impressed with blood-soaked thriller to come out of the country. In addition we're given a film that was deemed too violent and intense to be released alongside the other After Dark Horror Fest films, and as such loses much of the stigma associated with the utterly impressive films released under the banner of the popular horror company.
As I mentioned in the initial post, many detractors of the film consider it to be to akin to torture porn, as the film does manage to call to mind the reviled pseudo-sub genre. It is given no help in the matter by its obvious Hostel-influences, seen not only in the arrival of the two boys at a house populated by two women willing to sleep with them, but the unfortunate heel-snipping of one of the unfortunate Alex. Frontière(s), however, manages to employ an interesting, albeit slightly contrived, story with genuinely interesting and unique characters that possess more depth than anything Eli Roth could ever write.
One of the strongest aspects of the film is Maud Forget, who plays the young Eva, an adopted member of the Von Geisler family. One aspect of her role in the family is to essentially serve as nothing more than a machine to pump out new children in an effort to further the Von Geisler bloodline. Her children, unfortunately, were all born with severe birth defects, and are taken care of in an underground chamber. They're essentially sub-humanoid monsters, but that doesn't lessen Eva's love for them.
Pregnant with another child, she greets the chained up Yasmine the morning after a brutal beating. As she cuts Yasmine's hair (the elder Von Geisler is not fond of brunettes), she delivers a haunting monologue, revealing the circumstances of how she came to live with the Von Geislers and the utter naivete of her situation. This segues into an obvious homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, wherein Yasmine learns her ultimate fate: become the wife of Karl Von Geisler and introduce her unborn child as the newest member of the deranged family.
Finally, although the film can be seen merely as an exercise in violence, there is of course the underlying political subtext. At the beginning of the film the principle characters of the film are fleeing race riots caused by the far-right's victory in the recent elections. The irony in this is that the rioters end up right in the welcoming arms of Neo-nazi cannibals. While this is merely subtext that is typically glossed over, it provides a level of depth not often seen in films of its ilk.
So that's it. Thoughts? Elaboration? Let's get the discussion rolling!