Frontier(s) [Limited Edition] (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A woman from the low-income Paris suburbs during riots goes on the run from the police and ends up in a deadly and violent battle against neo-Nazi cannibals in this New French Extremity film from 2007.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Frontier(s) is a 2007 New French Extremity film from writer/director Xavier Gens. With its wall-to-wall visceral violence, there is enough here for slasher fans and fans of films such as The Descent, Hostel, and Saw to really enjoy, only with more social commentary that is still relevant to today.

As the votes come in in the latest elections, it is apparent that a far-right fascist is going to come into power in France. The results of the election are mass riots in the banlieues of Paris, where mostly the poor and immigrants of color live. After taking part in the chaos, robbing stores and attacking some police, Yasmine (Karina Testa) and her ex-boyfriend try to escape the law by heading out to the countryside and hiding out in a sprawling, out-of-the-way inn run by an eccentric family who turn out to be cannibalistic neo-Nazis. Their leader wants to use Yasmine to help build the new generation of the family, despite her blood not being ‘pure.’ She ends up locked in a bloody battle for her life, with none but one unlikely ally she finds among the group.

Watching this film today it is not difficult to compare it to the fire-fueled riots that have been taking place across France for several months, first in response to Emmanuel Macron’s authoritarian bypassing of the country’s legislature to raise the retirement age for pensions, and then in response to police killing an unarmed teenager of Algerian descent from the banlieues. With the center-Left and center-Right in France both lurching more to the Right and far Right politicians like Marine Le Pen growing in stature, the film’s prescience almost seems like prediction rather than fiction.

That is the socio-political undercurrent of what is a gruesome, brutally visceral action-horror film that reconstructs the similar themes of the classic slasher The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and updates it for contemporary sensibilities and issues. TCM is a children’s story in comparison to Frontier(s) as far as the amount of and overtness of the violence. This film also never lets up on its pace and legitimate thrills, without resorting to cheap jump scares. This is a film populated by grounded, human horrors, the sort we can believe would happen – because many of these things have happened in real life.

  • Maud Forget and Karina Testa in Frontier(s) (2007)
  • Maud Forget in Frontier(s) (2007)
  • Aurélien Wiik in Frontier(s) (2007)
  • Karina Testa in Frontier(s) (2007)
  • Estelle Lefébure and Amélie Daure in Frontier(s) (2007)
  • Frontier(s) [Limited Edition] (Second Sight Films)
  • Frontier(s) [Limited Edition] (Second Sight Films)

The Video

I cannot find any information about the original source for Frontier(s) outside of IMDb, which lists this as being originally shot on Super 35 film stock. If it was shot on such, either it was transferred to a video source or had a video camera effect added to it in post-processing, because it shows the anomalies and issues concerning that format. Second Sight does their best with this, presenting a 2.35:1 AVC 1080p encodement on Blu-ray that gets out of the way and has a decent amount of detail, deep reds that present the blood visual effects believably, but also the noise, aliasing, and scanlines from the source. This is not a great looking film, but it is what it is.

The Audio

The French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio mix is a good one, with lots of atmospherics, deep low frequencies, and some good solid effects in the surrounds.

The Supplements

Second Sight has a limited edition release for this that meets the high standards they have set for these releases for packaging, supplements, and collectible items. Of course, we get an audio commentary worth listening to and a number of featurettes.

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
  • Six collectors’ art cards

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Zoë Rose Smith and Kelly Gardner
  • Reinventing the Extreme: An Interview with Director Xavier Gens (1080p; 00:24:05)
  • Going Method: An Interview with Actor Karina Testa (1080p; 00:14:00)
  • A Light in the Dark: An Interview with Actor Maud Forget (1080p; 00:12:37)
  • Lights, Camera…Fear: An Interview with Cinematographer Laurent Barès (1080p; 00:24:11)
  • Sounds of Violence: An Interview with Composer Jean-Piere Taïeb (1080p; 00:13:41)
  • The Making of Frontier(s) (1080i; 00:27:09)
  • Fotografik Shot Film (1080p; 00:31:38)
  • Deleted Scenes (1080p; 00:07:31)
  • Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Xavier Gens and Karina Testa (1080p; 00:07:31)
  • Xavier Gens High School Trailers (1080i; 00:04:32)
  • Frontier(s) Trailers (1080p; 00:05:25)
  • Storyboard Comparisons (1080p; 00:08:59)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Photos with Commentary by Xavier Gens and Karina Testa (1080p; 00:13:28)

The Final Assessment

A stunning, blood-drenched horror and that never lets up on the pacing, violence, and undercurrent of social commentary, Frontier(s) may look gritty by design, but it makes for an excellent package thanks to Second Sight Films.


Frontier(s) [Limited Edition] is out on Blu-ray in the UK July 24, 2023, from Second Sight Films.


  • Rating Certificate: UK:18 | US:NC-17
  • Studios & Distributors: Cartel Productions | BR Films | EuropaCorp | Pacific Films | Chemin Vert | World Wonder Ring Stardom | Second Sight Films
  • Director: Xavier Gens
  • Written By: Xavier Gens
  • Run Time: 108 Mins.
  • Street Date: 24 July 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: French DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: French DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English
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A woman from the low-income Paris suburbs during riots goes on the run from the police and ends up in a deadly and violent battle against neo-Nazi cannibals in this New French Extremity film from 2007. Frontier(s) [Limited Edition] (Blu-ray Review)