Frontière(s) is the best horror film I’ve seen from the last decade. It’s been characterised as “torture porn” or a French ripoff of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and while neither description is completely inaccurate, they don’t capture the blistering intensity, the bone-shaking strength of the film.
Frontière(s) is set after the election of an unseen but fascistic new leader in France, and while its explicit political symbolism may not be cogent, the film shudders with impotent rage. The best horror taps into a vein of something real; here it’s a fear of a bleak, oppressive future. The plot points may be recycled, but their execution is uniquely powerful.
I have a pretty good tolerance for gore, but I was regularly cringing throughout the running time of this film – it was a visceral ordeal, leaving me drained. The violence here rarely feels superfluous. Instead, it’s giving a voice to something beyond words.
The film is relentless, with an all-encompassing atmosphere of dread throughout that it refuses to soften with humour or lightness. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel here, just pain and helplessness.
It’s a gruelling experience, matched by few films – recommended if you have a strong stomach.