What exactly is the problem with polygamy? Obviously coercing young girls into being the seventh wife of a syphilitic octogenarian cult leader is a bad thing and anybody who does that should have Africanized bees injected into their scrotums. Coercing people into doing anything is bad. But three or more adults, voluntarily entering into a committed, multi-partner relationship? That’s like a Venn diagram of love and math is never wrong.
I always enjoyed that aspect of Big Love, the justification for having more than two parents in a family. Not the one involving Joseph Smith’s magic glasses and God telling Mormons that a man rules his family and should own a harem of baby machines to praise his name. That is fucking insane.
The better point is that two parents are barely enough to take care of a kid these days. There are roughly eleven million ways to fuck up a child without ever leaving your house. But most people can’t afford to stay at home. Child care is ridiculously expensive and all you get for half your annual salary is the right to spend all day praying a stranger isn’t dropping your baby on its head and feeding it Marlboros while you’re at work. In New York there are waiting lists for this privilege.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have wife or husband number two waiting in the wings to assume this responsibility? I’m barely man enough for one wife so I can safely say I’ll never want or need another one. But if that’s your thing, more power to you. Just so long as you’re not hurting anyone.
Because that’s where my open-mindedness ends. If your marital routine is weird and unusual to me, it’s still none of my damn business. If, on the other hand, it involves slaughtering travelers and eating them, that’s not cool. I would support legislation to that effect.
The story: Vive la France! Vive la revolution! A bunch of extreme right wingers have been elected and Paris is losing its shit. I don’t even think they’ve been elected yet. They just made it past the first round of cuts on the path toward parliament or the salon de la guerre or whatever the fuck is in charge of France. Apparently Frenchies will riot at the drop of a hat. And not just some weak-tea Occupy Champs-Élysées. We’re talking molotov cocktails and shooting cops and sodomizing crossing guards with baguettes. I made that last one up but still, HARDCORE SHIT.
Ever the opportunists, young Yasmine and her best punker pals decide this is a good opportunity to steal a bunch of cash. Nothing says “I disagree with your politics” like armed robbery. They escape the police but not before Yasmine’s brother is fatally wounded. The rest of these lovable scamps split up and agree to meet in a rural area outside town – les Frontiers, n’est pas? They pick the wrong fucking motel.
Biggest letdown: Apart from the mega violent Bastille Day robbery stuff, this movie follows pretty much the entire plot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What’s weirder, it actually seems to more closely resemble the completely superfluous 2003 remake.
In an effort to outdo the movie it’s shamelessly plagiarizing, instead of just plain cannibals, Frontiers makes them NAZI cannibals. Like if they were just planning to eat Yasmine and company it wouldn’t be so bad. But toss in some eugenics and suddenly the nightmare is real. I guess the message here is, I don’t know, be grateful your ultra conservative elected officials aren’t inbred cannibal Nazis? Fair enough.
Why you should watch: Despite a shaky set up and a less than original premise, Frontiers gets mighty disturbing in a hurry. It’s interesting that these youngsters are criminals and at least some of them are complete asshats who deserve to die, yet none of that matters when their misdeeds are compared to those of their monstrous hosts. For what it’s worth, after initially keeping things more or less antiseptic for the first forty minutes or so, the second half turns rather quickly into a bloodbath of almost Hatchet proportions.
Many of them are clichés but I still got a kick out of some of the more twisted miscreants, like the grandmother who can’t keep her people soup from pouring out the trach in her throat (pretty sure tracheal tubes don’t work that way but what do I know) and the flighty hunchback who doesn’t think skewering Yasmine’s friends should be any impediment to them becoming BFFs. Did I mention that Yasmine is pregnant the whole time this is happening? Yich.
Memorable Moment: Of all the things that scare me – ghosts and ventriloquist dummies being chief among them – nothing is worse than seeing someone get stuck in a confined space. The Descent is probably the most horrifying movie I’ve ever seen for this reason. In Frontiers, two characters find themselves in a dead-end cave after momentarily eluding their captors. They can’t go back to the entrance but they find a two-foot hole in the wall leading up. If that had been me I would have cut my own head off with safety scissors before attempting that route. The punks are much braver, pushing themselves into the opening with nothing but a Zippo and a camera’s LCD screen to light their way. Soon the tunnel starts to narrow, at which point my nuts shot up into my stomach and I dug my fingernails into my scalp until I drew blood. I’m not sure which position is worse: the guy in front who can’t move, or the guy in the rear, who could presumably head back down, except when he looks behind him…OMIGOD WHAT IS THAT?
Choice quote: “Garbage can. Spirit is a bone.” I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the company providing the subtitles needs a new dictionary.