The French Extremity: Ten Films to Seek Out
The French Extremity movement, a fairly recent stylish sub-genre that pushes envelopes further than perhaps some might have wished to have gone, arose around the same time as when we in America were getting a glut of “torture porn” films, Paranormal clones, and remakes or reboots of some of our most beloved films.
While we were getting those, The French Extremity was in full swing. What we couldn’t get here, we could get from this movement, and I, for one, at that time was searching deeply for anything that would push those envelopes. If you are in the mood for something extreme, then keep on reading because I have chosen ten films from this movement that I recommend you check out if you haven’t already; and if you have, why not give them another viewing?
Starring: Aurelien Wiik, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefebure, Karina Testa, David Saracino, Chems Dahmani, and Maud Forget.
Directed By: Xavier Gens
Frontier(s) tells the story of a group of thieves who are on the run during the aftershocks of a political election in Paris. I have found that this film for the most part is quite divisive among genre fans; I have met just as many people who hate this film as those that love it. What I find interesting is that when you ask them why they feel the way that they do about it, they both pretty much have the same answer: It is incredibly violent! If you are in the mood for some torture porn with your dose of French cinema, then we may have found the film for you. I absolutely love this film and fall into the “love it” camp for the visceral violence that it depicts. This film truly is a shocking experience if you have not seen anything like it before, but for the bulk of us I feel like it is safe to assume that we are fairly initiated in the modern sense that we need more gore because we are just too desensitized to it all. However, even though there are only so many times that we can see the same things over and over, I feel like this film is the exception to that. If you have any interest at all in seeing Frontier(s), do not hesitate any longer!
Haute Tension (2003)
Starring: Cecile De France, Maiwenn, Phillippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun, Oana Pellea, Marco Claudiu Pascu, Jen-Claude de Goros, and Bogdan Uritescu.
Directed By: Alexandre Aja
Haute Tension tells the story of two friends, Alex and Marie, who are on their way to stay at Alex’s parents’ house for the weekend to study. On the night that they arrive, however, a serial killer attacks the family and takes Alex with him. The film then follows Marie as she takes chase and tries to save her friend. All in all this film is a great foreign slasher flick but the ending is a bit off and it feels like it was just thrown on as a way to try to trick the audience. I feel like it is important to mention that a lot of people feel as though the filmmakers attached the ending that they did to deter any legal action due to immense similarities between this film and a novel by best-selling author Dean Koontz entitled Intensity. I cannot say for sure yet my personal opinion as a whole, but I am currently reading Intensity, and the similarities are definitely there. If you have seen the film, re-watch it and then read this novel and you can make up your mind as to where your opinion will lay. Haute Tension, though, is still a highly entertaining film and is full of nasty, violent bits that will keep your bloodlust satiated- strongly recommended!
Starring: Alysson Paradis, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Claude Lule, Dominique Frot, Nathalie Roussel, Francois-Regis Marchasson, and Beatrice Dalle.
Directed By: Alexandre Bustillo, and Julien Maury
Inside is a thoroughly loved film, and I am quite sure that many, if not all, of you have seen this gem! For those of you who haven’t, though, the film is centered around a pregnant woman who recently became a widow as she struggles against a strange woman who is desperately trying to get her unborn baby. It is intense and definitely deserves to be put on this list! This film, much like so many other greats, succeeds in my opinion on the simplicity of the premise- a pregnant woman is trapped in her own home with a strange woman who wants her baby. The film is not over-complicated and doesn’t drag on and on. It gets to point, and when it goes, it goes! This film is a must-see, not just for foreign horror fans, but for film fans altogether!