Shudder just made their subscribers very happy with their addition of the Modern French Horror collection, which began streaming on March 1.
“New French Extremity” was first mentioned in the early 2000s by a critic named James Quandt, who intended it as a negative term, referring to a group of films that were transgressive in nature. The films featured extreme gore, rape, murder, and seemed intent on disturbing viewers.
For examples of subject matters covered in these films, let’s take a look at a few of the movies included in the new Shudder collection.
High Tension (Haute Tension) was written and directed by Alexandre Aja, who went on to work on the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, as well as Horns and Crawl. After a successful screening at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival, High Tension was acquired by Lions Gate, dubbed in English and edited in order avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating. Unfortunately, the box office totals were disappointing.
In High Tension, students Alex and Marie decide to take a road trip and stay the weekend with Alex’s parents. That night, after everyone is in bed, the doorbell rings, and Alex’s father makes the fatal mistake of answering it. What follows are a graphic, brutal series of murders, after which Alex is kidnapped.
Marie hides from the killer, and then sneaks into his vehicle in an effort to save her friend, thus beginning a terror-filled night for both girls. High Tension is aptly titled, and the violence is relentlessly brutal, with the payoff bringing an unexpected twist to the story.
Ceile de France puts her all into the demanding role of Marie, and she brings on the action and violence like a champ. Honestly, she is the number one reason High Tension rated so high with me personally.
Shudder has also added the original version of Inside (A l’interieur), which was released in 2007 before receiving a remake in 2016. What makes viewers especially squeamish about this one is that it includes an unborn baby in peril, even showing us the infant in utero as some of the trauma occurs.
Pregnant Sarah lost her husband in a car accident four months earlier, is depressed, and is scheduled to deliver on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, she is home alone when there is a knock at the door. Smart Sarah doesn’t open the door to the woman who claims her car broke down, can she please use Sarah’s phone? It turns out that the woman knows not only Sarah’s name, but that her husband is dead as well.
Eventually, of course, the woman gets inside the house, and her motives become very clear: she wants Sarah’s baby. She is even armed with scissors so she can remove the infant by force. It gets bloody and violent, readers. Inside is not for the faint of heart, or for anyone triggered by its intense themes.
Shudder was wise to add Inside as part of the Modern French Horror collection; it does tug at the heartstrings a bit.
Frontier(s) also made its debut in 2007, premiering at France’s Agde Film Festival. In the US, it received limited release in 2008 as part of the After Dark Horrorfest, hitting the screen with an NC-17 rating.
When political riots break out in Paris, a group of Muslim street gang youths take the opportunity to pull off a robbery, which goes horribly wrong when one of them is shot. Alex and Yasmine take the wounded man (Yasmine’s brother Sami) to the hospital, while Tom and Farid take off with the money for an inn near the border.
While the inn may seem a place of refuge at first, it turns out that it is just the opposite. Shortly before Alex and Yasmine join their friends, the family that owns the inn turn on Tom and Farid, and from that point on, Frontier(s) is a non-stop action and blood fest.
The camera doesn’t pull away from the bloody violence; we have sliced Achilles tendons, cut throats, meat hooks, table saws…the kills are gruesome and inventive. Again, extreme French horror is not for everyone, but if you can handle the graphic gore and violence, Frontier(s) will make your heart race and your eyes bug out of your head!
The other new films added as part of the Shudder Modern French Horror collection include Livid, Bastards, Trouble Every Day, Evolution and Martyrs.
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Are you a fan of French horror? Tell us which extreme films are your favorites in the comments section.