Film Review: Haute Tension (High Tension) (2003)

SYNOPSIS:

Two college friends, Marie and Alexa, encounter loads of trouble (and blood) while on vacation at Alexa’s parents’ country home when a mysterious killer invades their quiet getaway.

REVIEW:

As the name implies, High Tension (2003) is certainly not a misnomer. It is a terrifyingly suspenseful film and absolutely one of the best to come out in a long time. But beware, once the gory action starts, relatively soon enough, you will spend the rest of the viewing on the edge of your seat all the way to the very end.

Marie (Cecile De France) and Alexa (Maiwenn) are two-college pals intent on getting away from the college wild life in order to effectively study. They visit Alexa’s parents’ home, secluded in a middle of a nowhere cornfield. And, unknown to them, there is a mysterious, demented and sadistic killer lurking about, a late middle-aged heavyset man with a strikingly creepy disposition and cold, dark piercing eyes to match. Somewhat similar to Michael Myers, only in the fact that they both wear coveralls, this murderer appears to be far worse than the murderous Halloween icon, slashing, slicing and severing more for pleasure than retribution.

When the killer visits during the small of the night, proceeding to viciously slash and destroy each family member, Marie hears the commotion and sneaks to spy. Horrified at what she sees, she grows aware and heads back to the bedroom, quickly remaking the bed, dabbing the sink dry and making every attempt at eliminating her existence. Suddenly, a dangerous life or death game of cat and mouse begins…

But, the killer is wise and while Marie hides under the bed shaking and trying desperately to remain silent by clasping a hand over her mouth, the razor yielding man runs his finger directly under the faucet end. When it comes away wet, he is certain there is someone else in the house and the search is on.

And, all is not what it seems and before the audience will realize this they will go through a fright filled ride, masterfully led to the last few scenes.

Throughout the film, it’s rather obvious that Writer / Director Alexandre Aja is a fan of the greats. Combining the gore of Rob Zombie with the creepiness of Carpenter all surrounded by Hitchcock’s suspense, this film could be worthy of a couple viewings, assuming you are a glutton for white knuckles and tense muscles.

The worst that can be said about this French made film is that it is dubbed in English. However, this dubbing is edited quite well and barely noticeable provided you don’t specifically look for it. And, there are a couple of scenes that may trouble some viewers. Coincidently, neither were a personal concern of mine, but none-the-less, they may detrimentally affect some viewers. First, there are the homophobic overtones and second, there is a sick sexual scene involving a decapitated head. And, these two scenes alone may dictate that High Tension may not be for everyone.

Regardless, if it is a gory and blood filled 91-minute excursion into film-induced stress that you are seeking, this is most assuredly your flick.

High Tension (2003)

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About Wee Willie Wicked

Wee WillieWith the seeds firmly planted in his mind by Pittsburgh's Chiller Theatre, Thomas Scopel found the weekly scares he desired. After obtaining a degree and working in the engineering field and constantly feeling the writing itch, he pursued it, becoming a correspondent at the Daytona Beach News Journal. This scratched the itch, but left only raised, bloody, horror aspirating welts on his flesh and he converted to horror fiction.

Since entering the macabre he has been published in various horror based publications and his alter ego, an evil clown named Wee Willie Wicked, was born. His tales include: The Pumpkin Patch, Lickety Split, While You Sleep, All the Creatures Were Stirring…Even the Mouse, The Eight Legs of Night, The Argument, A Cup of Sugar, The Horrors of Easter, Don't Forget the Fingers: A Guide to the Perfect Zombie Family Picnic, Welcome, The Christmas Help, and more.

He has written two novellas, Twitch and The Daily Death – How I Killed My Co-Workers In 30 Days, a collection of macabre fictional death tales.

One Response to Film Review: Haute Tension (High Tension) (2003)

  1. chrish says:

    I have a love hate relationship with this film. I was instantly drawn in to the movie, and kept on the edge of my seat with the plot. The whole time watching the movie I was thinking this is one of the best I’ve seen in my horror movie watching life… that is until the completely contrived, impossible, asinine, “twist” ending.

    I would happily be forced to watch every Shyamalan movie EXCEPT the “Sixth Sense” in a row for two weeks straight than to have to be subject to that f*cked in the head ending again. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I need to re-watch it, maybe that ending was for people who don’t pay attention to detail. I don’t know, but it pissed me off enough that it ruined the whole
    movie for me.

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