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High Tension (2003) Horror Movie Review

Article by FisterRoboto of lefthandhorror.com

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Written by Alexandre Aja, Grégory Levasseur

Starring: Cécile De France, Maïwenn and Philippe Nahon

Alexia travels with her friend Marie to spend a couple of days with her family in their farm in the country. They arrive late and they are welcomed by Alexia’s father. Late in the night, a sadistic and sick killer breaks into the farmhouse, slaughters Alexia’s family–including their dog–and kidnaps Alexia. Marie hides from the criminal and tries to help the hysterical and frightened Alexia, chase the maniac, and disclose his identity in the end.

Holy shit. Does this film go too far? Probably. Does it have a good reason to plumb such depths? Maybe. Is the end result entertaining? Definitely.

De France and Maïwenn before they’re caked in blood.

I suppose anyone that watches as many horror flicks as myself can assume a certain amount of desensitization. Partially due to exposure and partially to protect our own peace of mind. No one would want to see this horrible premise unfold in reality, but in the confines of a film we exhale a little. I assure you that “a little” is the most this film allows us to relax.

High Tension has a certain amount of charm to it. It feels a little like a throwback horror flick, tapping into gruesomely graphic kills and wounds that only a horror fan could appreciate. It could be argued that High Tension goes too far. It could also be argued that we demand horror step outside acceptable parameters. Be warned that blood does flow.

You don’t want to know what this head was used for.

If not for the quality of the overall film, High Tension would be lost amongst a thousand other horror movies that traverse the same road. Wonderfully acted, directed, and presented, Aja obviously relishes the pulse-pounding tension he creates as we cringe and gasp for 90+ minutes. Each scene is a master class in palatable fear and hope. Aja dedicates every second to his artistic portrayal of two women trying to escape the grasp of a psychotic pervert who’s willing to commit any atrocity to get what he wants.

Truly one of the most revolting killers in years.

What continues to separate High Tension from similar flicks is the twist at the end. I can almost call a horror movie ending in the first 15 minutes sometimes. This comes out of left field in a big way. There was a big NO WAY! moment when the film neared its climax. I never saw it coming and that’s precisely how Aja wanted it. If you can take the gore, perverse nature, and nail-biting tension this film delivers in spades, then you just might have something worth talking about. This film brings it, kids.

About Fister Roboto (2161 Articles)
My horror boner lasted longer than four hours and I never called a physician. Original bassist for Creed.

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