MOVIE: High Tension (Haute Tension) (2003)

I saw this movie for the first time shortly after it hit DVD and remembered really liking it.  But I’d never gotten around to seeing it again until last week when a reader (hi, Trip!) asked me what kinds of scenes my ideal horror movie would feature.  One of the things I mentioned in response was a scene in which a female victim-to-be turned the tables on the bad guy and kicked his ass.  Like, for example, Marie in the French horror flick High Tension.  In thinking more about that extremely memorable scene, though, I realized I couldn’t remember anything else about the movie’s plot.  Time for a rental!

The good news is that the vast majority of this film was just as good as I remembered.  The bad news is that I’d forgotten how it ended — for good reason.  I mean, it’s not a TERRIBLE ending, I guess, but it kind of negated the scene that had so impressed me.  Thus: irrational, unfair annoyance.

I’ll get over it.

The story’s about two college girls, Marie and Alex, on their way to the country for a study-packed weekend at Alex’s parents’ spooky farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere (naturally).  For reasons that make little sense until the end, late that first night, a bad guy in a beater truck (bad guys in slasher movies always drive beater trucks) pulls into the driveway, knocks on the door, and then proceeds to kill Alex’s parents and her little brother, taking her hostage for future tormenting.  Lucky for Marie, because she was tucked away up in the attic guest room, the bad guy doesn’t know she’s there, giving her the upper hand, at least for a while.

It’s a pretty predictable progression from there, but creative enough and well-acted.  And though the end is a little hokey, at least it tried to do something a little different.

Definitely recommended if you’re a fan of well-made slashers.  And really, who ain’t?  Right?  RIGHT?!

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Horror
Cast:  Cécile De France, Maïwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun

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5 Responses to “MOVIE: High Tension (Haute Tension) (2003)”

  1. ysabelkid Says:

    I’ll definitely give this a try, sounds like my kind of movie, and the plot is very similar to Dean Koontz’ “Intensity” (although that was made into a mini-series in the US). I guess it’s not that unique a plot! Ass-kicking females rank high on my list of enjoyable scenes, though. Well, with Ripley as my heroine, I guess it’s no big surprise!

  2. Liz Says:

    This was the movie that got me cross, because the first half was SO close to the plot of “Intensity” that I thought either Koontz would get a credit, or it was simply plagiarism. Then it got weird, and the ending was a LITTLE dumb. Not a terrible movie, but a bit annoying!

  3. Leslie Says:

    I have hatred for this one because I Netflixed it on the weight of a trailer that called it “Hitchcockian.” And, as you know, it is soooooooo not Hitchcockian. I don’t mind a slasher when I’m in the mood for a slasher, but I get infuriated when I want a thriller and get schlock instead.

    Blech.

  4. megwood Says:

    Oh no, “Hitchcockian”? What the. . .?! I can’t think of a single element of this film that is “Hitchcockian.” No wonder you were pissed. I would’ve been too!

  5. briantoohey Says:

    Great movie, and Aja has progressively gotten worse with each movie since. I saw this one in the theatre when it came out, and somehow a friend went with me who doesn’t like to see violent movies because she “doesn’t want to put that in her consciousness.” At one point I started to have an anxiety attack in the theatre (I think during the attack-in-the-closet scene, which recalled Argento) and I knew that my friend was being scarred for life next to me by violence that was far beyond what either of us had anticipated. It’s become public knowledge, that yes, Aja pretty much ripped off Koontz and Intensity for most of this, but where he pulled away (the end) is where the movie goes off the rails. The ending is an interesting choice, but it doesn’t really work. But still, an often brilliant film with some great, yes, tension, and very effective violence.

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