MOVIE REVIEW | ***FOREIGN LANGUAGE WEEKEND*** High Tension (2003)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The immediate, visceral thrill of High Tension did grab my attention and hold it in a way that few movies do.”

The main reason I started this blog was to make me watch more movies, and to vary the kinds of movies I watched. The first part of that has been well and truly accomplished with me watching hundreds of movies for the first time, instead of falling back on old favourites over and over again.   But l’m not sure if I’ve varied my selections enough. I still watch mainly American movies, with directors, writers and actors that make them a pretty safe bet. So this year, I’m forcing myself to seek out more international movies. With Foreign Language Weekends, every weekend(ish) during 2016, I’ll review two(ish) non-English language movies.
 Tension 1
“You drive a woman crazy. You little slut.”

In general, I’m not fan of horror and slasher movies.  I don’t get a thrill from thrillers, I just feel anxious in the worst way.  Despite that, it have dedicated annual weeks to the genre around Halloween.  Even when I find movies I really enjoy, I still don’t find myself seeking out more.  But today, ladies and gentlemen. I was tricked into watching one.  I have a lot of movies that I don’t remember why I bought them, but for some reason I did.  Recommendations from critics I like, or overall rave reviews, plus $5 price tags, make me buy a lot of random shit.  One of those random purchases I finally watched today, tricking me into indulging in a bit of the ol’ horror, slasher deal, with High Tension.


Alexia (Maiwenn) and Marie (Cecile De France) are two young women, heading to the country house of Alexia’s family for a break from the big city.  Waking from a slasher nightmare mid journey, Marie arrives at the idealic country location ready for some fresh air and relaxation.  Even though it’s the middle of the night, Alexia’s father and young brother have waited up for them, setting the perfect country life scene.

Soon after going to bed, a beat up truck pulls into the vicinity with the driver ringing the doorbell.  The only people to hear it are Marie and Alexia’s father.  When answering the door is met with a decapitation for dad, witness Marie is the only person in the house in a position to plan for any sort of defense or escape.

Like I said, I’m not someone who seeks out horror, slasher or even really thriller when it comes the moves I watch.  But I think that makes me even more qualified to classify High Tension as an effective and perfectly titled movie.  It does the standard genre thing of throwing in a few dummy, bluff scares early on to get you off guard.  But once the high tension kicks in, it is at absolute maximum altitude.

While it’s the insanely crazy shit that provides the base level threat, it’s the mundane, everyday normalcy that provides the real tension.  Like a massive wardrobe, too heavy to lift, blocking the plug to a telephone point that could provide almost instant salvation. And it’s the everyday horrors that make it work.  While the story is outlandishly insane, there are little moments of reality that make it that much more intense.
Tension 2
Maybe I have to admit that I do like this kind of movie.  Because the immediate, visceral thrill of High Tension did grab my attention and hold it in a way that few movies do.  But even as it ended, all I could think was, that’s an experience I don’t want to go through again anytime soon.  Which is probably the sighn of a good horror, slasher, thriller movie.  A well adjusted person should be rattled by this kind of thing, a well adjusted person shouldn’t want to see it over and over again.

High Tension
Directed By – Alexandre Aja
Written By – Alexandre Aja, Grégory Levasseur

Other Opinions Are Available. What did these people have to say about High Tension?
John Kenneth Muir
Horror News
Roger Ebert

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