This film is unique and nail biting all while serving us everything we have already seen before.
The ending, while I am sure it makes sense to some people, just marred what was essentially a flawless film.
I think that High Tension is a very good movie. It is well made, isn't too flashy and once the crap hits the fan this thing doesn't hesitate when it comes out of the gate. My biggest bone of contention is the ending. If this movie had ended 10-15 minutes sooner, I would have say this is one of the best horror films I have ever seen. In a nutshell, two girls, Marie and Alexia, go to Alexia's parents house to study for a law test of some sort, and then a man shows up and tries to kill them. The fact that he kills all of the other family members in very violent and grotesque ways, lets you know that this movie isn't going to let up, play games or try and humanize this character at all.
Now, I know that there are people who will read this review and say, "Mushy, you are one of those Americans who just wants everything spoon-fed to you." Not so. I just want a movie to not give the impression that something has been tacked on. Especially, the ending. Had this film ended 10-15 minutes sooner, I think it would have done much more business.
Giannetto De Rossi: The Truth, the Madness and the Magic
I wish I hadn't seen this. It is a short piece on Giannetto De Rossi, the special makeup effects artist for this movie. This "Behind the Scenes" piece is good, but I feel that it breaks things down too much. Seeing how the magic was done, only served to make future viewings of this film a bit less compared to the first one. That said, it was interesting seeing how someone gets their throat slit on screen.
16:9 Widescreen Version (2.35:1 Ratio). The bars on the top and bottom of the screen didn't really bother me that much with this film. I also liked that the FX were used sparingly and only in key scenes. For instance, when the Killer first comes to the home, there is a long FX shot from the upstairs to the downstairs part of the home. Other than this, up until that moment the camera had been very fluid and non-obtrusive. Thankfully, it stayed liked that for much of the film.
Digitally Mastered. This film can be watched in it's original French language, dubbed in English and with English and Spanish subtitles. Thankfully they gave me the opportunity to watch this film dubbed in my native tongue. This way I could actually watch the movie instead of having to read it. While I hated a lot of the music by the bands in this film, I loved the somewhat John Carpenter styled soundtrack that was used throughout it. I have never felt more helpless having to cover my eyes in front of a PSP player.
Marie (Cecile De France) stands soaked in blood holding a chainsaw. This whole front cover has been Photoshopped to look like a painting. The back features this same look except Alexia (Maiwenn) is on the back. There are quotes splattered all over the place, a "Special Features" listing, a description of the movie, a cast list and some minor technical specs. On the whole I really like the way this cover looks, just because it is completely honest. This movie is not for those who scare or get "grossed out" easily.
The best way I can describe High Tension is like opening the door to your house and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre walks in. Mix in a lot of Italian styled 1970s special FX and that is what this film is. At first, I was taken aback, because the story takes some time to set things up. However, as I said above, once things get going they resolve themselves so satisfactorily that I think the ending was more of an afterthought than it was anything else.
High Tension was released June 18, 2003.