My girlfriend things realistic horror movies are scary, like I'm notabout to leap through her window and punch her in the snoot. I thinkalien/monster movies are scary, like she's not about to command herAlpha Centauri buddies to tractor me into their spaceship and grind meinto a delicious pink paste.
Who's right? Me, obviously. You don't see her writing this column.Also she doesn't exist. But that's no reason we can't enjoy variety,including what might be the grandfather of the recent French horrormovement, 2003's High Tension.
Intending to get away from the parties and get down to studying,students Maiwenn Le Besco and Cecile De France head to Le Besco'sremote farmhouse. Their first night there, serial killer PhilippeNahon breaks into the house, kills Le Besco's family, and kidnaps her,leaving De France as her only hope of rescue.
Calling your horror movie High Tension is audacious. Shouldn'twe the audience be making the final call about the relative tensionlevels involved? You may as well go for the gusto and title itButt-Kicking Movie of Such Studly Grandeur That If It Were a DudeYour Girlfriend Would Totally Leave You For It.
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Of course, all that goes out the window if it really is good. Anddirector Alexandre Aja creates a game of intrigue between De Franceand Nahon that completely lives up to its billing.
But then it's hard to deny the artistic worth of any movie where theblood flows like blood-colored wine. Certain movies splay out theirgore in chunky, pico de gallo-esque mounds. Not so with HighTension, which prefers to gush it around with a CarloRossi-looking deep red of fluids that may well have been stompedbetween a monk's toes. In case you've never been to college, Rossi isthe stuff that costs nothing and makes you think it's a good idea toflounder around in that dried-up swimming pool on your friend'srooftop.
That's an aside to the genuine tension created by a game of cat andmouse so intense Tom and Jerry have no doubt sued this movie forcopyright infringement. First Nahon chases De France (this is theequivalent of being named Joe American, incidentally), then De Francechases Nahon, then we all invest in Hanes because High Tensionis so disturbing we must never let our parents know how we'vephysically responded.
Then comes the twist. The true measure of twist movies is how wellthey stand up before the curveball buckles your knees, and thoughHigh Tension is to this point just one more home invasionmovie--though an intense one--it's the final minutes that set itapart. I love Rob Zombie like tacos cabezas, but High Tensionleaves Halloween in the dirt.