Guess what— There's finally a fresh review on Slash & Splatter! This time, I dissect Alexandre Aja's 2003 release, High Tension. Link in bio! ❤️
June 18, 2003 - "High Tension" has its theatrical premiere in France.
There are 2 versions of "High Tension"; the dubbed & edited R-rated version that Lionsgate premiered in theaters in 2003, & the unedited, NC-17 version that French filmmaker Alexandre Aja rolled out at the Toronto International Film Festival at a midnight screening. Regardless, modern European horror doesn’t come any grittier & intense than it does when a couple of would-be lesbian college girlfriends retreat to a weekend at the secluded family farmhouse of one of their parents to study for final exams. A deranged psycho-killer suddenly pays a nocturnal visit to the house & imposes a bloody terror spree that has Marie (Cecile De France) chasing the madman to rescue her friend Alex (Maiwenn) who sits as his shackled hostage in the back of his van.
A relentless, stalk-&-slash fright-fest with a heart-pounding pace as brutal as its husky, truck-driving killer, French director Alexandre Aja's gory sophomore feature will no doubt please fear junkies in search of a truly visceral genre experience. Aja keeps thinks viciously organic by eschewing current CG-obsessions & instead employing the brutally realistic effects of artist Giannetto De Rossi (a favorite of late gore meister Lucio Fulci), an asset that makes the violence all the more disturbing & realistic. Of course, with a film that moves as fast as "Haute Tension" (it's original foreign title), there's little time for such distractions as character development or dialogue, but, as is rarely the case in many similar films, viewers will never doubt the actions taken by the killer's tough-as-nails prey. Much has been said regarding the films love-it-or-hate-it 'surprise' twist, & while it seems as if Aja & co-screenwriter Grégory Levasseur at least attempt to remain faithful to the revelation, even dropping an occasional hint for the savvy viewer, the awkward revelation may ultimately derail the entire endeavor for less forgiving viewers. There may be little new here for those who are strict to the genre, but by keeping the pacing intensely tight & the squirm factor high, Aja has crafted a lean, mean, & unrelentingly brutal film that (CONTINUED)