Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Haute Tension (High Tension)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A college student goes to stay with her friend and her friend's family in their country home in the middle of the boonies. The first night she is there, the house is broken into and the family is brutally and horribly attacked and tortured. Luckily the main character manages to evade the grips of the attacker, and the movie focuses on her struggle to rescue her friend from the grips of a madman.

Scariness factor: This movie is named High Tension with good reason. While it's not jump-in-your-seat scary, it is petrifying in the horrificness of its brutality and realism. Definitely haunting.

Gross-Out Factor: The complete opposite of yesterday's flick, this is perhaps the most violent, gory, and bloody movie I've seen in a while. And be forewarned: they show most everything.

Complaints: I have two major complaints with this film: 1) This movie is disturbing (and yet intriguing) in its depiction of women. The women in the film are both horribly brutalized and yet terrifyingly self-sufficient as well. The main character is an AMAZINGLY good actress (and her character is clearly a strong one), but I couldn't quite figure out whether I was supposed to find her character empowering or what. Fellow feministas, you need to watch this and let me know if you were bothered by it or what. I cannot say too much more without giving away parts of the movie. But I was intrigued. Very much intrigued. And while kinda being bothered by one potential feminist reading of this movie, I was also kind of blown away despite (or because of) that. So *GO SEE*! 2) Though I didn't see the direction this movie was going to take, I thought it was a bit of a cop-out. Without giving anything away.

High Points: For a horror movie (and even for a regular high-paced drama), the acting was fantastic in this film. Especially the main actress (Cecile de France)--she is *amazingly* impressive. And despite my complaints, I really thought this movie was quite good. And my complaints are also high points as well, to some degree: the main character's strength and self-sufficiency was strange but attractive within the context of the film. And quite interesting, once you get to the end. And despite the fact that I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out, I also give it props because I *totally* didn't see the direction that this movie was heading *at all*. And despite finding the ending a bit irritating, I also kind of liked it at the same time. Other high points--the movie has a gritty realism to it that is scarily well-done. I mean, despite a few weak moments, what makes the movie so terrifying is that *you could actually imagine all the events happening as is*, and the characters' reactions to them (particularly the main character) are chillingly realistic. I can imagine going through the same mental processes as she does in reaction to what takes place. It is believable. And horrifying. There are also some startlingly well-done camera-shots and cinematic moments throughout the film. And, despite it being ridiculously violent, it totally drew me in. I was engaged, I wanted to see what would end up happening to the main character, I was rooting for her.

Overall: I liked this movie quite a bit, despite the fact that I'm not usually keen on horrifically violent films. It is gritty and real. And it is terrifying in its realness. I thought the ending was a bit weak, but I also found it intriguing and couldn't really imagine it ending any other way, so I suppose I don't mind it so much as I normally would. Overall, I definitely recommend. As long as you're able to stomach it.

PS. There is something strangely attractive about a woman with a chainsaw.

PPSS. Please to send me any good feminist readings of this film, as I am intrigued but too lazy to go searching at the moment. *COUyouheardmemicheleGH*

Grade: A/A-



At 11:33 PM, Blogger T Van said...

High Tension is a great flick and even though it is pretty gory I thought the pacing of the film was perfect. Everyone has an opinion on the ending of the film and it's either a love-it-or-hate-it type of deal. Personally, I loved it.

Alexandre Aja has a great future as a director and if you haven't seen the remake of The Hills Have Eyes I would highly recommend checking it out.

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Stacie Ponder said...

I loved High Tension. It's refreshing (and rare) to find a modern horror movie that makes you think and lends itself to discussion and speculation. I blah blah blahed about it right here, and lots of people joined in the fun. Check it out!

Great spoiler-free review, by the way. :)

At 3:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is one of my favorite movies because of the gory& the story line was all sick&& twisted...this site is pretty cool&& intense Scarey Movies are my favv...K Peace:)


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