10/24/11 – 2011 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #24 – Haute Tension.

Haute Tension

Ahhh, Haute Tension (or, High Tension, as they renamed it in the states), how can I count the ways I love thee? You twisted, genius, completely sick and wrong flick. First of all, you used one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands in your movie so you already win in my book (Uprising by Muse, btw.) But this was pretty much the film that set off the incredible new French wave of unspeakably brutal horror films. This takes the slasher genre and ups the ante into the stratosphere. It is so unbelievably violent and disgusting that it was released NC-17 in the states, so keep that in mind (and even gives Re-Animator a run for its money in the disturbing sexual severed head scene category.) Gorehounds can rejoice, but to me, what makes this movie so incredible is right there in the title — tension. In many horror films there is a certain give-and-take within the structure that ups the tension, then releases it and lets you breathe for a while. It’s this teeder-todder that we’re used to. With High Tension, I would seriously say that you’re allowed to breathe for maybe 5 minutes total. The suspense or tension is literally constant. It is so thick at all times that you are literally ripping the armrests out of your chair. It’s so magnificently crafted that it’s no wonder Alexandre Aja became a horror superstar in the U.S. after this. It’s all on display. Now… I’d be remissed if I didn’t talk about the ending. The ending will divide you down the middle. 50% will love it. 50% will absolutely abhor it. In my opinion, the entire movie up to this point was so perfectly crafted into such a wild ride anyway, that it didn’t even matter to me. I won’t ruin it and just let you judge for yourself. But if you are willing to see something seriously brutal and unrelenting, and can hold your breath for a seriously long time, you will love this movie. Prepare yourself.

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