Directed by Alexandre Aja
Screenplay by Alexandre Aja & Grégory Levasseur
Photography by Maxime Alexandre
Music by Francois Eudes
Edited by Baxter
Fx by Gianneto De Rossi
Cast: Cecile DeFrance, Maiwen & Phillipe Nahon
2003/91 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
2.35:1 anamorphic/French/France/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lions Gate DVD
Two young woman, Marie (the beautiful Cecile DeFrance) and Alex (Maiwen) are about to spend the weekend at Alex's parents house in the middle of nowhere. Both are looking to escape the stress of living in Paris, take some time to relax and study. Almost as soon as they arrive, a man (a chilling performance from Nahon of SEUL CONTRE TOUS fame) driving an old rusty truck is at the front door, breaks in and slaughter every poor souls except for Alex now bound and gagged for which he keeps as a prize. Surprisingly he doesn't know of Marie's presence in the house. From there we follow Marie who first tries to leave the house alive but when she finds out that the man takes her friend in his truck and drives away she now attemps to rescue her.
Forget about movie claiming to be a return to the real thing... Alexandre Aja's HIGH TENSION really delivers the good. Aja knows the genre and knows how to make an effective, haunting and chilling slasher. The film slowly but perfectly builds itself, every little details is nicely executed. The cinematography by Maxime Alexandre is simply amazing, making great use of lightning, framing and colors saturation. The musical score by Francois Eudes gives the film all the audiophonic atmosphere it needs and who ever though that a song from France's own version of Tom Jones - Claude Barzotti could turn out to be so chilling! Famed Italian fx guru Gianneto De Rossi pulls out some great old school murders sequences with amazing special make-up effects. Cecile DeFrance gives a very good and charismatic performance as Marie but it is Phillipe Nahon as the viciously strong murdered who once again show us just how great of an actor he is.
HIGH TENSION (HAUTE TENSION being the original title) was without a doubt one of the best films of 2003. This film is thankfully without any easy in-jokes... it is raw, grim, slick, relentless, ruthless and no bullshit horror at its best. My only complain about it is the unnecessary twist ending which simply doesn't make sense and hurts the film which would have been perfect without it.
Lions Gate has finally released HIGH TENSION on DVD. The movie is presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. I own the Thai, UK and now this edition which visually looks the best of the three. It features an amazing transfer with rich and perfectly saturated colors, no artifacts or compression of any sort but there is some grain in the film but it was filmed that way because of the stock used was sensitive to grain, giving the film even more of a '70s look and feel.
The U.S. unrated version is presented in both a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. The awful dubbed version is also available but avoid it at all cost. And finally, the French director's cut which is the only version you should watch also features both a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. All of them sounds great, are loud and crystal clear, making the audiophonic experience of the film all the much better and Eudes' score shines through it. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are available.
In the extras department, first we get an introduction by director Alexandre Aja and co-screenwriter Grégory Levasseur. 'Haute Horror: Making Haute Tension' is an interesting 24 minutes featurette on the movie. 'Bulding Tension' is another interesting featurette but only 8 minutes long. 'Gianetto de Rossi: the truth, the madness and the magic' is a cool featurette on the Italian master of fx showing us and explaining most of the gruesome fx from the film. There's also five selected scenes with commentary with Aja and DeFrance and trailers for others Lions Gate releases like CRASH and SAW II. The disc features some of the coolest menus i've seen in a long time, the movie is separated in 20 chapters, comes in a keep case with an inlay card and features a bloody cover. Overall a great edition from Lions Gate for this new classic.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©
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