“High Tension” – Chris Luedtke

Of all the horrors that can possibly be conceived, it feels as though the realistic stuff has become a much larger staple in our minds than the ghosts that haunt the halls of some old rundown mansion. High Tension is such a film, one that eliminates what should be the unrealistic and puts us in an arguably more tense situation: the shoes of one on the run from a psycho.

Marie (Cecile De France) and Alex (Maiwenn Le Besco) are headed up to Alex’s remote country house to work on their studies in peace. However, on their first night comes a knock in the dead of night and before Marie’s very eyes, Alex’s family is slain and her friend absconded with by the killer. The night becomes an extended game of cat and mouse, as Marie goes to great lengths to evade the fiend and rescue her pal.

High Tension has one of the best blueprints ever for a horror film. The title summarizes perfectly what the viewer feels once the merciless killer steps into the picture. The scenes between Marie and him are nothing short of nail-biting. Covering one’s tracks isn’t always easy, but High Tension does so in a brilliant way. Even conversations are tense in here. See: gas station attendant. One could easily compare it to a similar scene in No Country for Old Men.

Unfortunately, after the film’s initial rush, we’re left with a mixed bag. There are a lot of good elements that prolong the tension, but several serve to just muddle and confuse. The ending is something that’s sparked much debate. I have read many reviews that say that one must watch the director’s commentary to get it. I can assure you, you don’t need bother. If you have an imagination, you can figure things out yourself, and even after you’ve done the math, the holes in the film become something that may even follow you to bed.

This being said, the film’s gore is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, it is a little spaced and not nearly up to the par of Cat in the Brain or Dead Alive. The effects look realistic sometimes but do come off as insanely impossible, particularly in one certain scenario. High Tension is worth your buck in bang, but the ending is something that may just have you throwing up more than a bulimic at a buffet.

Rating: ★★½☆

-Chris Luedtke

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