DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

HIGH TENSION (SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE/HAUTE TENSION) (director/writer: Alexandre Aja; screenwriter: Grégory Levasseur; cinematographer: Maxime Alexandre; editor: Baxter; music: François Eudes; cast: Cécile De France (Marie), Maïwenn Le Besco (Alex), Philippe Nahon (Delivery Man Killer), Andrei Finti (Alexi's Mom), Oana Pellea (Alex's dad), Marco Claudiu Pascu (Alex's Little Brother), Frank Khalfoun (Jimmy), Jean-Claude De Goros.(Police Captain); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Alexandre Arcady/ Robert Benmussa; Lions Gate Films; 2003-France-in French and dubbed English, with English subtitles)

"Its conclusion can be viewed as a major disappointment."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

French filmmaker Alexandre Aja ("The Hills Have Eyes"/"Horns"/"Mirrors") writes and directs this ultra-violent, women-in-peril, slasher flick. The twenty-something Aja gets help for the blood-drenched script from Grégory Levasseur. It appeals to those viewers who can never get enough gore from a massacre psycho film.

The pic opens in a hospital with a battered young woman named Marie (Cécile de France) in a hospital gown whispering aloud under her breath that "I will never let anything come between us again." She's being recorded on video to tell her recent nightmarish tale of being forced into a hero's role to save her classmate.

The tomboyish Marie and her party-gal college friend Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) are en route to the isolated country farmhouse home of Alex's parents to cram for their upcoming exams. On the first night of their stay at the farmhouse, a local serial killer delivery man (Philippe Nahon) slaughters Alex's parents (Andrei Finti, Oana Pellea), her little brother (Marco Claudiu Pascu) and the family dog. Meanwhile Alex is left gagged and hogtied in back of the van, as the psycho's hostage. Marie is not spotted as she hides in the guest room, and decides to sneak onto the van in order to try and save her friend when the van hits the road.

For three-quarters of the film the realistic violence shown makes for a difficult and terrifying watch, but within context of the slasher genre norms. but in the final quarter the story switches gears to go experimental and its conclusion can be viewed as a major disappointment. 

The sicko story features a beheading with a piece of furniture and a little boy killed with a shotgun.

REVIEWED ON 11/1/2015       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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