Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

High Tension

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Very strong language in French and English
Nudity/Sex:Frontal nudity, references to casual sex and lesbianism, voyeurism, masturbation, implied oral sex, sexual predation, sexual act performed with dismembered head
Alcohol/Drugs:Character drinks heavily, references to hangovers, cigarette smoking
Violence/Scariness:Slasher-movie violence including dismemberment, extremely bloody deaths, child chased and shot, constant peril
Diversity Issues:Strong females, negative portrayal of gay character
Movie Release Date:2005
C+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Very strong language in French and English
Nudity/Sex: Frontal nudity, references to casual sex and lesbianism, voyeurism, masturbation, implied oral sex, sexual predation, sexual act performed with dismembered head
Alcohol/Drugs: Character drinks heavily, references to hangovers, cigarette smoking
Violence/Scariness: Slasher-movie violence including dismemberment, extremely bloody deaths, child chased and shot, constant peril
Diversity Issues: Strong females, negative portrayal of gay character
Movie Release Date: 2005

This French gore-fest is two-thirds ripe and one-third rot, resulting in an initially promising but ultimately disappointing horror movie that is not for sensitive or discerning audiences of any age. Dripping with tension both violent and sexual, “High Tension” (“Haute Tension” in the original) strains to trick the horror trap of predictability and, by severing all pretext of consistency, instead lands with a thud when audience disbelief can be suspended no more.

The majority of the movie is solid classic horror. Two attractive young law students, Alexia or “Alex” (Maïwenn Le Besco) and Marie (Cécile De France), head out to the countryside where Alex’s family lives amid the corn fields. The two young women banter about their upcoming exams, the parties they frequent, how Alex sleeps around, and how Marie never seems to meet the right guy. These light scenes are interlaced with ones of impending menace; a beaten-up van parked in corn fields where a bloody-fingered man appears to receive a sexual favor from what turns out to be a dismembered head.

By the time Alex and Marie reach the farmhouse, it is dark and there is just enough time for Alex’s mother, father, and young brother to meet Marie before retiring to bed. When the lights go out only Marie, awake in her attic guest room, hears the van pull up outside and sees the bloody-fingered man force his way into the house. Marie witnesses the ensuing, extremely explicit deaths of Alex’s family –- mother, father, brother and pet — while hiding from “le teuer” (the Killer), and she sees Alex, chained and gagged, taken out to the van for further attention. Stowing away in the back of the van with Alex, Marie tries to find ways to save Alex, as the Killer drives toward his mysterious destination.

The ultimate rescue, however, comes when the credits roll and the lights come up. That is when the audience can try to fit the scenes of the movie together in a way that makes some sense of the last thirty minutes. “High Tension” could be a memorably good horror movie but it strives to be something even better than that and, in throwing everything behind an unworkable ending, comes up short at just mediocre. The trick of the movie is not a perfectly packaged albeit predictable Hollywood twist, but instead it is a heavy-handed tire-iron blow to the head, one that ultimately leaves only blood and bewilderment.

Parents should know that this is an extremely scary movie with constant peril and the violent deaths of almost all on-screen characters. A family is slaughtered and even teens who are fans of the horror genre might be disturbed by the nonchalant violence. Parents should know that a little boy is chased and shot, kindness is rewarded by violence, terrible acts are committed in the name of love, and the deaths are explicit and bloody. Characters swear, smoke, drink, masturbate and refer to casual sex. There is a brief shower scene of frontal nudity. A gay character is portrayed as dangerously obsessed.

Families who see this movie might talk about the character of Marie and her dual role as observer and attempted rescuer. They might discuss how “love” is treated in this movie as a motivator and whether the Killer’s callousness is a mask for stronger emotions. Most likely, though, they will ask each other “but…?” and if they figure out how to make the last thirty minutes make sense, then hearty congratulations from this movie-goer.

Families who like scary, French movies might like “Crimson Rivers” (detective story with Jean Reno) or “Malfique” (prison movie whether the Killer’s callousness is a mask for stronger emotions. Most likely, though, they will ask each other “but…?” and if they figure out how to make the last thirty minutes make sense, then hearty congratulations from this movie-goer.

Families who like scary, French movies might like Crimson Rivers (detective story with Jean Reno) or Malfique (prison movie with supernatural themes).

Previous Posts

Joseph Gordon Levitt Wants to Know Your Thoughts on Technology and Democracy
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vZcaQ2Aeff8" frameborder="0"] Joseph Gordon-Levitt's HitRECord project has a new initiative. He's asking everyone to answer these questions: 1. Is today’s technology ...

posted 2:53:43pm Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

Interview: Nicholas Sparks on "The Choice"
Nicholas Sparks is one of the must successful and best-loved authors in the world. All of his books have been New York Times ...

posted 8:00:53am Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

Black History Month 2016
Be sure to take time during Black History month to watch movies the Civil Rights movement, ("Eyes on the Prize," "Selma," "Boycott"), and movies that are themselves a part of black history and film history (add to that list: "Killer of Sheep," ...

posted 3:55:11pm Feb. 05, 2016 | read full post »

A Moving Tribute to a Father Through Movies
Jessica Ritchey wrote a touching essay for Rogerebert.com about the movies she watched in the year after her father died, and how watching them helped her to keep him close. I’ve been published several times by the time I see "Crimson ...

posted 8:00:40am Feb. 05, 2016 | read full post »

Hail, Caesar!
The Coen brothers love old movies, and not just the classics. I remember reading an interview where they discussed their affection for ...

posted 5:59:12pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.