Haute (High) Tension: Where do you stand?

Discussion in 'Reader Polls' started by Hellbilly, Jan 19, 2005.

?

Vote

  1. Great film!

    55.6%
  2. This movie sucks!

    3.2%
  3. I hated the ending

    20.6%
  4. I haven't watched it yet but will (soon)

    19.8%
  5. I will never watch this

    0.8%
  1. fattyjoe37

    fattyjoe37 Well-Known Member

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    I hated the ending.

    Without such a bad ending, it would've been one of my favorite horror films of all time.
     
  2. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    Without going through several 10 page threads, I am curious to hear someone's explanation of the movie, and all the events that conspire, as I too don't see how it all fits together. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie and the ending doesn't ruin it for me at all, but I would definitely be interested in reading how it all makes sense.
     
  3. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    Just read this. That's definitely an interesting interpretation, and makes sense. Then again, that doesn't somewhat make the whole movie a cheat, it might as well have been one of those, "it was all a dream" endings.
     
  4. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    (Consider this a spoiler if anyone still hasn't seen it)

    Just think of the entire film as Marie recalling the story of what happened that night. I see it as being told from 3 points of view 80-90% of it is from "good' Marie and the other %10-20 is either from the "bad Marie" and or actual Realty. The only thing you know for sure is what was caught on the surveillance video in the gas station. Everything else is being told by someone who is very unstable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  5. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    Yeah I actually just read all 10 pages, and after reading everyone's thoughts, the ending doesn't bother me that much. Again though, the ending never really bothered me, I just didn't get it. But everyone's thoughts on here definitely makes it make more sense. For that reasoning alone I like the ending more as it has made everyone think, and really delve into the film trying to put it all together, as opposed to just being the same old cliche ending.
     
  6. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    While that is a good and sound explanation of the narrative. It also points out what I dislike about the ending. That is that Aja is cheating then in that he is concretely breaking rules of cinematic storytelling for no reason other than to trick the audience. The problem comes from that 3rd point of view you mentioned. Since there is never any clear indication whose point of view we are seeing, the film is intentionally misleading. We do SEE actions, particularly in the gas station, that Marie (in either identity) would not have been able to see. So, one can not claim that the WHOLE film is being narrated by Marie. Aja goes out of his way to establish that the camera is an omnipresent observer, only to claim at the end that sometimes it is a limited observer and sometimes not.

    Other films have used similar tricks of an unreliable narrator, Citizen Kane, 300, Unusual Suspects and Lucky Number Slevin all being good examples. But they also establish the perspective of what we as the viewer are seeing. If your explanation is correct (I think it is) and we are to accept that there is a logic to the imagery that is on the screen, then Aja cheats by showing us material that the narrator can not be aware of without establishing the perspective source of that material.

    This is all akin to mystery novels where the author withholds clues from the reader only to have the detective reveal them at the end as the conclusive evidence. It is not playing the game fairly.
     
  7. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    People who understand the logic of the film and still don't agree with Aja's decision, I have no problem with. I will argue that this is a Horror film and you don't have to play by the same rules as other genes. This is because the most important aspect of a horror films is to thrill and frighten it's audience. If Aja had to break some rules in order to do this I have no problem with that because he ultimately succeeded in his objective.

    I don't understand when people say I was on the edge of my seat for all but the last ten minutes until the ending ruined the entire film. The ending didn't ruin the entire film. It ruined the last ten minutes. You were still biting your nails for the first 70 minutes. You can't all of a sudden take that back. That would make your observation of the film a cheat!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  8. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    I say you can. Feeling cheated can most certainly ruin any good will you've ever had for something. It's like being married for ten years and finding out your significant other had been cheating on you or molesting children for the first 9. No matter how fantastic you thought your marriage had been, that kind of knowledge would most certainly destroy the relationship. The ending of HIGH TENSION is an act of betrayal to the audience, maybe not on the scale of infidelity or molestation, but betrayal nonetheless. Some people can ultimately forgive being betrayed, but most people can't.
     
  9. x666x

    x666x Well-Known Member

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    I agree 100%. I have dumped on a lot of films mentioned on this site but this wasn't one of them. We had a group screening of this and people were horrified. This to me is basically what horror is about. Even I was shocked when I saw this. Any recent film that has me feel like a kid again gets my vote. It makes me feel less jaded and very happy with where horror is going. I understand the whole feeling of being cheated with the ending but my god, so many other horror films have gotten away with much worse. There is some remarkable violence in this. Even Aja's Hills remake was as good as a remake for it can be. I never even liked the original Hills, either. But hey, if you can't forgive the ending of HT, I feel it is a shame you will miss out on repeat viewings of the first hour out of spite of the final 20 min. But to each their own, right?
     
  10. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I find the hate endlessly ammusing.

    Seriously, how could it really end? Girl saves girl, girls fall in love, they all live happily ever after? This takes the reality of the situation and personifies it to its extremes. It also takes the standard narrative and turns it on its head. That's what horror does. I'm not saying this is the greatest movie or the greatest ending ever; my vote would be "Good, not great."

    Now Blair Witch's ending, that was a cheat.
     
  11. I'm in the majority, once again, as I love this relentless film. It's nearly wonderfully paced, with a ear piercingly oddly beautiful score, with solid make-up FX from one of Fulci's old collaborators and the twist is the icing on the near perfect cake.

    I find it a more modern Slasher mini-classic. Plus I'm a huge Cecile De France fanatic (lovely Belgian star of this, plus L'Auberge Espagnole, Russian Dolls, big budget remake of Around the World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan, ect), so I'm quite biased. I own two copies of the uncut DVD. I found the twist quite nice, though I know of many who did HATE the living fuck outta it and found it beyond weird and confusing. To me it simply made me wanna go back and re-examine the entire film myself.

    Alas to each they're own ...
     
  12. Myron Breck

    Myron Breck BOO!!! Gotcha!

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    I, too, enjoy this film immensely. I can see where some people felt cheated by the ending but, as x666x pointed out, this is far from rare in the horror genre! I mean, are you going to write off F13 PART 3 just because
    Mommy jumps out of the lake at the end, with head attached--or, better yet, that Jason is still a little kiddie at the bottom of lake in the original????
    The only parts that bothered me after I watched it (and had a minute to think about it) were the places where the narrator wasn't around to know what happened
    (the severed head blow job being the most obvious example)
    , but I figured: this chick is fucking psychotic! Why wouldn't she make crazy shit like that up while telling her wicked little story? It is a fun touch, one that the analysts enjoyed, I'm sure. :)

    Fuck the haters. This is one fun flick and one of the few in recent decades that made me cringe and jump and get all nervous in my theater seat! After all, that's why I paid good money to see it; not to dissect its narrative plausibility and get myself into a huff about it.
     
  13. TheShape

    TheShape Member

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    I did read many of the posts trying to explain the film. I do not need a definite explanation for it. I get where Aja was going with it. I was just disappointed by the turn he decided to make. But overall, I loved the film, it's intense and very effective... until the end. I would have preferred that he delivered it straight up until the end.

    (consider the following possible spoilers!)





    The obvious jealousy / desire / obsession that Marie had with Alex was well developped in the beginning and could have been exploited anyway without going to such extremes IMHO. In this manner, you would have a superior slasher / horror film WITH an added psychological tension / ambiguity that would have added a depth that a film of this kind usually does not have. The film would have worked on a visceral level AND psychological one. All because it could have been done in a way that Marie could still prove to be a threat, even if there was an another party involved. For example, she could still have snapped at Alex in the end after getting rid of the real "killer" in the greehouses, maybe not just in the same way.

    I was also disappointed by the ending because this movie is essentially a series of very well executed hide and seek scenes between Marie and the "killer": in the house, outside the house, at the gas station, at the station's bathroom and finally at the greenhouses. If this all comes from her head, then the whole dynamic of the movie is kind of pointless. Either she made it all up or she was hiding from herself this whole time, going from one personality to the other.

    When you assume this is all from a demented point of view, many explanations can work. This and this and this can come out of her head, she could all have made much of it up. Where does it begin and where does it end? Even if there are clues throughout the movie, there are still many missing pieces that only can be explained as "it was in her head".

    I would still strongly recommend this movie to any horror fan. It's still a great addition to the genre and I do not regret it's purchase. I am just curious as to why the language keep going from French to English in the extras (at least in the version I have), it's really annoying. I would much rather hear Aja in french that him speaking than with that very big accent ;).
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  14. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Even if you were married for 10 years and your wife was cheating on you the entire time. During those ten years you still presumably loved her and told people you loved her. So when you do find out she was cheating, sure you can now say you hate her but everyone still remembers how you used to speak well of her. I would also be willing to bet that after the marriage is over during those times you are alone you will still catch yourself thinking of the good times even though she hurt you. Anyway Aja simply tricked you in a movie he didn't sleep with your mother lets not get carried away.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  15. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Now THAT'S just complete bullshit. If somebody lies to you for that long then the marriage is a farce, and the good times become meaningless. And what if your significant lover is a child molester? What then? Do the good times still matter? An ending CAN cast a negative shadow over an entire experience. That's my point. Betrayal is still betrayal, no matter what the scope may be. I don't consider what Aja did "a trick". He changed a rules at the end: that isn't a "trick", that's a "cheat", no better than saying it "was all a dream".
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  16. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I can't really relate to that as there really is no one that I can honestly say I hate. I guess I'm just not a vindictive person or someone who holds grudges. I'll take your word for it though as I've never experienced your scenarios and don't know how I would react. I'm 34 years old so of course I have had people, girlfriends and friends betray me in the past though to lesser degrees. Even though I may not hang out with them anymore I still catch myself thinking of the good times I had with them. That may make me appear weak in your eyes but I simply choose to not obsess on the bad. Life is too short for that. Saying that this is just a movie and If I ever felt myself holding a grudge on a DVD I would take up sewing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  17. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    I've never experienced these scenarios either, and I don't think you're "weak". However, just because you yourself don't hold grudges is no reason to not be able to understand why somebody else would. It's called "Empathy", and it's something most people are capable of.
     
  18. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Sure I can understand how someone given your scenarios would all of a sudden hate the person who betrayed them. I don't know if it's humanely possible for me once the anger dulls and the years go by to NEVER catch myself thinking even once in a while about the good times. No mater what they did. I know people that are very vindictive and do hold long grudges over stupid crap so I'm sure it's possible for some. Shit I know parents who won't talk to thier daughter because she married outside of her race and has cut off anyone who talks to her so I can only imagine. Is this still on topic?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  19. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    Are you guys still talking about High Tension or are you planning on getting married and cheating on each other? :D
     
  20. Myron Breck

    Myron Breck BOO!!! Gotcha!

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    Huh...?
     

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