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View Full Version : Haute Tension.... my review


Cujo108
02-21-2004, 05:54 AM
Haute Tension is the tale of two college friends, Alex and Marie, as they take a break to have some fun and study at Alex's family's secluded, isolated home in the country. Before long, a maniac pulls up to the house, and when he gets inside, nobody is safe. He takes Alex hostage, and Marie, who escaped his notice, has to try and come through for her friend while keeping herself alive in the process.

Haute Tension is a spectacular gem that, unlike some other films that have been called such, truly is a throwback to the 70s. The film is relentless in its pacing, and we are almost immediately thrust into the nightmare at the film's core. Every single frame of this film is so well done, and the cinematography is jawdropping. Seriously, this film is a technical marvel. There is a decapitation so breathtraking, so perfectly executed, you'll have a hard time believing it isn't real. Gianetto de Rossi's gore effects are some of the best I've ever seen. The gore is also quite nasty, and really gives the film a lot of its 70s style mood.

Don't get things wrong though, Haute Tension is much more than just a mere slasher/gore extravaganza. It is a film that demands attention, and one that people need to have patience with. If not, there are several little things that you will miss, believe me. These little things are so well sprinkled throughout the film, its truly a joy to keep an eye out for them. The film is also extremely suspenseful. It had my heart racing at times, and I was glued to the screen completely enthralled by the thought of what might happen next.

The actors in the film all did magnificent jobs, and their characters are a huge part of what makes the film the gem it is. Cecile de France's Marie comes across as a soft, yet strong willed girl who experiences a newfound bravery when all hell breaks loose. The fact that her friend is in dire trouble only enhances her feelings on the need for her frightened, yet ultimately couragous actions. Philippe Nahon is very menacing as the maniac. He looks downright evil, and his hulking presence is beyond intimidating. He plays the part very well too, coming off as a truly psychotic sadist. Maiwenn Le Besco is fine as the tortured Alex. You can really see the sheer terror in her eyes, and she plays the victim so well, so convincingly.

The ending is very overwhelming, not to mention bizarre. It really makes you think, and in my opinion, that's a great thing. The ending doesn't seem to fit at first, but I found myself thinking back to earlier instances in the film, and I finally realized that the ending makes perfect sense. I think it was a wonderful and fitting ending to an outstanding work of horrific art. You do have to think though, not everything is spelled out for the audience like so many American films feel the need to do. As I said, this film requires your full attention.

Quite frankly, this is is a spectacular little film that really blew me away. Not only was it executed so well on every level, but it was also a tense, edge-of-your-seat film full of kinetic energy and gruesome imagery, all topped off with a true feel of intelligence behind the script. Great film, highly recommended!

onebyone
02-21-2004, 06:38 AM
Ok, I am sold on the movie. How was the quality of the release you purchased? Do you recommend getting that one??

Cujo108
02-21-2004, 07:12 AM
The quality is great. Only problem is the cut seconds that I spoke of in the chat last week. If you don't mind that, I'd say definitely get it. Personally, I'm going to wait for the UK edition that I heard is coming, and then sell this one off and get that version.

Hellbilly
02-21-2004, 07:18 AM
Thanks for the awesome review Justin, I'm sold as well.
Haute Tension sounds like one hell of a movie!
I'll be getting that UK DVD whenever available ...

Ash28M
02-21-2004, 07:20 AM
good review Cujo108 it's truly is a great film.

thrashard76
02-21-2004, 08:20 AM
Cujo, nice review dude. You said something before to me about this one. I may wait for an UNCUT version but yeah I'm sold on this one too.

Grim
02-22-2004, 04:35 AM
Who has the US rights? Or are they still up for grabs?

Mattster
02-22-2004, 06:14 AM
I saw something about this movie tonight at B&N and I decided to watch the trailer after reading this review. Unfortunately I think I've figured out what the twist in the end is just from watching the trailer. It still looks mighty good and I can't wait to see it.

http://www.europacorp.com/Medias/Films/Videos/ht/ba_qhd.mov

zombi3
02-22-2004, 03:18 PM
Who has the US rights? Or are they still up for grabs?

Lions Gate, so no uncut version for us!:mad:

Grim
02-22-2004, 04:35 PM
Lions Gate, so no uncut version for us!:mad:

Why wouldn't it be? They released Irreversible Uncut. It would probably cost them more money to take the time to re-edit the film.

indiephantom
02-22-2004, 04:40 PM
anyone know how the first word in the title is pronounced, and what it means. The english title is "Switchblade Romance" and I know that isn't it.

Ash28M
02-22-2004, 04:53 PM
anyone know how the first word in the title is pronounced, and what it means. The english title is "Switchblade Romance" and I know that isn't it.

The Literal translation for Haute Tension is High Voltage.

zombi3
02-22-2004, 05:07 PM
It would probably cost them more money to take the time to re-edit the film.

They didn't seem to mind going out of their way to cut Beyond Re-Animator, the bastards.:fire:

Grim
02-22-2004, 05:16 PM
Good point. Maybe they'll decide that the gore is "artistic" because it's a foreign flick and keep it in. :D

Cujo108
02-23-2004, 03:04 AM
Thanks for all the review praise! Anyways, when there's gore in this film, its quite graphic. I'm almost sure it'd get an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, but then, maybe they'll surprise me with a R, though its doubtful. The question is if Lions Gate will release it uncut, or continue their new trend of censorship.

Mattster
02-23-2004, 07:20 AM
What about the French DVD? Is it uncut?

Cujo108
02-23-2004, 07:25 AM
The French DVD is uncut. No English subs though if that applies to you.

Nasty Nate
02-23-2004, 08:22 AM
This looks really good. Can't wait to see it.

Hellbilly
02-23-2004, 08:42 PM
Here's a review of the French DVD, for those interested:
http://www.horrordvdtalk.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=1303

bensunt
03-11-2004, 12:49 PM
You can find some pictures of the killings here : http://www.devildead.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=28150&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=345

I didn't have the opportunity to see the movie when it was released in July last year in France, I finally saw it two weeks ago when it was released on DVD and I think this is one of the most disturbing and violent movie I have ever seen. To be honest, it was quite of a shock. I don't really imagine this movie released in an uncut form in the USA. In France it was prohibited for people under 16 years, and that is extremely rare.

It is a real shame that the French DVD has no english subtitles... but technically it is pretty hallucinating. The picture is simply perfect and the full rate DTS track is far superior to the DD and adds a lot to the "haute tension" of the movie.

indiephantom
03-12-2004, 06:12 PM
just ordered the french DVD...hell I'm Canadian, and it is said to be minimal dialogue so I'm sure it won't be an issue. I recall seeing "La Femme Nikita" this way years ago and it was great.

Lions Gate could take forever and not be in uncut or in DTS. :glasses:

Nasty Nate
03-13-2004, 12:01 PM
I think actually knowing what they're saying in the dialogue would spoil this movie for me. It's more powerful in a foreign language. Can't recommend the French dvd enough. Awesome fucking movie.

Hellbilly
04-23-2004, 12:25 AM
Finally watched this and damn, it blew my mind away.
Such a great and bloody film, love it.
I can only urge anybody to get the French DVD like, right now.
You won't regret it.

Cujo108
04-28-2004, 01:58 AM
Lions Gate has delayed this gem's release until 2005.

SaviniFan
05-02-2004, 05:13 PM
I'm quite sure that I read somewhere recently that Lions Gate had intentions of releasing this film theatrically with an NC-17 rating. Wish I could remember the source.

thrashard76
05-03-2004, 08:02 AM
Lions Gate has delayed this gem's release until 2005.
Bastards! :mad:

adric
06-08-2004, 07:51 AM
i cant decide if i should by it on ebay but they only have the cut version. should i just wait til lion gate releases it

IGotsNewShoes
06-08-2004, 09:53 AM
Lions Gate has delayed this gem's release until 2005.

Until then you can just watch the first half of Dean Koontz's Intensity miniseries over and over again..

Grim
06-08-2004, 12:48 PM
Eh', I'll just pick one up at Horrorfind.

adric
06-23-2004, 11:17 AM
i just got this movie and i liked it alot even tho ive noticed a few big plot holes and such but its still very good and gory

Ruiner420
08-28-2004, 10:52 AM
Anyone have any word on when the DVD for this will be out in America?

Ruiner420
08-28-2004, 10:53 AM
Any word when this will be release on Dvd in America?

Hellbilly
08-28-2004, 11:10 AM
Anyone have any word on when the DVD for this will be out in America?Sometime in 2005 I'm sure.

Ichi
08-28-2004, 01:21 PM
I have a asian (Thailand I think) version of the movie. Uncut and WITH english DUBB. And the picture quality is pretty good...

Grim
08-28-2004, 02:06 PM
Any word when this will be release on Dvd in America?

First it's getting a theatrical release in Spring/Summer of 2005, so expect the DVD around Fall/Winter of 2005.

Ash28M
08-28-2004, 03:27 PM
I have a asian (Thailand I think) version of the movie. Uncut and WITH english DUBB. And the picture quality is pretty good...

I think i'll hold out for a version that's Uncut with English Subs. I hate Dubbing most of the time it ruines the feel of the film for me.

Ichi
08-28-2004, 07:59 PM
I think i'll hold out for a version that's Uncut with English Subs. I hate Dubbing most of the time it ruines the feel of the film for me.

Understand. But the dubbing was done well, and there arent much dialogues.

shift
10-13-2004, 08:13 PM
This fucking movie rocked!! Loved it.

DVD Connoisseur
10-24-2004, 06:53 PM
Great review. Watched the Thai release last night (just over 4 delivered!!!) - simply superb movie, completely gripping tale which crosses into the taboo areas normally only contained within the most outlandish Asian movies, eg, Untold Story.

As well as being a real andrenalin rush, this film is visually stunning with enough of the red stuff to satisfy any gorehound. Another strong contender for my film of the year....

BoredSeal
11-07-2004, 06:55 PM
It was well done except the ending. It made few moments in movie look illogical (especially the car chase). Or anybody has probably good explanation ? :)

Nonhosonno
11-07-2004, 08:32 PM
Saw the trailer for 'high tension' before Saw, it looks pretty damn good. Hopefully it will get a decent (and uncut) R1 release.

MrVess
12-04-2004, 09:25 PM
Is most of the plot stolen from Koontz, as many have alleged elsewhere, or does it "only" apply to the opening?

Paff
12-08-2004, 06:21 AM
Is most of the plot stolen from Koontz, as many have alleged elsewhere, or does it "only" apply to the opening?

I'd say about the first 2/3 of the film could almost be called a direct version of Intensity. The Convenience Store scene (I only saw the film version of Intensity, never read the book) is almost an exact copy.
It's the last 1/3 of the film, the "twist" that so many people despise, that it finally breaks out in it's own direction.

Ash28M
01-18-2005, 08:40 PM
Actually, even though i could care less how much it resembled Intensity. Possibly the release of this film could generate a DVD release of Intensity, I would love to see it.

dwatts
02-25-2005, 09:12 PM
Well, there are quite a few threads on this one, and I had to post my comments somewhere :)

First off, I was watching the German release which goes by the title "High Tension". It offers up a German track, a French track, and a dubbed English track. No subs other than German.

The quality of the transfer is stunning. One of those "one of a kind" releases, imo. It's a very dark and colorful film that could easily have fallen to pieces on DVD - but here it's so pristine it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Amazing.

The film itself? Very very good, imo. Lots of tension, lots of the red stuff, and good performances. I can't believe anyone on this site wouldn't enjoy the film - other than a couple of controversies.

Controversy one: The book angle. I don't know the book, never read it, and never seen a film version of it. To be honest though, the story here isn't exactly mind-blowing. While I don't know the book in question, the storyline as filmed in High Tension is pretty cliche ridden for the genre (which is not to say it isn't good, because it is) and it's just not something I can find myself getting too worked up about. Curious on the plagarism then, but it's not a killer for me.

Controversy two: The ending. Damn, I don't know what people are complaining about. As a fan of giallos, I found the ending very satisfying to be honest. Anything goes, and goes it does. How many slasher movies do we have with non-sensical endings? How many times do we have to put up with tosh like Jeepers Creepers where we have killers who kill because, you know, they're like.... EVIL and shit.... Nah, the ending was perfect for the film, imo. Loved it.

Controversy three: Dub verses subtitled. This film was good enough that I'd certainly like an english suib-titled version. The version I have has French, but no subs. Or it has the dubbed version. The dubbed version is quite good, imo. It did not in any way distract from the film for me. You know, I have a boatload of Italian flicks, as many people on this site do, and a lot of them are dubbed. Sometimes it is better than others, and this time it's pretty good. I don't understand the beef to be honest. Original langauge is best of course, but really, the dubbing here is very good.

All in all, this is an amazing little film, imo. The cinematography and DVD release (at least the German release) is shocklingly superb. If anyone has not seen this yet, don't wait any longer.

mystro
02-26-2005, 12:08 AM
The poster for the June 3rd, 2005 North American theatrical release is nice too.

Take a look...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=3876428608&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

dwatts
02-26-2005, 01:18 AM
Yeah - not bad. I love the "This poster is very hard to find" - yeah, until June :D

Ash28M
03-10-2005, 05:19 PM
Here's an interesting take on the twist ending i read off of FilmForce. It's kinda far fetched but worth a read none the less.

The film's huge twist is that there is no psychotic truck driver – Marie herself is the killer. One's initial reaction to this revelation is to generally assume that Aja has cheated his audience – if Marie is the killer, the film has some serious plot holes that aren't ever addressed. Walking out of the theater after the screening of Haute Tension, this was my initial reaction.

However, I had this niggling feeling that I'd missed something. Further reflection caused me to remember the film's opening framing device – Marie in a hospital, after being put through hell. This scene may be the key to understanding Haute Tension's plot twist – rather than viewing the events in the film as legitimate and happening in narrative real time, one must instead look at them as memories from a clearly unreliable narrator. Much like Kevin Spacey's character in The Usual Suspects, Marie's story is one that simply can't be taken at face value – therefore, the plot inconsistencies almost exist as a subtle reminder that Marie is telling us the tale, and that we can't take everything she says as the truth.

That alone is interesting enough, however, Aja takes things a step farther with his well-defined love for horror movies. Haute Tension appears to be an elaborate homage to a number of different genre films. The truck driver looks a bit like a gone-to-seed Michael Myers (if he ditched the Shatner mask and moved to France); he acts a bit like Rusty Nail from Joy Ride; he drives a truck not unlike the one The Creeper cruises around in while stalking his prey in Jeepers Creepers; a bathroom stalking sequence is lifted almost directly from William Lustig's Maniac; the beginning of the film has a great deal in common with Dean Koontz's Intensity; etc.

The question is, are all of these things simply ideas that Aja wanted to pay homage to in his film, or are they instead another sly way of telling the audience that Marie is making up all of these elements? There's no hint ever offered in the film that Marie is a fan of horror cinema, but is it really a stretch to imagine that she's included numerous horror film elements to her story in order to make it play as more believable and to portray herself in a better light? After all, she is supposedly a virgin, as the early dialogue points out – and aren't the virgins always the survivors of these films as opposed to the monsters?

This is the conundrum of Haute Tension – it's never readily apparent which scenario might be true. If initial reactions are any indication, then most people appear to be viewing the plot twist as a huge cheat on the part of the filmmaker. It's how I viewed it at first, and even now, after re-examining the film, I'm not entirely convinced that it wasn't. However, the above-mentioned plot elements certainly make a strong case for it being something more than just a weak twist in a standard horror film. It's unfortunate that the majority of Haute Tension's audience isn't going to be genre cinema literate enough to make that potential connection. Those of us who do, however, can certainly look at the film in a much different, and more intriguing, light.

Semerrill
03-10-2005, 05:27 PM
.

Hellbilly
03-10-2005, 07:05 PM
Thanks for using spoiler tags :rolleyes:

Semerrill
03-10-2005, 07:07 PM
your welcome hellbilly, no but honestly i dont know how to use a spoiler tag ill go and edit it out

Hellbilly
03-10-2005, 07:11 PM
your welcome hellbilly, no but honestly i dont know how to use a spoiler tag ill go and edit it out
's ok. I've already seen Haute Tension but I'm sure lots on these boards have not. As for using spoiler tags:

It's simple ...

[ spoiler ] ***** [ / spoiler ]

Just make sure to type those without spaces in between.

IGotsNewShoes
03-10-2005, 07:39 PM
Cool post Ash28, I've never seen someone describe a turd in so much detail. Filmforce obviously has too much time on their hands. I mean "the beginning has some similarities to Intensity" so the beginning of the film is how long according to them? 90 minutes?