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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2003!
HIGH TENSION, 2003
Starring Cecile De France, Maiwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun, Andrei Finti, Oana Pellea
Alexia travels with her friend Marie to spend a couple of days with her family in their farm in the country. They arrive late and they are welcomed by Alexia's father. Late in the night, a sadistic and sick killer breaks into the farmhouse, slaughters Alexia's family--including their dog--and kidnaps Alexia. Marie hides from the criminal and tries to help the hysterical and frightened Alexia, chase the maniac, and disclose his identity in the end.
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I do hold my hands up and admit that I am a cheap-DVD junkie. Bought because it was an 18-certificate and it cost £1, I did not hold out much hope for this film due to its title. I admit that itís not the most appealing of names, but please do not let this minor aspect put you off watching it as this movie really is a damn fine slasher film.
Marie (France) and Alexia (Le Besco) are two beautiful women on the verge of helping out at Alexiaís family home in the French countryside for the summer. Arriving in the midst of night, they settle down for their first sleep. That is until a mysterious, gruesome man arrives at the front porch and whacks Alexiaís father on the head with a hammer. As the movie progresses, each murder is just as bloody as the previous. A dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues until there is only one winner. The contest fought is not your typical board game, but a Michael Myers-esque cum Freddie Krueger bloodshed escapade which has to be watched by all.
There isnít a single movie which has made me reach for the nearest bin to be sick, and this movie has the proud label of being the first to do this. You find that in slasher films, the murders are often quite comical but here they are realistic and lifelike. The attention to detail of each emotion is quite amazing, and the quality of each murder is quite astonishing that, as previously mentioned, you really are witnessing an actual crime. This level of accuracy is obtained on many levels, with the first being the level of acting ability.
Having never heard of the two main actresses before, I was impressed to say the least with Cecille and Maiwenn. A full range of emotions are experienced, as at the beginning of the movie they are the best of buddies but towards the conclusion you see this mood change dramatically to utter despair. Even the personalities of said characters change as well, from happy to downright psychotic. One finds that if lesser talented actresses had been given this acting gig then this film would be laughable but it is completely the opposite and a special bravo must go out to them both for what they achieved here.
Actresses are not what they are without a fine director, and here they are assisted by a fine gentleman indeed. Alexandre Aja does a most excellent job convincing you of what we are seeing is real, and at no point does the action become laughable or mundane. Aja is quite the director here, as he does not intrude on the action and merely allows you to sit back and enjoy what you are seeing. Okay, I admit that the action is not always pleasing on the eye due to copious pints of blood being shed in what seems like every second of the movie but boy what a sight it is to see and a movie Aja should be proud of having directed.
I guess the only derogatory remark I can make about this film is the ending. It is somewhat confusing and does ask a far too difficult question for its audience to answer. Normally, at the end of a slasher film, you see the killer having disappeared or murdered by the person he or she was trying to kill. The punter who is attracted to watching such films want matters resolved, not confuse them. Okay, I admit to being satisfied by the ending but other audiences who are thrilled at the sight of a half-naked woman covered in blood (or The BBC Radio 1 generation as we call them in the UK) might walk away from this movie feeling a tad disappointed. Thankfully, I am not a member of this crowd but all I am stating is that the more simple members of society might not feel the way I do.
Surely a film which will be regarded as a classic in time to come, I for one will always regard it as such. Any film which makes me want to be sick because of its gory content will always be a movie held in high esteem, and I thank everyone who was involved in the production of this movie for its very existence. A superb movie which must be viewed by those who like their films a little on the murderous side.