Combustible Celluloid
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With: Cecile de France, Maiwenn, Philippe Nahon
Written by: Alexandre Aja, Gregory Lavasseur
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
MPAA Rating: R for graphic bloody killings, terror, sexual content and language
Language: English and French with English subtitles
Running Time: 85
Date: 06/18/2003

High Tension (2003)

2 Stars (out of 4)

'High'-way to Hell

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This French-produced horror film has enjoyed a decent bit of internetbuzz, and now opens in the United States, albeit in a strangepartially-dubbed, partially-subtitled version that runs about a minuteshy of the original to qualify for an "R" rating. Ultimately, none ofthat really matters as High Tension proves to be a dud of a horror film,using every conceivable jump/shock technique in the book, as well as atwist ending that doesn't work and betrays everything that came beforeit. A French hottie, Marie (Cecile de France) with Jean Seberg hair,joins her best friend Alex (Maiwenn) for a weekend at Alex's secludedfamily farm house. Out of nowhere, a creepy, mouth-breathing redneck(Philippe Nahon) in Michael Meyers-like overalls shows up and begins tosystematically slaughter everyone in the house. He kidnaps Alex, butMarie manages to follow undetected. Most of the horror depends on thealmost supernatural survival skills of both killer and huntress, andit's hard to swallow. Director Alexandre Aja does manage to generate acertain amount of suspense, but almost always fails to control orsustain it. Sadly, the twenty-something Aja will next remake WesCraven's The Hills Have Eyes.

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