I can only imagine what this film would have been if it weren’t for its horrible dubbing and god-awful ending. The title is a perfect representation of what the viewer will feel throughout the movie. Scenes in this film pumped my adrenaline higher than I think any other film has. The survival horror instincts of the main girl are spot on and the creepiness and elusiveness of the villain is a real treat. Unfortunately, the director (Alexandre Aja) decided to get fancy and make a horrible twist ending, which really hurt my liking of the film.
It all begins with a woman wearing a hospital gown and talking to herself. She has multiple injuries and we see through images that she just experienced a horrific fight for her life in a forest. We then learn that this was the dream (or was it?) of a young girl named Marie (Cécile de France), who is traveling with her best friend Alex (Maïwenn) to stay at Alex’s parents house for the weekend. The family is nice enough, which includes the mom, dad and an adorable little boy. As night hits, the mayhem begins as a creepy bloke decides to terrorize the farmhouse. What ensues is pure horror genius, with some of the most tense horror moments I have ever experienced. This movie is not for the faint of heart, as there are tons of blood and some sexual violence as well. It isn’t the most gruesome of the French extremity films I have seen, but it doesn’t lack for blood one bit. The movie ends up consisting of Marie attempting to save Alex from this crazed man. Unfortunately, the movie turns stupid due to the twist ending.
Why must horror movies try to be more than they are? All I ask for is horror in its purest form. Instead, this director attempts to make it something it's not. Many other films suffer from this same fate, but never before have I felt so cheated as I did with this movie. Viewers who are looking for scares will have plenty, especially if you are into very tense, high build-up situations. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this film contains some of the best hide and seek moments in horror. Not to mention the music (François-Eudes Chanfrault) is incredible, which really helps to elevate the tension within the viewer. With this in mind, the ending and dubbing are glaring issues that can’t be ignored and result in a heavy cut on my liking of the film.
Horror island receives a serial killer that is brilliant at what it does, but doesn’t truly understand who he is yet. One minute it is precise and brilliant, but what is brilliant unless the job is completed to the fullest extent? This movie brings the tension, but chokes in the end. Still, horror creatures should be on guard, because if this serial killer ever gets it all together, it will be a force to be reckoned with.
If you liked Haute Tension, you might also like The Loved Ones and Silent House.