Cecile de France, Philippe Nahon. A group of college girls are terrified by a knife-wielding maniac who invades their secluded French farmhouse. Written and directed by Alexandre Aja. 2003/color/95 min/NR.
Home to some of the world's best food and fashion, the French also have the wonderful habit of producing some of the world's best movies. With High Tension
, French director Alexandre Aja offers up a bloody buffet of terror; a violent concoction of style over substance, with a bloody French twist. Two college girlfriends, Maria and Alex, take a weekend to study at the secluded country home of Alex's parents. Shortly after their arrival, a mysterious killer appears, and things take a shockingly terrible turn for the worse. As the horror and body count rises, Maria and Alex find themselves fighting for their lives, and it's revealed that things are not exactly as they seem. Essentially a one-act cat-and-mouse affair, High Tension
is an explosive bloody thrill ride that rarely lets up. Oozing style in every color-saturated frame and boasting some intense performances, Aja mainly succeeds in sustaining an intense momentum throughout the film. The plot occasionally suffers from a thin, flimsy storyline, and the abundant graphic scenes of violence will either thrill and delight, or simply disgust. Nonetheless, this adrenalin-fueled addition to the genre gives the American slasher flick a real run for its money. High Tension
is high-art horror, and comes highly recommended. --Matt Wold