Alexandre Arcady

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High Tension Review


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Though he claims it was inspired by the classic '70s slasher classics of his youth, Alexandre Aja's High Tension is unfortunately as indebted to gimmicky pseudo-horror flicks like The Sixth Sense and Identity than Last House on the Left. A serial killer story undone by a lack of terror and a vicious view of homosexuality, Aja's film borrows liberally from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - including its narrative about a blond woman attempting to escape from a deadly fiend who, in the final scene, stalks his victim in the woods with a buzz saw - while failing to properly capture the sheer madness (or underlying socio-economic anxiety) that made Tobe Hooper's genre masterpiece pulsate. And without the scares necessary to sustain its bloody cat-and-mouse tale, this derivative, mildly nerve-racking thriller - shot in French but partially dubbed in English for its North American release - finds itself woefully unable to live up to its boastful title.

Marie (Cécile De France), a closet lesbian with short hair and a sculpted physique, reluctantly goes to stay with the family of her college pal Alex (Maïwenn) in their remote country home, a backwoods abode with few ties to civilization and no neighbors in sight. Alex adores her parents' new place, but the friends' first night in rural seclusion is rudely interrupted by the appearance of a hulking brute (Philippe Nahon, from Gasper Noe's I Stand Alone) who hogties and kidnaps Alex after slaughtering her kin (including her young brother, who's unceremoniously gunned down off-screen). Marie, a witness to the throat-cutting of Alex's mother from a bedroom closet, manages to conceal her presence from the intruder, and - after managing to surreptitiously hitch a ride in his blood-stained van - resolves to rescue her abducted pal and exact eye-for-an-eye revenge against the mysterious murderer.

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High Tension Movie Review

High Tension Movie Review

Though he claims it was inspired by the classic '70s slasher classics of his youth,...

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