I can only imagine what this film would have been without its horrible dubbing and god-awful ending. The title perfectly represents what the viewer will feel throughout the movie. The scenes in this film pumped my adrenaline higher than any other film. The survival horror instincts of the main girl are spot on, and the creepiness and elusiveness of the villain are a real treat. Unfortunately, the director (Alexandre Aja) decided to get fancy and make a horrible twist ending, which 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 parent's 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. Pure horror genius ensues, with some of the tensest 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 blood. The movie consists of Marie attempting to save Alex from this crazed man. Unfortunately, the film 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 as cheated as I did with this movie. Viewers 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. The music (François-Eudes Chanfrault) is incredible, which helps to elevate the tension within the viewer. With this in mind, the ending and dubbing are glaring issues that can’t be ignored, resulting in a heavy cut on my liking of the film.
If you liked Haute Tension, you might also like The Loved Ones and Silent House.