January 30, 2009

DVD Review: Haute Tension (2003)

Sub-Genre- Slasher/French Horror
In Attendance- Me, Eryn and The Vanilla Gorilla.
Cast Members of Note- Cecile De France, Maiwenn, and Philippe Nahon.

This is a story about love, lesbian undertones, insanity, and home invasion. It's also a cautionary tale, as many French Horror movies are, about the dangers that await innocent people in the rural French Countryside; just trust me when I tell you to always stay in the city. There's death in them thar hills.

Just stay in the city!
When a creepy old French delivery dude comes knocking on the door of a rural home in the dead of night, we all know what he's delivering... death! Cold, hard death. After killing everyone while they're in their pajamas, he kidnaps a hot chick, which prompts another hot chick (who was hiding like a coward during all of the carnage) to give chase, in an effort to save her dear friend. I say "friend" but what I really mean is secret lesbian crush... because somebody's got one!

Maybe don't open the door for this guy at night. Or ever.
What comes next is a bloodbath of epic proportions, a creepy love story, and a really confusing ending. I won't spoil the ending for you here, other than to say that it's really confusing, and we had to watch the movie again to fully grasp all of its nuanced tricks. Yeah, this movie tricked us a lot.

Really, it's a love story. Aren't they all?
What isn't good about this movie? There are those that will complain that the "twist" ending ruined the movie, but really, it didn't. Not one bit. In fact, once you see it, the ending makes the second viewing better, and more challenging.

Does the title High Tension refer to sexual tension and repressed desires? Maybe. At the beginning when we hear Marie say "are we recording?," does that mean she's recalling the events from her point of view, to satisfy her own sense of self-righteousness, or is she being deceptive? I can't say for sure.

No matter what did or didn't happen, this is a movie that challenged us, and stayed with us long after it was over. This movie is an instant classic that needs to be seen by anyone who truly loves Horror. Gritty, bloody, nasty, and even thought provoking... this is a Must Have for any good Horror collection.

This bitch right here...
I'm going to bitch about the ending really quick here; not because I hated it, but because it really threw me for a loop the first time that I saw it, which pissed me off. It left me feeling cheated. Of course that feeling didn't last long, and after seeing the movie again, I was completely fine with how it ended, but I can totally see how some people would react angrily to its conclusion.
It was the damn Bear's fault!
Can kids ever escape horrific violence in French Horror movies? And for that matter, what about the dogs? I guess if you're cute and or cuddly in these movies, you're pretty much as good as dead.

I'm eventually going to need therapy.

Poor little Jean Pierre Luc Francois never had a chance... in this movie or in life.
This is probably one of the bloodiest movies the I've ever seen. The violence in this one is presented in such a realistic and in-your-face kind of way, that it makes everything seem that much more grim and hopeless... which is a good thing, if you're sick puppies like us. It's definitely a bit hard to watch at times.

I especially like the scene involving the buzz saw... This is really great stuff.

You're singing? Now?!?
We get to see some boobs, and a hot/odd masturbation scene, other than that though, this movie isn't much on the sexy stuff.

They totally dropped the ball in this one as far as potentially hot lesbian scenes go.
"I won't let anyone come between us any more."

All women are crazy. Also, I need one of those crazy French vans.

The look of love.
Hate the twist ending or not, this is a spectacular film, and one that the Horror Genre really needed to pump some life into the lackluster early 2000's. Bloody, tense, engaging, and ultimately disturbing, this one is a must own for anyone who loves Horror flicks..


Haute Tension is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.


Worst romance ever... but at least it had some hot participants.


  1. Awesome site Dude! The Gory'er the better. Keep up the good work.

  2. RhinocerousLip BumcrackFebruary 5, 2009 at 6:54 AM

    This film also had a first in any genre. A chick lying on a bed and fingering herself whilst listening to U-Roy on her headphones. That bit did it for me on both levels!

  3. I am really kind of bummed you guys watched this one without me. I just watched it on fearnet, after hearing you talk about it the other night. I have to say, this is more than likely going to become one of my favorite horror movies of all time. Would have been cool to have gotten the rest of the groups thoughts after seeing it. We perhaps next time.. Take it easy, blog is looking great!

  4. I'd watch this movie again anytime, so I'm sure we can sit and check it out. I'm sorry you missed it too babe.

    Also, the version you saw on Fearnet wasn't the unrated version!

  5. Hey whenever your ready, I'm in. I absolutely LOVED this movie, and it freaks me out more than a little that what I saw was the tamer "Rated" version.

  6. How many movies can have that "Twist" ending before it gets old? It had gotten old for me before I saw this... so it kind of ruined it for me. The gore and action and etc. were awesome, though - so I can roll with the A rating. I'd just recommend skipping the last 10 minutes or so.

  7. I agree, Obsidian. I personally hate "twist" endings for the most part, but keep in mind that this movie came out about 10 years ago, so that type of swindle wasn't as common back then.

    For some reason the ending of this one doesn't piss me off, although I'd abosulutely prefer it had a straight forward ending, and plot in retrospect.

  8. I loved (LOVED!) watching this film in the theater all those years ago. I've also been trying to catch everything with the lovely Cécile de France ever since. And let me tell you, she's been in a lot of mediocre fare over the last ten years...

    I seriously have no idea why I never saw HAUTE TENSION again. Having the DVD gathering dust on the shelf since the day it was first released. Still in its original shrinkwrap and all. Will have to do so soon.

  9. Great flick. Suspenseful and terrifying.

  10. Interesting fact, the girl who plays Alexia (Maiwenn) is the ex-wife of the great director Luc Besson. She plays the annoying singing whale thing in the otherwise badass Fifth Element but more interesting was that she is the actual basis for Mathilda in Leon: The Professional as Besson married her when she was 16, which isn't frowned upon in France.

    The more you know.

    1. Never knew she was the basis for Mathilda. I've always thought of Leon as a love story (obviously not a sexual or even a romantic one), and that kind of makes it a sure thing for me now.

      Thanks for the trivia, Daniel.

    2. Anytime. I too found it quite interesting. The original script was far more "direct" with Mathilda and Leon's relationship but Besson was willing to downplay it for the sake of hiring the fresh talent that was Natalie Portman who's parent where wary of that approach.

      All in all Leon: The Professional is one of my favorite films and I've always found their relationship a great part of it.

      PS Great review I've always enjoyed Haute Tension.