by Chris Lovato
Since it is Halloween month, we thought it would be fun to have new KRL writer, Chris Lovato, share with us in our Monday Movie Reviews some movies on his Halloween Must Watch Movie list. Feel free in the comments to share some of your own!
If the title stood out, then one could turn their focus to another gem mostly unknown to American audiences: Haute Tension or, for those who don’t parle le francias, High Tension, directed by Alexandre Aja, of The Hills Have Eyes fame.
Set at a quiet cottage in rural France, this tale finds friends Marie (Cécile de France) and Alex (Maïwenn) visiting Alex’s parents in the country to study. Their “vacation” is cut short by the arrival of Le tueur (the Killer, played by Philippe Nahon), who savagely murders Alex’s parents and kidnaps Alex. The harrowing hours that follow test Marie’s limits, and she’s desperate to get her best friend back. As soon as Marie wields the bat wrapped in barbed wire shown on many of the film’s posters, the tension hurtles right toward the gripping conclusion. I won’t give away what happens, but I will say that it’s well worth the wait and nail-biting suspense.
While one might find de France’s performance a bit awkward at the beginning, she evolves into someone who runs on pure adrenaline. However, she ably transitioned with her storyline, culminating in an unforgettable performance, when everything is said and done. Aja’s choice for Alex definitely fit the bill and Maïwenn’s portrayal follows the arc of the film to the very end. Of course, no “slasher” film would be complete without our killer. Nahon fills the boots, and fills them well!
The special effects peak early on with the murders of Alex’s parents, but in true Aja fashion, they’re elegant, yet bloody. To get the full scope, one must rent the unrated version; otherwise, one will miss some truly spectacular deaths. Perhaps the most impressive “special effect” was the bat with barbed wire–watch the film, and find out why.
Overall, I didn’t expect much out of this film at the beginning, but by the end I had more than I could handle, as this film truly lives up to its name. If you can stomach subtitles (it’s in French, and a so-so dub if you can’t), it’s well worth the 91 minutes. Add this one to your Halloween Watch List.
Fear Factor 5/5
Overall 5/5 (Seriously, watch this movie)