From Rotten Tomatoes I knew before I saw this movie that there is a twist near the end that many critics feel ruins the whole thing. Now I’ve seen it. Many critics are right. Wanna know what the twist is? It’s in my list of movie cliches, right at number one, so click here if you want to know.
My dad would really like Marie.
The twist wouldn’t be so damning if High Tension weren’t fully equipped to be an excellent straight horror movie — just a little recutting and maybe a reshoot of the same scene at the end and you would have had a fine flick. It sets the mood, gets you nicely attached to the characters, looks good, sounds good, creeps you out early. And it did some new things, like:
- The heroine doesn’t ride to the rescue as soon as the stranger breaks into the house. Seems like an American horror movie would have the protagonist running downstairs with a baseball bat. The cheap shot here would be fa fa fa of course she’s wimpy, she’s French! But she proves tough enough soon, and the scenario makes you ask yourself: what would you do if you were in a strange house when someone broke in? Would you really run downstairs with a baseball bat? I`d like to think so…
- There’s a nasty voyeuristic element to one of the killings that’s a hardcore throwback to horror from twenty years ago. At the same time, there’s some raping that’s implied but not shown. The overall effect makes you more sensitive to the movie’s violence, not less. Rock on.
- The villain is menacing, smart and incredibly evil. He coulda been part of a hell of a franchise, except for that crappy, crappy twist.
See, once you know the twist, nothing makes sense anymore. Where did the killer’s truck come from? Did Marie have a secret evil towing company bring it in? What’s the point of all the pictures of other girls? What’s the point of the scene with the killer and the severed head at the very beginning? How does a 120 lb woman take out a whole household (including a gratuitous death-by-furniture)? What’s supposed to have happened in the gas station? Why does the attendant unlock the liquor cabinet in the security tape when Marie’s the *only one there*?How does one person wage a two-vehicle car chase? AAARRRGH!
Yeah, I didn’t care for it, either.
That’s the overview. For further details, I hand off to my horror buff friend, Alan, whose details are forthcoming.