23 January 2006
Pick of the Day: Haute tension [High Tension] - dir. Alexandre Aja - 2003 - France
A prime example of how popular American cinema (particularly those within the limitations of genre) has plagued the international circuit. High Tension owes a lot to the grizzly American horror-slasher films of the 1970s. For its first two-thirds, it's one of the most suspensful, grueling horror flicks in years. Aja composes each scene with the maximum amount of suspense and (fitting) tension. Unfortunately, High Tension also owes its demise to Hollywood's current horror mold. While it seems at first that High Tension is deservant a place with some of the great slasher flicks, Aja promtly kills it with a twist so painfully awful you almost don't want to say you liked the rest of it. Despite its fierce marketing campaign stateside, High Tension bombed at the box office -- though I might blame some of its failure on the poor word-of-mouth the Internet splatterpunk geeks gave it after Lions Gate chose to cut some of the gorier shots and dub half (!) of it into English. Aja's currently working on a Hollywood remake (surprise) of The Hills Have Eyes... and though his directing talent within the genre shows more than a little promise, he's also cowriting the screenplay with his collaborator from High Tension. Scary.