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High tension - DVD Review

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After hearing from certain critic and fan circles that High Tension was the horror film of the year, my interest was certainly peaked. After all, since I was a little kid I've always been a sucker for a good, sharp, visceral scare-fest... preferably one that has a few brains to go with the blood. Ever since the crushing disappointment (at least in my eyes) of Saw, my expectations have been tempered a bit when hearing how great a new fright flick is. That film had a great premise, good plot turns, and a horribly over-acted and ludicrous ending that undermined the whole thing.

And sadly... High Tension is no different. In fact... it's worse.

You have to go with me on this... I'm not biased in any way, and I really wanted to like this film, especially since it's one of my favorite genres. The problem with High Tension isn't the acting or in the premise, but in the unbelievably silly and stupid plot twist that hits you over the head like a sledgehammer about 3⁄4 of the way into the flick. Up until that point, the flick had me running on all cylinders, and even watching it through my fingers. Cecile De France (Marie) plays the lead with a lot of guts, conviction, and with no small amount of sex appeal. She had me at hello from the moment she appeared on screen. For the first 2/3 of the movie, we had a surprisingly brutal and nostalgic fright flick that made me remember the early days of Wes Craven and Dario Argento. At only 90 minutes in length and with 75 of them expired, I was smiling like a little kid and was sure that I'd be adding this one to my home collection in about 4 months when it hit DVD. Sadly, that feeling didn't last, and the only reason I'll see it again now is to marvel at how it all went so horribly wrong.

I don't mind twists in films, in fact I'm more forgiving of them than most. I loved the recent additions of The Machinist (one of my absolute faves last year), and even The Village to the twist genre lately. They were both smart films that used the twist to shed light on (and even enhance) the plot that came before them. High Tension however, seems to be using it as a gimmick, and no amount of explaining can make up for the gigantic plot holes that the twist creates in the overall film.

If you can't contain your enthusiasm, and simply must see the only horror film on the market right now, then be my guest and enjoy the hell out of the first hour, because it really is quite a blast. Director Alexander Aja certainly knows his horror films and he has a great grasp on how to make a film truly terrifying (and disturbing). Just don't berate the box office attendant too badly when you're demanding your money back 30 minutes later. It's not his fault.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English, Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: French: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; director's commentary; making-of featurette; cast and crew interview.

* Audio Commentaries - With writer/director Alex Aja and writer Geregory Levasseur.
* Featurette:
o Making-of featurette - Make-up Fx
o Building Tension
* Music Highlights
* Trailers:
o Original theatrical trailer
o Bonus trailers

Number of discs: 1 - Keepcase packaging.{pgomakase}

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