Haute Tension

Bomb Rating: 

Warning: major spoilers.

Someday, somebody out there in the great, wide world will come up with an original idea and it will be appropriately lauded for its originality. The ideas in "Haute Tension" don't meet that criteria. The fact that a movie uses ideas that haven't been seen in two or three years (in an American release, at least) does not make it original. Apparently, the jackasses who create these marketing campaigns base their idea off the response cards of 18-year-olds, whose short-term memory of the horror genre is mostly due to the fact that two or three years ago they were watching Winnie-the-Pooh.

The film does deserve some sympathy due to the fact that what is being shown in America's theaters is a stripped down, dubbed version of the original European movie. Who knows why some idiot at Lions Gate decided this was the thing to do. Probably they make less money with an NC-17 rating, so they let some editor chop out some gore instead of releasing it in two versions.

Why they dubbed it at all I'll never know because some of the movie is dubbed and some is subtitled and it's distracting as hell. The basic story is that Marie (Cecile De France) travels with her friend Alex (Maiwenn Le Besco) to Alex's parents' home. A killer (Philippe Nahon) shows up in a truck and starts hacking everyone to pieces. He abducts Alex, failing to recognize that Marie is in the house. As she tries to rescue Alex, Marie is locked in the truck with her and off they go.

The secret (spoiler) to the film is that Marie is the killer, which is one of those "twists" that's supposed to be interesting for some reason. For me, it just makes me think back and question everything in the film. Basically, upon that revelation, I realize that the filmmakers have just spent the last 90 minutes showing me a lot of stuff that didn't really happen. Seriously, one could do this in any film. Maybe we could change the ending of "Casablanca" to reveal that Humprhey Bogart was really Ingrid Bergman all along and in love with herself. As far as I'm concerned, having been done in numerous films, this trick is a screenwriting cop-out and a laughably bad choice.

The subtext in "Haute Tension" has to do with Marie's lesbianism and the manifestation of her dark side in the form of this killer. Perhaps this is interesting to some people who think about lesbianism all the time or have decided it's a psychological condition. I don't care whether a character is a lesbian or not a lesbian. I do care when I'm watching two distinct people on screen and one turns out not to be real. As far as I'm concerned, it's a complete waste of my time.

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