Friday, December 14, 2012

Haute Tension (A.K.A Switchblade Romance) (2003)

Alexandre Aja probably is a familiar name to many of you due to his remake of The Hills Have Eyes his pulp flick Piranha en the more serious Mirrors. Though if you really want to see the best this guy has made so far i'd recommend the French ''Haute Tension''.

Alexia travels with her friend Marie to spend a couple of days with her family in their farm in the country. They arrive late and they are welcomed by Alexia's father. Late in the night, a sadistic and sick killer breaks into the farmhouse, slaughters Alexia's family--including their dog--and kidnaps Alexia. Marie hides from the criminal and tries to help the hysterical and frightened Alexia, chase the maniac, and disclose his identity in the end.

The film had just began as I realised i already had a lot of sympathy for this film. The bright collors during the drive through the countryside of France (although IMDB says it's shot in Romania) look like you're watching something from the seventees which I love in movies.

Haute Tension has a continually tension that gets mostly created by something simple like a ringing doorbell in the middle of the night. The lovely morbid soundeffects thoughout the film work really well aswell. 

The badguy is also woth mentioning. It quickly gets clear that this guy has a pretty sick mind (unless getting your dick sucked by a decapitated head is normal in France). His sick head and eyes lurring under his hat and his imposing posture in his blood smeared work suit make it tough to like this guy (like a killer should be: dirty, gross, creepy and sick). 

The havoc that he leaves behind is even a little bit scarier. There are tons of great kills that are done by special effects artis Giannetto De Rossi who is Italian (which other nationality can make such amazing, bloody and realistic effects...?). Though Alexandre Aja should get a lot of credit to. He often manages to create a great atmosphere that reminds me of the 70's and 80's horror flicks and he even throws some giallo influences in the mix which turn out great aswell. Visually Aja does great to. The camerawork and coloring are often very, very good and create some very nice images. 

The ending is incredibly surprising and while it might take away a little bit of the film the second time you watch it it still is an amazing and clever final to a great movie.

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