High Tension – A Movie to Die For

Tagline: “Hearts will bleed.”

Every time I go to the video store, I’m assaulted by a new wave of low-budget horror flicks. Many have slick packaging and can boast either an award or critical praise, while others look like they were put together in the dark by rabid monkeys. Either way, the outside of the film often has very little to do with what’s on the inside. That neat-looking movie nestled in between Moulin Rouge and Runaway Bride may be a major disappointment, while the one on the bottom shelf of the back row may be surprisingly good. You rolls the dice and takes your chances.

This was my dilemma when I came across the French film High Tension. On the surface, it had all the elements that would drive a horror fanboy wild. Buff chick on the cover? Check. Buff chick holding a weapon capable of mutilation and carnage (in this case an industrial buzzsaw)? Check. High-quality design and clearly marked “Unrated”? Check.

And if that wasn’t enough, just look at some of the critical blurbs printed on the front and back of the case: “It will scare the hell out of you!” exclaims Dennis Dermody of Paper. “The best horror movie of the year!” cries Shawn Edwards of Fox-TV. “A must-see!” screams Time Out New York.

Nevermind the fact that I’ve never heard of Paper or Time Out New York. What did I really have to lose, besides an hour and a half of my life? With that thought in mind, I picked up High Tension and took it home. Hours later, the movie was in, and the lights were out.

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