Two college students, Marie and Alexia, are spending some vacation time at Alexia’s parents’ house. A mysterious man shows up in the middle of the night and turns their lives into a living hell.
While all of the films I’ve recommended over the past month are movies I love, this movie I adore. This isn’t just one of the best horror movies ever made, this is one of the best MOVIES ever made.
The name High Tension is perfect for the film because once the man shows up, the film moves at a breakneck pace that doesn’t slow down for a second. I didn’t want to wait to see this in theaters (it was already on DVD in France), so I imported the film six months before it was released in the US. I was so enamored by it, once it was over, I watched it again.
When it finally was released in US theaters, they butchered the hell out of it. A large part of what made this film so intense was because they didn’t shy away from the violence. Some of the scenes were incredibly intense, and the violence showed they weren’t messing around.
I went to see this in the theater to support the film and was infuriated that they edited out most of the gore. By removing something that was essential to the film, it undercut the experience and made it much less terrifying. This wasn’t violence for violence sake. This was violence that showed just how malevolent a force they were dealing with. By removing many key scenes, they took the “tension” out of “High Tension.”
Thankfully, the DVD has the full uncut version. It is a movie that I’ve seen numerous times, and it never loses its punch. It holds nothing back, it has no comedic relief, and it never turns the camera away from the horror. This movie doesn’t glorify the violence; it showcases it as how savage the world can be. It delves into the mind of a complete psychopath and creates one of the most memorable movie experiences I’ve ever had.
Dean Koontz’ “Intensity” was the most intense novel I have read. I saw this on the big screen one Saturday. I was surprised at how closely it followed the first third of the novel. I later showed it to a Dean Koontz fan, who got very angry, how they “stole” or “ripped him off”. I thought it was a better adaptation than the mini-series based on the novel.