High Tension (2003)

high tension poster 2003 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 6/10

Some good visuals

Potential for a good film is wrecked by a bad writing

Movie Info

Movie Name:  High Tension

Studio:  EuropaCorp

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 18, 2003

MPAA Rating:  R


After this, let’s have a pillow fight!

Marie (Cécile de France) and Alex (Maïwenn) are best friends.  They are headed out for a weekend in the country at Alex’s home and plans to study for their exams.  When a home invasion by a big burly man occurs during the night, Alex’s family is killed, and Alex is taken hostage.  It is up to Marie to free Alex and save her from the killer.

Directed by Alexandre Aja, High Tension a horror thriller.  After a successful run in Toronto, the movie was picked up, but heavily edited for American audiences to receive an R-Rating…the original cut is available on DVD and Blu-Ray releases.  Critics tore apart the film, but the film received a large cult following.


I need to stop a killer and pick up some beer.

High Tension is pretty gory during the violent attack scenes.  Blood and guts (and heads) fly frequently, plus there is some graphic sexual stuff going on.  It is played for shock, but by the end of the movie, does have some validity due to a twist ending.  Compared to some of the other big torture killing films (Saw etc.), it comes off as more of a slasher, though the killer doesn’t have much personality throughout the film.

The acting in High Tension is so-so, but it is negated a bit by horrible dubbing.  Fortunately, there isn’t much dialogue, but with little dialogue, I expect the script to be much better than it is.  The twist ending to the film really does a number on both the acting and the writing.


Oh yeah…let’s kill!

*****Spoiler Alert***** You can’t talk about High Tension without talking about the end.  It is revealed near the end of the movie that Marie is crazy and responsible for the killings.  She pursues Alex (with a concrete saw) switching between her burly killer persona and Marie.  The beginning of the movie shows Marie in the hospital so you could perceive this as all a dream which would explain the horrible gaps in continuity and logic…it doesn’t really.  It just seems like a cop-out way for the writers to act like the twist works.  There are such big gaps in logic that regardless of the craziness (cars disappearing/reappearing, general character reactions, etc), it doesn’t even make sense.  For a much better version of a similar storyline, check out Fight Club or Mulholland Dr.…they get it right.

High Tension isn’t a very good movie.  Aja does provide some good visuals, but a below average story (also partially written by Aja) just causes this movie to flop in my opinion.  With so many great horror films, films with twists, and even gore films, High Tension doesn’t feel like it deserves the credit it has received.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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