High Tension

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
High Tension Movie Poster Image
This gruesome slasher movie is not for kids.
  • R
  • 2005
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Serial killer with dirty fingernails.

Violence

Slasher movie: lots of dead, dismembered, bloody bodies.

Sex

Girl masturbates in her bed, implied oral sex in a truck (with a severed head), blood makes girls' t-shirts cling to their bodies.

Language

Translated from French.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke and drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is not for children. It contains multiple horrific murders (by knives, axes, circular saws, and other sharp implements, as well as a shotgun), frightening and frequent jump scenes, a long shot of a girl in the shower, a girl's masturbation, a dead dog, drinking, smoking, cursing, an implied blow job (below a truck window frame) by a decapitated head. Lesbianism is associated with insanity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byThatDanGuy April 9, 2008

Disappointment

Fans of slasher films will enjoy this movie. I didn't see the theatrical release, but I did see the unrated DVD version. I imagine the unrated version co... Continue reading
Adult Written bymovienut713 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 February 13, 2012

Once in a while,nothing like a good big bloodbath for a movie break.

Well,this sums it up:Another big leap in French horror cinema.I'm 13 and I've seen tons of French horror over the years(Inside,Martyrs,Live Feed,Front... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySACYUC February 7, 2011

Prettty good, but not for kids.

Disturbing and shocking, the ending is one of the best that i've seen. Not a movie for kids.

What's the story?

This French-made film (unevenly dubbed into English for U.S. release) begins with two pretty college friends -- Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) and Marie (Cécile De France) -- driving in a cornfield, en route to Alex's parents' country home. They tease one another, flirt vaguely, and arrive just in time to head to their bedrooms. A lumbering, grunting killer arrives, brandishing a huge knife, wearing filthy overalls and a trucker's cap, his face rarely in frame. Following the loud murders of Alex's mother, father, and little brother, the killer chains her up and kidnaps her in his van, promising to ravish and abuse her. Marie follows, determined to save her friend, and so seeming like the slasher genre's usual Final Girl, at once frightened, resourceful, and increasingly violent, by the end mirroring the killer's tactics in her efforts to save Alex.

Is it any good?

Gruesome and knowingly derivative, HIGH TENSION delivers what it promises: bloody violence, nubile young bodies tense with pain and fear, and screaming victims. If you expect and want to see a peculiarly old-fashioned, low-budget ugliness, this self-serious movie is unsurprising but also quite aware of its ancestry.

Borrowing liberally from 1970s slasher movies by Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven, this film tacks an intriguing addition to standard horror conventions by showing Marie in a closet as she witnesses a slaying, a scene that suggests her responsibility as voyeur. A twist toward the end further challenges conventions and underlines the genre's illogical presumption that viewers take pleasure in observing pain. Making the pain almost too close -- with repeated jump scenes and uncomfortably close camerawork -- the movie doesn't grant much moral or visceral space.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring appeal and specific gender dynamics of slasher movies. Formulaic and brutal, this subset of horror usually features two types of girls (sometimes overlapping): fearful victims and resilient fighters, as well as monsters whose defeat translates into their own emasculation. Does their doubleness make female characters seem untraditionally strong or stereotypically frail? How does the rural class setting or underclass killer reinforce stereotypes of ignorant, brutal "hicks"?

Movie details

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