`Tension' is one gory event after another

MovieReview

June 10, 2005|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

High Tension is an inept Gallic version of an American psycho-killer/stalker movie.

Intended for the global market - one girlfriend is French (Cecile De France), the other is American (Maiwenn Le Besco) - the action centers on a Yankee family's isolated French country home.

The movie is a model of multinational incompetence, complete with dubbing and subtitling that criss-cross for no apparent reason. The picture tries to hook us with a shot of a working-class sadist (Philippe Nahon) who, after a sex act in his ugly van, tosses a female head from the driver's-side window. (The image proves to be a cheat.)

Then it moves on to a gross extended massacre - complete with razor slashings and a makeshift beheading - and a final chase filled with threats of rape and murder and one last gory killing with a chainsaw. The twist becomes obvious when you notice the size of one girl's arms.

The only reason for High Tension's existence is to remind us that France invented Grand Guignol.

High Tension

Starring Cecile De France, Maiwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Released by Lions Gate

Rated R

Time 85 minutes

Sun Score no stars

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