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Haute Tension- outstanding new horror gem!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Justin_S, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I actually like the very end. The shot of Marie turning toward the camera with the Muse song rising in the background is solid stuff IMO. That's really a terrific use of a good song in the film. Gives it a very creepy vibe, IMO.

    BTW, I watched it again for the challenge last weekend and liked it more than I did last year. I agree with the comments of "enjoy it, don't think about it." It uses many cinematic cheats, but it's damn fun to watch. It may have problems, but I'd take most of these problems over the Scream-clone films any day of the week.
     
  2. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm gonna throw in my $0.02 & sing the praises of this film...I am a LONG time horror fan & very serious about my "studies" in the genre, just so you know, & I think HT is the best horror film I've seen since Audition (maybe even better on a "pure scare" level)...I took a chance on it & am glad I did, my friend & I were absolutley riveted...first movie I remember since childhood that made my chest hurt [​IMG]...can't recommend it enough & Lion's Gate did a great job on the transfer / sound too...
     
  3. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Paul,
    - The 'getting head' fantasy is Marie watching Alex sleep on the way to the car. This is kind of her default state of mind. It's seeing Alex showering that drives her into a murderous fantasty, illustrated by her masturbating.

    - Marie's wounding are mostly self inflicted when she confronts and attempts to kill the killer. Quite likely she lashed herself with barbed wire in the process. She believes the killer to be dead until Alex (understandably) lashes out and hurts her. At that time, everything begins to mesh together. She's alternately the killer intent on murder and Marie desperate for affection.

    - The van as you see it doesn't really exist. She takes 'a vehicle' from the farm and drives it to the gas station with Alex in the back. She then drives it off road and chases/hides from herself and confronts the killer in the greenhouse. What this vehicle actually is is never shown as Marie has no viewpoint of it. A saw would be pretty common for a rural fixer-upper farm (which it's described as), so I'm fairly sure that Marie grabs a rather mundane van which appears sinister and containing disturbing images of girls that she's fantasized about in the past.

    Remember that the vast majority of the film is what Marie sees. The film opens with how she understands the final section of the film goes, where she (alone) stops a car on the street after thinking she defeated the killer. She doesn't understand and possibly doesn't even perceive that she's been arrested. The only thing that stops the murderous juggernaut she really is was the fulfillment of her wish of Alex's love. From that point on, she's on cloud nine and doesn't realize she's been run through with a tire iron or that she's chained up in an observation room.

    I've given the DVD some good viewing and I'm really happy with it. The documentary features are pretty substantial, especially for a horror film. They really go into a good deal of depth and I really liked hearing about their priorities (get a good gore technician if you can only afford one thing [​IMG] ). I also really appreciate the subtitles as even those that spoke english were a bit hard to follow.

    If only it had the superb trailer. [​IMG]
     
  4. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    I've seen many people say the film would be better without the twist, but I disagree.

    I think the film would be weaker without it, because then it'd be your typical slasher story, albeit much better and more stylish than most. The twist gives it some added depth and allows Aja to play around with the conventions of the slasher subgenre. One such example is the mirror scene where he plays with our expectations of killers always revealing themselves in the mirror. It even has the musical buildup to such a revelation. The killer DOES show up in the mirror, just not in the way that we expect. I just love this, one of my favorite scenes in the film. Another little hint in the film that many seem to have missed is when the killer drops the bullets out his window, its actually Marie's hand. Like I mentioned in my review on page one, I just love all these little touches that Aja threw in there.
     
  5. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Yeah, I'm with you Justin. The film is strengthed by the ending, especially when you can reflect on the way certain stock sequences play out when revisiting it.

    I also like how she outsmarts herself. She cleans the sink and makes the bed, but her killer is so smart he feels the faucet to find water and checks the bed. But she's further shrunk up and evades capture.

    Also look at how the killer grabs the gas station attendant's hand. It's creepy how affectionate it is coming from a big guy like that, but if you think about it it would be almost seductive if you could see that it was actually Marie's hand. Of course, the gas station dialogue comes across as regular flirting if you didn't hear it from an ugly guy.
     
  6. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I agree and disagree with the whole "ending makes it better" opinion. On one hand, it makes the film more exciting, etc.

    On the other hand, it's a cinematic cheat. A twist that has no provocation and negates most of what we have seen. I know that you can fall back on the argument of "we were only seeing what Marie was thinking, so it works..." and I won't argue that. To me it was like a "What If" comic or episode of television; a chance to explore certain areas and relationships only to take it back in the end. Not a bad thing, and certainly effective in this case, but it's still a cheat.
     
  7. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Just saw it tonite. I was actually kinda frustrated with it UNTIL the end. Then I went, "Oh..." I was like "why are these 2 playing cat and mouse so stupidly and ineffectively?" Then it made sense. Listen to some of the commentary track and you hear the director's(? ) rationalizations for some of these issues people here have brought up. The ending made me like the film a whole lot more. Until then I was thinking, "The Video geek character in SCREAM would have a field day with this family and female lead. There are RULES to surviving a horror film!" This is why Joss Whedon developed Buffy. The antidote to some blond stupidly going down a dark hallway and getting attacked." But the ending worked for me. Without it I was getting bored. "Yup, female lead did something dumb again, why aren't you running into the gas station and screaming! Why can't the mom get away from a big, fat, old lumbering guy who walks slower than Michael Myers?!?? She just stands there."

    just my 2 cents
     
  8. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Very good "newer" horror film, one of the best I've seen in a long time. I thought the movie itself and the "twist" were brilliant.

    This was a very pleasant surprise for me, courtesy of a Euro-horror friend of mine who brought it to my house for our most recent Fright Night. I have since learned that audiences are very split on this film, either loving the "twist" or hating it. I thought it was brilliant myself, but it's difficult to discuss without revealing spoilers.

    This French films spends most of its time operating as a standard slasher movie, albeit a very well done one. The murders are definitely intense and graphic, but also the use of strange eerie sounds to set the mood is very well done and creates a frightening atmosphere. The killer is rather ordinary in appearance, and therefore much more terrifying than a Michael Myers or Jason.

    The eventual twists can put some people off, but I didn't see them coming and I completely got it. I liked the film enough that, the very next night, I watched it again but with my wife (who liked it too). It's one of those movies which benefits from more than one viewing, especially since you can approach it with a different mindset the second time you see it. Any objections to what some people consider "plot holes" is a lot of nonsense to me, and just means that those viewers didn't get it (I know how it's considered rude to say people "don't get" a movie sometimes, but this is a perfect example of one you either understand or you don't).
     

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