Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: High Tension

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Directed by: Jennifer Kent
Language: English
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 93 minutes

Some time ago, my workplace received quite a bit of horror thrillers in its collection. This movie is one I've heard from several people and talked about in lists and reviews. Most of the comments I vaguely remember were positive about it; a movie that horror lovers should see.

Alexia and Marie are two college friends that decide to take a vacation to Alexia's family farm in the country. Alexia's father is very welcoming of Marie's arrival and getting to know her. One night, a sadistic killer breaks into the farmhouse and slaughters Alexia's family, including their dog, and kidnaps Alexia. Marie unfortunately witnesses the slaughter and chases after the maniac to free her precious friend.

This movie is a cross between a revenge flick and home invasion. I was in a lazy mood at the time when I watched it, so I watched it with the English track which has some awkward dubbing. I guess they could've matched the lip movements a little better, but it wasn't voiced terribly. Unfortunately, at times, it did take me out of the movie, but the action did make up for it some. Our main characters, Marie and Alexia gave me enough to care about their cause. Throughout the movie, I was amazed how badass and driven Marie was to save her friend and that she wasn't shying away from her more than friendly feelings for her either. It was kinda surprising for that sort of emotion to be revealed, of course the ending conversation about it was truly memorable, even though it has been seen before. The obvious most entertaining scenes to watch Marie in were the chase and hiding segments with her and the killer. There's definite tension built and you tend to tense up a little when you think she's going to get discovered or even surprised when her plan doesn't go as well as you would expect.

For all you gore nuts out there or the ones that believe that every horror needs, there's plenty of brutality and blood to keep you satisfied. For someone like me, I didn't think it was overly done. It was just the right amount of violence and gore featured in such a movie. When Marie and the kidnapper go toe-to-toe, it makes you want to cheer on Marie each time she makes contact. It's definitely exciting. As for "scaring the hell out of me", this movie didn't succeed in doing that at all. It's not that scary of a movie to me, but it might be scary to someone. It does have some nice tense moments in it and the payoff is usually pretty satisfying. The captor is successfully intimidating and does pose a believable threat. The acting is pretty good and it's easy to attach basic feelings to these characters, mostly our antagonist, Marie, and Alexia. I'm sure watching the movie in its original language could've pulled me in a little further and I would be less distracted by the dubbing, but the English audio isn't awful, just not synced very well.

High Tension has a very appropriate title by offering its viewers plenty of tension as well as entertaining action and a decent payoff. The characters are interesting enough that you want to root for them and see the villain suffer. There's enough gore to satisfy current horror fans, but not too much that puts off older fans of the genre. It's just enough violence that it feels absolutely satisfying. The ending may be a bit cliche, but I thought it was an interesting resolution to this thrill ride of a movie. If you haven't seen, check it out. It's definitely a fun ride!

Rating: 3.5/5

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