“High Tension” is aptly titled, to be sure.
I gnawed my way through half a box of Cheez-Its watching this highly stressful bloodbath from France, which pits a deranged stranger against a young woman hellbent on rescuing her kidnapped female crush.
The movie opens with two young ladies on a road trip, stopping along the way to spend the night with one of the ladies’ families on their isolated farm. Then, for no discernable reason, a greasy, pot-bellied man in a van straight out of Mad Max drives up in the middle of the night, knocks on the front door and, when the father answers, bashes him in head with a claw hammer.
The stranger methodically and brutally kills the rest of the family – even chasing down a little boy in a cornfield – leaving only the daughter, whom he snatches and tosses in his murder van. Only he’s unaware of the extra in the house who, as luck would have it, was the only one to hear the attack and so removes all traces of her existence before the stranger comes into her room.
Of course, she never gets around to putting on shoes, but hey … killer on the loose … details are apt to be overlooked.
She hides IN THE VAN with her friend … gets out … there’s a chase through the woods, a store clerk is murdered … there’s a fence post wrapped with barbed wire … lots of blood and guts … a giant circular saw … and then things get weird.
Turns out there was no stranger. It was the girl the whole time. She was the stranger. She was the one who killed the family. She was in love with the daughter and wanted her all to herself. At the end of the film, she’s handcuffed to a hospital bed, covered in blood and scars, mumbling, “I’ll never let anyone between us.”
Confused? Me, too.
There were plot holes in “High Tension” big enough to drive a Mad Max truck through. Never mind the fact that one of the first scenes in the movie showed the stranger … well … to put it delicately … pleasuring himself with the decapitated head of a previous victim, which he then tosses out the window near the farmhouse where the family lives.
Writers and directors have a tendency to overthink things, getting too smart with a script. What I love about the likes of “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” is that it’s all gore for gore’s sake.
“High Tension” got the gore part right, but the ending … highly confusing.
Brett Buckner is watching a horror movie every night in October for #StarHorrorfest. Follow along on Twitter @bbuckner32 or AnnistonStar.com/Horrorfest.