Haute Tension (2003)

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Haute Tension is a French slasher film starring Cécile de France and Maïwenn. It was released in France in 2003 and in the U.S. in 2005. The film is considered as part of the New French Extremity movement.

Cécile de France plays the role of Marie, a college student who tries to save her best friend, Alex (played by Maïwenn) from a serial killer. In the end, however, the serial killer is really Marie. She is obsessed with Alex and only wanted Alex for herself. Marie created a second persona in her mind to murder Alex’s family and the other victims. The “Killer” (played by Philippe Nahon) appears to be a sexually obsessed man who tortures and murders mainly women. When Marie kills the Killer, it is implied that the killer is Marie’s “alter-ego” as they appear alternately during the murders prior.

Haute Tension is an okay film. I liked the psychological aspect of it but I am not a fan of the gore. When I did some background research, I found that the American version cut certain parts of the French version to follow the R-rating from the MPAA. One part that comes to mind is the killing of Alex’s brother. In the French version, he is seen being shot by a shotgun. In the American version, it is implied that he was shot. It is interesting to see American censorship compared to French. Also, I found it interesting how TIME magazine put this film on its “Top 10 Most Ridiculously Violent Films” list. This was seen as controversial. I agree with the magazine because this movie was graphically and ridiculously violent.

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