Richard reviews Haute Tension \ Switchblade Romance

Posted by on 14. 06. 2005in Reviews

HauteTension.jpgIt struck me that I’ve seen Haute Tension or Switchblade Romance some time ago and that a lot of the US sites are just reviewing it now, so I’ll copy up the review from my site on here. Big notice up front, this review is spoiler free, and therefore quite short. Be very wary that there are many spoilers out there, and I would advise not to get drawn into one, so read mine!

Oh my god. Without a doubt I have not been affected by a movie this much since watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was well under age and the movie was certainly more than dodgy. I couldn’t sleep after watching that and was very uneasy, multiplied a gazillion times by the imagination of a kid. This certainly had a similar affect on me, it scared me and horrified me, it even surprised me more than any other movie has of late.

If you have any preconception about foreign cinema being weaker to Hollywood then you have hardly spent enough time watching foreign cinema and too much time engrossed in poor romantic flicks with Clooney et al. You really need to get out and grab some of that Japanese, Spanish and French cinema action. It’s easily had and there’s a lot to it, far better movies…anyway, I find myself digressing again.

From the outset this movie pitches itself as a hard horror, it isn’t going to pull any punches and it’s going to show you like it is, harrowing and horrific. That said, the story then turns to a slower pace and you find that it’s mixing the suspenseful thriller in with the moments of full on horror, and it’s done so well. Too well in fact, and watching the psychotic at work is sometimes shocking.

It rides a fine line between schlock horror and suspense horror, it manages to combine the two without falling into a complete gore flick. It is gory mind you, very gory. I was eating a couple of biscuits during the movie and I stopped until it was finished, even then I wasn’t sure.

That’s where this movies strength lies, it really pushes the boundaries of between those two types of movies but keeps its feet firmly in the suspense, and tension area. The film is exceedingly tense, and it’s raised slowly to begin with, but creeps up at every set piece, and it’s not long before the shocking and surprising final set piece is upon you. That in itself is terrifying, and as it unfolded on me I was stunned.

Part of me thinks that this movie could have done much better without all the horror, but I’m not sure that the film would have carried on the tension and suspense alone, it’s the very presence of the horror that adds to and heightens the pressure.

A very stylish, tense film, truly a suspense-thriller-horror to be proud of from the French. Please Hollywood, don’t remake it.

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5 Responses to “Richard reviews Haute Tension \ Switchblade Romance”

  1. Dark Matt says:

    Nice review - I feel the same and am now looking forward to Aja’s next project… Could be just what the Hills have Eyes (great title) needs!!

  2. Bombadil says:

    It speaks to the quality of the movie that I liked it despite having big time problems with it. The return of shaky cam, that mind crunching soundtrack they used to build tension piping through the theater and the fact that after their big surprise half the film ceases to make any sense. That said, again, I enjoyed it.

  3. Darth Muppet says:

    Good movie… Only thing is, except for the end it’s pretty much just a scene by scene rip-off of the Dean Koontz book “Intensity”.

  4. CBlaze says:

    ** Possible Spoiler - I don’t know - I ruined the 6th Sense for plenty of people and I want to cover my butt!**

    I loved this movie - up until the ending then I hated it! I agree this movie really drags you into it and gets the tension flowing within you - they did an awesome job at that! But the ending DID NOT make ANY sense - because of two words - car chase! That’s all I’ll say…

  5. Mark Gossett says:

    I agree with all; we have our say. We all knew it was a cliched horror flick going into it. What struck me most was that at it’s center it’s a very twisted love story. I have thought about this movie nonstop. I agree w/the comparison to Koontzs’ intensity which is why I ran out and bought it! This is truly a gem and my favorite movie. Cecile de france is built and frinkin gorgeous. I also agree; HOLLYWOOD LEAVE THIS ALONE