As promised, then, my third review exploring the recent (and, until recently, overlooked by myself) French horror New Wave – of the films that I have touched on thus far, Haute tension (Switchblade Romance) (2003) by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Mirrors (2008), Piranha 3D (2010)) is far and away the least successful, but that’s not to say there isn’t some good stuff here for jaded horror hounds.
The plot is simplicity itself – two French college friends, Marie (Cécile De France) and Alexa (Maïwenn Le Besco), are spending a break at Alexa’s parents’ quiet country home, when a complete psychopath (a lumbering, chilling performance from Philippe Nahon) arrives at the door, kills everyone except Alexa (whom he ties up) and Marie, who manages to escape then sets out after him when he makes good his own escape with Alexa still held captive.
Interestingly enough, it’s based on a work by acclaimed horror writer Dean R. Koontz – quite how he managed to contrive the ludicrous, nonsensical twist that brings proceedings to a close into a novel is beyond me, but what the film does at least manage, thankfully, is a genuine sense of dread along with the by-now seemingly obligatory bucketfuls of blood. Nahon as the killer is a singularly horrible creation, combining brute force with sheer implacability, and De France’s blood-soaked terror and desperation is a very creditable turn.
Oh, but that twist. Of course, I can’t reveal it here, but I would be intrigued to read any intelligent defence of how it makes *any* sense at all – my thanks in advance.
91 mins. In French.