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Switchblade Romance
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Switchblade Romance (2003)

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Plot Summary:
"Two female students, Marie and Alex, set off to Alex's parent's secluded homestead in the country to relax and study. Come nightfall, Hell pulls up at the front door. Alex is now bound and gagged, taken off, with Marie alluding the intruder. Can she save her friend's life in time? Or is everything all that it seems."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 05 February 2005 My Rating: out of 5


I have to say that the positive reaction to Alexandre Aja's French horror movie, coupled with the mention of a twist ending ultimately left me expecting a lot from this film, and also made me question certain aspects more than I would normally.

There is no denying that the film is expertly crafted what with excellent use of vibrant colour, clever camera work and strong editing that makes good use of music and sound to enhance the production. The visual effects are also similarly well handled by Gianetto De Rossi.

The performances from Cecile De France and Philippe Nahon are amazing, and Maiwen provides excellent support to the proceedings also, and they all deserve even more praise due to the fact that there is hardly any dialogue in the film.

My favourite aspect of the film was the atmosphere created by Aja, through use of creepy locations and ambient sound, but the gore which was actually the most memorable I have seen in ages added to the fear factor.

The film is a punishing tour de force that does not allow you to breathe from start to finish, as it is filled with such an atmosphere of dread that you expect the worst the entire time.

Although I was initially a little disappointed as I had come to expect an amazing piece of work, this film has grown on me and deserves the credit it has received. If you know nothing about this you will be shocked and probably horrified by the time the film ends, but I found myself noticing clues which ultimately didn't leave me as stunned at the climax as I probably should have been.

Reviewer: Garth Thatchuk @horrorasylum
Location:Alberta, Canada
Review Date: 08 March 2004 My Rating: out of 5

Haute Tension tells the story of two female classmates, Alex and Marie. Wanting to get away from the distractions of the big city and study for their final exams, the two decide to drive out to a secluded farmhouse that Marie’s family lives in. Shortly after their arrival, a brutal killer forces his way into the house leaving much carnage and kidnapping Alex. After witnessing first hand that this psycho has no problem torturing his victims, Alex tries to figure out the best way to save her friend.

I was very worried for the first 15 minutes of the film, not much really happens. The story seemed to be a very uninteresting character piece. Just as I thought that the movie was going to be a big let down, something very rare happened. This movie grabbed a hold of me, and took me for quite a ride.

The Director, Alexandre Aja, did an amazing job of creating some “edge of your seat” suspense, but also includes some of the most beautifully lit scenes in modern film history.

This movie is not just about creating tension, like the title says (High Tension), but contains some of the most imaginative ways of killing people that I have seen from a mainstream film in a long time. All of the make up effects were top notch are done by long time Fulci favorite Giannetto Rossi.

Haute Tension does something that very few foreign Horror films have done; it includes many rich and vibrant tributes to the American Horror films that all of us have grown to love. I will not go into details, but the films referenced include everything from Texas Chain Saw to Jeepers Creepers. Not bad considering that the Director is just 24 years old.

Even with a slow start and a twist ending that comes out of nowhere, Haute Tension should still prove to be a film that satisfies fans of 'old school slasher ' horror. I praise Alexandre Aja for making one of the most beautifully shot films that has the balls to contain some great gore. Watch for some excellent 'tips of the hat' to the original masters of '70s Horror. Look for this film to be released sometime in Sept/Oct of 2004 in North America.

And just a quick note for those of you worried about having to read the subtitles: Do not fear my friends, there is not a lot of dialog after the first 15 mins. Highly Recommended!

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