Thursday, October 13, 2005

31 Days of Des' Horror Favourites: #19 Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance)

Why I like it: A lot of the movies you'll see in this list from now on are ones that play with the genre. This one does so in a few odd ways.

This movie is entirely devoid of humour. Not very often does this happen in a horror film. Laughter and fear are very closely tied at a fulcrum where sanity is fleeting. Ever laugh when scared? Ever try to make a joke when you're scared? Ever say "it's not funny" when someone laughs at a display of your fear? Yep...thought so.

Horror films, for the most part, rely on laughs to bridge scenes. Not that it's a bad thing. When the cook returns home to yell at Leatherface for destroying the front door in A Texas Chain Saw Massacre I almost piss myself laughing every time. It's hilarious. You will note later on that said movie appears higher in this list.

What makes this lack of humour (not a bad sense of humour, a lack of) interesting is it doesn't turn the audience off. The violence is brutal, unflinching and at times innovative. It offers a 500 mph movie with no breaks. At one point in this film (the bedroom scene) I held my breath. I was light-headed before I took another breath.

The twist is another way in which this movie plays with the genre. Director Alexander Aja (who is helming the remake to The Hills Have Eyes) weaves a tight little movie but drops very few clues to the outcome of the film. He takes what may be the message of the film and throws it at you like a monkey with a handful of shit. It shocks you almost to the point of absurdity. I will leave it at that and give a quick plot summary.

Two college girls go to one of their families' houses in the French countryside only to be stalked by a crazy truk driver who slays the entire family and takes Alexia (Maiwenn Le Besco) hostage. It is up to Marie (Cecile De France) to save her.

Doesn't sound like much at first but it takes a viewing to truly be able to discuss this film so I'll leave it at that.

Check these out:
-The Vanishing-aka Spoorloos, this Belgian film wrote the book on suspense and crazy endings. More about it later.
-Dead Man's Shoes-My favourite British film ever. A nice little horror gem as well. More about it later.
-Frailty-The closest an American filmmaker has gotten to something this nice. More about it later.
-The films of M. Night Shyamalan-Love him or hate him he is the American master of the twist.

2 Bitching, Moaning and Praise

Blogger Stacie Ponder said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but I think it was just released on DVD. Can't wait to get my grubby little hands on it!

12:00 am  
Blogger Des said...

Yeah I saw it in the UK. It comes with a high recommendation

2:45 am  

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