Essays · Movies

31 Days of Horror: High Tension

By  · Published on October 16th, 2011

When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline.

Synopsis: College students Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) and Marie (Cécile De France) journey into the French countryside with the intent of escaping the lure of partying and boys. They plan to focus on study while staying with Alex’s family in their quiet farm house. Unsurprisingly the picturesque country very quickly becomes frightening when an almost amusingly brutal killer terrorizes them.

Killer Scene

I won’t spoil too much but I will say that I knew this movie would be special when the killer, a creepy grease ball mechanic, is introduced sitting in his truck while using a woman’s severed head to pleasure himself. When he’s finished he drops the head out of the window onto the side of the road and drives off on his merry way to find more prey.



The kills in High Tension are incredibly brutal and almost no one regardless of age, species or gender gets off easily. The kills are creative but not to the point of being cheesy or overdone. Director Alexander Aja treats his kills very seriously and you’re pretty much guaranteed to wince.


I’m sorry to report that High Tension does not actually feature any actual sex. However you do witness a brief naked shower scene and a suggested female masturbation scene. Also…did I mention the killer uses a severed head to blow himself?


This film is riveting and certainly lives up to it’s title thanks to the fantastically grotesque killer. The setting of the remote and creaky old French farmhouse and it’s surrounding cornfields also add to the scary ambiance. The film features possibly the greatest collection of creepy old toys ever put to film. There are a couple silly fake scares but they are few and far between and for the most part the film is legitimately tense.

Final Thoughts

High Tension has an awesome killer and delivers on intensity in a way that seems to be missing in a great deal of other modern horror. It’s easy to see why director Alexander Aja went on to bigger Hollywood horror films (although it is arguable if he succeeded as well there). I must admit that High Tension suffers from one major flaw in the form of a massive plot hole twist at the end. Despite this disappointing conclusion the movie is absolutely worth watching as it delivers in style, intensity and imaginative kills.

Click here for more 31 Days of Horror

Related Topics: