Stop me if you’ve heard this one: two friends (Cécile De France and Maïwenn) drive out to a remote house for a getaway, which is rudely interrupted by a murderous maniac.
For the most part, this French horror film is an effective exercise in terror. The generic home invasion riff is nicely executed by director Alexandre Aja, who has subsequently been snapped up by Hollywood. Wisely, they’ve not remade Switchblade Romance. Yet.
This grizzly slasher acknowledges its debt to nasty classics of the genre, making it The Toulouse Chain Saw Massacre. Or wherever it’s meant to be set. The film’s impressive special effects are provided by Italian make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi, whose bloody work is splattered over some of Lucio Fulci’s goriest movies.
The original title is Haute Tension, and the tension doesn’t let up for a second. Until the stupid ending. The film’s anti-climax is one of those “wait, what?” endings, in that you watch it and go: wait, what? Not only does this completely screw up the film’s intensity, it also riddles the plot with more holes than its butchered characters.