—About this Film
Just returned from seeing High Tension, also known as Haute Tension in it’s original French Format. This film, dubbed and edited from the original French version carries a understandable ‘R’ rating and is being billed as one of the most violent movies ever made. Even the girl selling me the tickets to see the movie warned me; “Oh man, that movie is really gory and gross.” I wasn’t looking forward to the gross part but was looking forward to the “intensity” the movie trailers seemed to portray.
Speaking of Intensity, from the previews I was amazed at how much the story line resembled the Dean Koontz story of Intensity of which Fox Television did a miniseries in 1997. When originally seeing the trailers at the theater some months ago I said to my wife; “That looks just like Dean Kontz’s Intensity.” “Yea it does to me too.” She replied. To say the least I am shocked that more haven’t made this comparison. After seeing the movie, I am even more shocked.
Let me make something perfectly clear here, right off the very start. I believe that High Tension is a direct rip off of the Dean Koontz story Intensity, and unfortunately, I haven’t seen this referred to in the press, or comments regarding this movie. Almost line for line, without the character detail, and story development, High Tension is exactly out of the Koontz story, that is until the very ending of the story. From the opening harrowing scenes, to the closing confrontation on back wood streets, the story is directly from Dean Koontz.
With that said, I must say that knowing this and seeing this I was disappointed throughout the movie, so my opinions were already prejudiced. Prejudiced from the perspective that Koontz is a wonderful story teller who tells stories that are intense and riveting. He always develops heroes or heroines that the reader can appreciate. While complicated, they are someone that can be admired. Without giving much away, that can not be said for High Tension. While we are looking for heroes we eventually come to a place of confusion where we see individuals fighting within their own lives over the power of love and the power of evil.
The search for love and the recognition of evil within each individual is in part what this story is all about. It is the reality that all persons are evil that helps hit that message home, and hit it home hard during the conclusion of this movie. The search for understanding, and the need to be loved is the only characteristic that can break down evil within any individual. This component reminded me of the passage out of Romans that states that; “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The message of even our heroes being evil or having the potential of evil is delivered in thought provoking way here. The message for the need of love of each individual also hits home. It is one of the things that makes the message of Christ so important. The old John 3:16 passage still has meaning. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not die, but will live forever.” The sacrifice of Christ came at a terrible ! cost. The cost which included a great deal of blood. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”
High Tension does not go easy on the blood that is shed during this movie. It is gory, and gross. It is excessive and a movie that I would strongly recommend that parents keep young children away from. To be honest, I don’t think I would even take my 15 year old to see this movie. That does not change the fact though that youth will flock to see this movie. They will devour the gore, and unfortunately likely not understand the twist at the end or the message of each person struggling with their own battle trying to identify the good, and the evil within each of us.
Technically, this movie is done quite well. While it is a direct rip off of the Dean Koontz version of Intensity, it is still a story of an individual searching for love, and an individual willing to search deep within to find the courage to take on the evil around them. It is a story resembling in some ways of Flannery O’Conner’s story A Good Man Is Hard To Find. We see that with the face of evil, good people die, and even innocent children often times get caught up in the crossfire of that battle.
Is this a story that everyone will enjoy? Heck no, you might even say that very few people will enjoy it. I didn’t and wouldn’t want to see the movie again. I found myself cringing at the extreme usage of violence and found myself appreciating the mini series of Intensity far more. Don’t get me wrong, the intensity is still in High Tension, but I preferred the intensity in Intensity, without all of the gore.
I won’t recommend that you see this movie, that doesn’t change the fact though that there are valuable lessons we can all learn from it and talk to others about who do see the movie. Helping each person understand that they themselves are struggling and battling the good and evil within them is a worthwhile discussion. Helping them understand that love conquers all is a good topic of discussion, and ultimately helping them understand the one who delivers ultimate love is an even better topic of discussion.
On a scale of 1-10, for the number of people who die taken away from 10 I leave a disappointing 4