A Rated R Movie that Lives Up to the Rating. Movies You Need to See: High Tension

This horror thriller puts the slash back in slasher film, taking the viewer on an adrenalin filled ride of death and mayhem that is rarely see in today’s overly watered down horror films.

By: Justin Dee


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)For far too long studios have watered down horror movies in order to label the films PG 13 in an attempt to make more money. However, this 2003 French horror thriller from Alexandre Aja is one of the hardest R rated movies in the last decade.

This French Horror Film originally received a in NC 17 Rating from the American ratings system.

  • Release Date: June 18, 2003
  • Staring :Cécile de France, Maïwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon
  • Budget: €2,200,000
  • Gross Revenue: $6,291,958

Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) on the left and Marie (Cécile de France) as they cower from the maniac down stairs.

High Tension centers around two college friends Marie (Cécile de France) and Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) who decided to spend the weekend with Alex’s parents in their country home. Mayhem ensues when an intruder kills Alex’s family and takes her hostage, living Marie to save her friend from this homicidal maniac.

Ethan Alter, of Film Journal International, called High Tension refreshing and wrote in his 2003 review that the film takes full advantage of the R rating.

Alter went on to write “What really gets the audience involved are the tense moments before the blood starts to fly. And, as the title implies, High Tension is filled with those sorts of beats. In its best moments, the film is reminiscent of such seminal slasher pictures as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes .”

Philippe Nahon plays Le tueur (The killer) is a French a born actor best know for roles in horror thrillers such as The Pack

UTC student, Steven Redd, described High Tension as an exceptional slasher film saying ,” Its also interesting to see how our crazy, inbred, redneck fantasy has influenced the horror genre internationally.”

The acting in High Tension is better than most films of slasher film genre. Maïwenn Le Besco and Philippe Nahon do very good jobs with the material, but the film rests on the performance of Cécile de France. The fear, forcefulness and determination adds to the tension in the film title and makes the viewer care about the victims and their situation.

Cécile De France is currently staring in Clint Eastwood Hereafter along side Matt Damon

The films ending has been a source of contention for fans and critics alike. Love the ending or hate it you’ll enjoy the ride getting there.

High Tension served as director Alexandre Aja catapult into Hollywood. After High Tension Aja was taped to direct 2006’s Hills Have Eyes remake, 2008’s Mirrors starring Kiefer Sutherland, and 2010’s Piranha 3D.

High Tension is currently available on DVD.