High Tension (2003)
High Tension is a French foreign horror film. The movie was made in 2003, but released in the US in 2005. You can watch the film with subtitles or have the French dubbed over in English. Some people don’t like watching movies with subtitles. Others don’t like watching a movie that has been dubbed over in a different language because the lips don’t match up with the words. I have never had a problem with either format, but sometimes it is good to know what you are getting yourself into before watching a movie like that.
The movie is about two college girls, Marie (Cecile De France) and Alexa (Maiwenn), who vacation to Alexa’s family’s house in the country, way out in the middle of nowhere. The girls planned on getting a lot of studying done in the quiet remote home. What they didn’t plan on was getting a strange visitor in the middle of the night who turned out to be a murdering psychopath.
The first time that I watched this movie was in 2005. It was around the time that the movie Saw (2004) was popular. Horror movies had begun to master bloody brutality. Blood and guts seemed as real as they had ever been on screen and horror movies were celebrating this fact. High Tension joined the party of gruesome graphic violence.
It’s hard to enjoy a movie of this kind. However, the shock value throughout the film is highly prevalent. It’s disgusting and disturbing. It’s vile, but full of horror. The unspeakable acts of violence depicted in High Tension are grotesque, but the filmmaking is superb.
The soundtrack in the movie is spine-chilling and it only serves to magnify just how obscenely intense the film actually is. High Tension is the perfect title, because that is exactly what the movie is full of. The film may simply be a slasher strictly for the shock value, but it is one that will keep you on edge waiting for what will happen next. It’s like a horrific car wreck that is hard not to stare at. You don’t want to see it, but you cannot look away. The grisly images become a stain that you can’t seem to scrub from your mind.
The film is a bloodbath. It’s one of the bloodiest, most vicious movies that I have ever seen. If you couldn’t handle watching Saw, then High Tension is probably too much for you.
I don’t usually like this type of movie, and it is not one that I could watch often, but for its genre, the filmmakers did an excellent job. I know good filmmaking when I see it, and I’m not going to fault the film because of its genre. High Tension is the ultimate slasher with a twist.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
The Conjuring (2013) (Click on the title for my full review)
I have mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of horror movies. They are a dime a dozen these days and usually slasher films that lack a plot or a point. That being said, I recognize when a movie looks like it could be scary and I do appreciate a horror movie if it is done right. James Wan has shown us that he is capable of making brutal bloodbaths that he calls movies i.e. Saw (2004) and Dead Silence (2007). But, when Wan directed Death Sentence (2007), he proved that he was very capable of making an awesome thriller.
From the preview, it appears that Wan has toned down the blood and decided to go more for the thrills. It shows that it might have some potential.
The film is set to hit theatres on 7/19/13. Should be a good movie to bring the wife to.
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained was a bloody masterpiece in film making. Quentin Tarantino did a fantastic job writing and directing the film. He even gave himself a fun cameo appearance in the film as he often likes to do in his movies. He has a tendency to choose the perfect actor for each role in his films. Somehow Tarantino seems to have the power to obtain the best possible performances out of each and every actor in all of the movies that he makes and Django Unchained was no exception.
As with most of Tarantino’s films, Django Unchained was a carefully executed and well scripted exercise in goriness and vulgarity. I think that this excitement and intensity that is shown in previews often will actually turn a person off from seeing the film. They may think that the film looks too violent or too R-rated.
These days there are so many straight-up violent movies filled with so much unnecessary blood, torture, cussing, and pure evil such as Hostel (2005) and its sequels, or Saw (2004) and its almost yearly sequels. It seems like the main intention of those films is to see how far they can push the envelope in gruesomeness. They always have to one-up the previous film of its kind.
When Quentin Tarantino first started making movies it seemed like they were almost strictly for shock value i.e. Reservoir Dogs (1992) or Pulp Fiction (1994). Don’t get me wrong, both of those films were solid movies in their own right, but they lacked meaning and story. They did however, have great characters portrayed by superb actors spouting very colorful dialogue.
In recent years Tarantino has perfected his craft. He has successfully penned films with true meaning and spectacular stories. His best example of this is Inglourious Basterds (2009) and I believe Django Unchained to be his second best film. Although his films continue to be extreme, they are no longer strictly for shock value. They are very edgy, but they will entertain you if you give them a chance.
Christoph Waltz delivers an unquestionable Oscar worthy performance in Django Unchained. The funny thing about that is that I thought his performance in Inglourious Basterds was also without a doubt, valuable enough to receive an Oscar. Waltz did in fact; win back to back Best Supporting Actor Oscars for both Tarantino films. At the rate that he is going, I would not be surprised if Christoph Waltz wins another Oscar in a Tarantino movie in the future.
In Django Unchained Waltz stole the show. Jamie Foxx did a wonderful job as Django, but his performance was overshadowed by Waltz. Leonardo DiCaprio would have won a Best Supporting Oscar for his role in the film if Christoph Waltz wasn’t in it. If Dicaprio had given the same supporting performance in a different movie in any other year besides 2009 or 2012 he would have won the Oscar. Arguably the only performance better than that of Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained was that of Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds.
There were so many excellent actors in this film, that if I tried to list them all, I would certainly miss a few. A few more certainly worth mentioning were Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson and James Remar. James Remar (probably most known as Dexter’s adopted father in the television series Dexter.) actually played two different characters in the movie, but nobody seemed to notice. I caught it right away though and I thought that it was a little weird.
Django Unchained is a new-age Spaghetti Western of epic proportions with heart and soul, splattered with lots of blood and violence throughout. It definitely deserves an R-rating, but it also definitely deserves a watch. I have wanted to see the movie for a long time and I almost went to it about a dozen times in the last couple of months. I’m glad that I finally saw the film.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.