Sunday, October 27, 2013

My years in horror: 2003

No, I can't say that Freddy vs. Jason was the best horror movie of 2003, even though it is a lot of fun to watch and made a ton of money. Part of me even wants to give this to Underworld except that I think that is more of an action movie with horror characters. I have to give this spot to the French film Haute Tension (High Tension) even though the ending does not make one lick of sense.

Let's skip to that ending, shall we? If you haven't seen Alexandre Aja's flick yet, you'd better just stop now, watch it, come back later. Because I'm going to spoil the whole thing.

Just like the ending spoiled an otherwise great film.

The central plot is that Marie and Alex are friends. Marie drives with Alex to Alex's family home in the French countryside. Intercut with moments of the two young women enjoying their relaxing trip are scenes of a faceless pervert killer doing his thing. The killer, his face constantly in the shadows, kidnaps Alex and Marie and does unspeakable things, especially to Alex and with Marie watching. Eventually Marie turns the tables and it appears that we'll have a traditional final girl vs serial killer showdown. But no. Aja throws the ultimate twist: it is in fact Marie who killed Alex's family and tortured her.

Now this would be OK except for all the times earlier in the film when we were shown Alex and Marie doing things together when the killer was out doing other things. Is this an American Psycho style twist in which the nutjob never did anything, just imagined himself doing things? You could argue for that, but I don't buy it. And that's too bad because otherwise, Haute Tension would be one of the best of these type of movies ever made. I dig Aja and his work since this film, but that ending messed the whole thing up.

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