User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 72
  2. Negative: 20 out of 72
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  1. Jan 13, 2013
    3
    Not a good movie. This film is sooo boring. The twist at the end was the most disturbing thing. I mean what the hell..... I also cant understand that this film have so much gore and blood in it?! Before i watched the film i thought i get much more and blood to see, like in SAW. But in the end this movie is a standard horrormovie like nearly every horrormovie. "2 Teenagers drive across theNot a good movie. This film is sooo boring. The twist at the end was the most disturbing thing. I mean what the hell..... I also cant understand that this film have so much gore and blood in it?! Before i watched the film i thought i get much more and blood to see, like in SAW. But in the end this movie is a standard horrormovie like nearly every horrormovie. "2 Teenagers drive across the countryside to their parents after some time they get kidnaped and they must escape!" This is soo boring!! Expand
  2. ChadS.
    Jul 31, 2005
    4
    The twist in "High Tension" is so improbable, you have to wonder if this is some sort of art house revenge against the popcorn flick. This French import plays like a straight-faced send-up of the surprise ending trend in the ongoing slate of horror/thriller films that started with M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense". You get the feeling that the filmmaker is thumbing his nose at The twist in "High Tension" is so improbable, you have to wonder if this is some sort of art house revenge against the popcorn flick. This French import plays like a straight-faced send-up of the surprise ending trend in the ongoing slate of horror/thriller films that started with M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense". You get the feeling that the filmmaker is thumbing his nose at American moviegoers who covet them. Had "High Tension" not violated any physical laws, and the implicit responsibility that the artist always maintain a modicum of respect for the patron, this brutal film could've been interesting like how The Prodigy's video for "Smack my Bitch Up" was by changing the hunter/hunted relationship with a little tweak in the traditional gender assignation of roles. In the midst of "High Tension('s)" asinine revelation, there is terribly violent, but terribly effective scene involving a chainsaw and misguided female desire. "High Tension" is secretly arch. A committee of Hollywood screenwriters might've written the third act without a Dadaist agenda (or a clue that the film is incoherent), but not the French. "High Tension" is subliminally saying, "You Americans. You stupid, stupid Americans." Expand
  3. Riren
    Mar 4, 2007
    3
    High Tension has a twist ending that's simply been done too much now, and this is the worst execution of that particular twist ending to date. I won't spoil it for you, but honestly, this thing has been too many times to be novel, and too few times to be acceptable when repeated. It's like a slap in the face after you've put up with all the overreaching "tension" of High Tension has a twist ending that's simply been done too much now, and this is the worst execution of that particular twist ending to date. I won't spoil it for you, but honestly, this thing has been too many times to be novel, and too few times to be acceptable when repeated. It's like a slap in the face after you've put up with all the overreaching "tension" of the movie. The movie earns its credit with disgusting (if occasionally physically implausible - you can't behead someone by pushing a bureau against them) deaths and its dirtier, more realistic vision of the world. It can certainly make you squirm, but not as often as a horror lover might hope. Indeed, its ultimate lack of substance is the most bothersome part of the film, until you realize there was supposed to be something deeper going on all along. Then it all falls apart, in a pile of gore. Expand
  4. Court
    Jun 10, 2005
    10
    This was a great movie, unlike all of the plotless money-earners that directors are peddling out. Had an awesome twist ending.
  5. DrakeD.
    Nov 20, 2005
    5
    Well, I've been waiting quite a long time for this movie to come out on dvd and when i whatched it, it seemed a waste of time, but it kept me thinking throughout the movie. it deserves a 5 no more though.
  6. RobbyT.
    Oct 9, 2005
    7
    Honestly, High Tension is not a good movie... but I loved it! it is the definition of what a horror movie was supposed to be ten years ago. So get out your official Slasher handbook and let's run down the checklist. Weapons: axe, butcher knife, barbwire, shotgun, chainsaw, revolver, switchblade. Check. We'll obviously need a dark cornfield (must be easy to get lost in). Check. Honestly, High Tension is not a good movie... but I loved it! it is the definition of what a horror movie was supposed to be ten years ago. So get out your official Slasher handbook and let's run down the checklist. Weapons: axe, butcher knife, barbwire, shotgun, chainsaw, revolver, switchblade. Check. We'll obviously need a dark cornfield (must be easy to get lost in). Check. Cut the phone lines. The police should be of absolutely no help. Check and check. Stir in some nudity and extremely graphic violence (including, but not limited to, decapitation). Check. But wait... there must be a twist... one that has been used so much that the viewer almost might not be expecting it. Check. How about some creepy music? Muse's "New Born" fits so perfectly in this film that it is amazing it wasn't tailor made for it. Bottom line: if you want to see a horror movie that reminds you why you started watching horror movies in the first place... High Tension fits the bill. Although (ironically) the film is entirely in French. Wait! I almost forgot the most important part: Enough blood to flood New Orleans all over again... Check. Expand
  7. DavidD.
    Jun 10, 2005
    0
    I saw the NC-17 version at the Toronto Film Festival--it was amusingly ghoulish and somewhat suspenseful until the last 15 minutes or so--which ruined it so thorougly that our audience wanted to tear down the screen. An R-rated dubbed version sounds even more idiotic. Avoid.
  8. LaurieS
    Jun 14, 2005
    10
    Highest... Tension... And... Gore... EVER!
  9. RyanS.
    Jun 10, 2005
    10
    Absolutely disturbing and at moments breath taking.
  10. RandyH
    Jun 5, 2005
    7
    Good gory fun. Overall, it's an intelligent, daring take on the traditional slasher flick. Beware the cheap "twist" ending, though.
  11. BrianO.
    Jun 9, 2005
    8
    The "8" I give is to the original French version - not the horribly dubbed version that Lions Gate has decided to give us. I think horror fans would've stuck with an NC-17 subtitled version, they probably would have done better on word of mouth. This is the goriest, scariest movie I have seen in a long time. Unfortunately, inane dialogue dubbed with poor with French accents just The "8" I give is to the original French version - not the horribly dubbed version that Lions Gate has decided to give us. I think horror fans would've stuck with an NC-17 subtitled version, they probably would have done better on word of mouth. This is the goriest, scariest movie I have seen in a long time. Unfortunately, inane dialogue dubbed with poor with French accents just makes the movie seem silly. Wait for the DVD and watch the original. You'll be scared witless. If you watch the dubbed version, you'll likely laugh. Expand
  12. LukeL
    Oct 25, 2005
    8
    No, the story wasn't all that great, but it kept me gritting my teeth and sitting on edge, which is a tribute to the camera work and editing. Brutal, but that is what a slasher film is suppose to be. Ending twist was so much better than what Hollywood ever puts out and that flashlight swaying back and forth - classic suspense.
  13. JohnC.
    Jun 11, 2005
    0
    Boring and suspenseless and then comes the most ridiculous twist which seems to exist only to anatagonize the audience. Those people who try to rationalize this movie are either gullible or stoned.
  14. DerekE.
    Jun 11, 2005
    0
    I want my money back!!!!!
  15. BitchinCamaro
    Jun 12, 2005
    1
    I have two words to describe this movie: um, right. It actually spends most of its time being a pretty good example of what it is, which is a slasher pic that I was expecting to prove itself as an homage to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It makes it almost all the way to reaching that end, and then it does one of the worst, stupidest, least logical, and downright nonsensical things that I have two words to describe this movie: um, right. It actually spends most of its time being a pretty good example of what it is, which is a slasher pic that I was expecting to prove itself as an homage to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It makes it almost all the way to reaching that end, and then it does one of the worst, stupidest, least logical, and downright nonsensical things that I've seen in any movie. We're talking top five most absurd twists in all of filmdom. It completely negates the entire movie before it and allows for most of it to cease making sense at all. Not only that, but it will surely become some sort of weapon against the freedom of sexual preference. The last to reach this level of absurdity was the gay Teletubbie. The more I think about this movie, the more pissed off I get. It was almost pretty good in the genre, and then it becomes an astronomical piece of creeee-ap. The only reason I would suggest anyone else see this is to have another person to discuss how mind-numbingly terrible the movie reveals itself to be. Buy a ticket to a quality movie and sneak into this one if you feel the need to spend the next few days becoming increasingly appalled by what the movie ultimately presents itself to be. Yikes. Expand
  16. BillD.
    Jun 10, 2005
    0
    Absolute crap.
  17. Adam
    Jun 10, 2005
    10
    Before my rating, let it be known that this movie deserves every negative rating it has received. Why? If a film such as this reaches a large audience, it will be the subject of much animosity once the obvious copycat mass murders occur in real life. Ok. So I gave it a 10. That's simply because I've watched some f...ed up movies, but High Tension trumps them all. The first scene Before my rating, let it be known that this movie deserves every negative rating it has received. Why? If a film such as this reaches a large audience, it will be the subject of much animosity once the obvious copycat mass murders occur in real life. Ok. So I gave it a 10. That's simply because I've watched some f...ed up movies, but High Tension trumps them all. The first scene includes a man receiving head from.... a severed head? Yeah. Oh, but don't worry. I didn't ruin anything for you. After spending the first 20 minutes complaining how poor the dubbed voices are, your next hour or so is spent in ball-throbbing suspense. Enjoy. Expand
  18. Zach
    Jun 13, 2005
    4
    Great movie up until the plot twist. Why did they ruin a perfectly good movie. Actually was suspensful and shocking up until the twist. After that the movie is just laughable.
  19. RalphV.
    Jun 14, 2005
    0
    It's been a week since I've seen it and I'm still pissed at the ending. I spend most of my time stopping random people on the street imploring them not to waste their money on this movie. Smoothly most people have never heard of it.
  20. JeffL
    Jun 29, 2005
    3
    Horribly cliche and unrealistic. The only reason I gave it above a 2 was because Muse was used on the soundtrack.
  21. RavenX301
    Apr 13, 2007
    4
    I just got done watching this flim on the Movie network. Not very good. I would have given it a 7 or close 8 if it wasn't for the fact that TOoooooo many things have to be forgiven for the ending to work. At first it was good. It was like the old school slasher when there were very few poeple and that ONE killer. But thinking back on the sences after seeing the ending is too weird. I just got done watching this flim on the Movie network. Not very good. I would have given it a 7 or close 8 if it wasn't for the fact that TOoooooo many things have to be forgiven for the ending to work. At first it was good. It was like the old school slasher when there were very few poeple and that ONE killer. But thinking back on the sences after seeing the ending is too weird. At first (like I said) it seemed like maybe it was biulding to some kind of 'kitty' slasher and Texas Chainsaw Massarce, and unlike Riren who thinks that this has bee done so much (I;ve seen thousands of movies including over seas and this polt isnt AS overdone as you seem to think) No....I dont mind the story if it wasn't for ALL those mistakes after knowing the ending. There was a cool move on the surrvilence camera that really surpised me, but only because the movie was so outrageously pointing in one completley differnet way. The movie is way to out there that it makes it too impossible to understand becasue of the lack of actual common sense in a movie thats trying to make you believe in it. Collapse
  22. JohnF.
    Nov 16, 2005
    9
    I have no idea who "Chad S" is, nor do I have any idea what the "Metacritic Advance Scout Team" entails. But I must ask... why are poorly written, xenophobic rants given a stamp of approval on this site? This cretin's profoundly idiotic review (which housed some of the worst grammar in the history of the English language) not only misunderstood the film in question, but also managed I have no idea who "Chad S" is, nor do I have any idea what the "Metacritic Advance Scout Team" entails. But I must ask... why are poorly written, xenophobic rants given a stamp of approval on this site? This cretin's profoundly idiotic review (which housed some of the worst grammar in the history of the English language) not only misunderstood the film in question, but also managed to throw in some indescribably vulgar cultural elitism that couldn't possibly have been more wide of the mark. I like this site. But don't start bigging up meatheaded mouth breathers, lest your fanbase head for the tomato hills.... ANYWAY, this film is superb. The infamous plot twist IS a massive misjudgement, but when a director has spent the past eighty minutes thrilling you to the bone, forgiveness is all that it deserves. A cult classic in the making. Expand
  23. RobertC.
    Jun 11, 2005
    1
    As a fan of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I am always on the lookout for the next horror film to make me say to myself, "Why am I watching this?" Films that make one feel, well, dirty, are every horror fans dream. Films that tap into the human's lizard brain and say "WHOA NELLIE! This is humanity at its worst! And best!" See, horror films have heroes and villains. As a fan of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I am always on the lookout for the next horror film to make me say to myself, "Why am I watching this?" Films that make one feel, well, dirty, are every horror fans dream. Films that tap into the human's lizard brain and say "WHOA NELLIE! This is humanity at its worst! And best!" See, horror films have heroes and villains. Hero is supposed to vanquish villian. However, in this world of postmodernism, villain is hero and villain becomes iconic figure. Like Leatherface. And Freddy. And Jason. They become action figures to collect. When the audience cheers when the bad guy slices and dices the innocent, I worry for our civilization. High Tension looked as though the film makers had brought back the old-fashioned "bad guy with no redeeming value." The "serial killer" in HT is big, fat, sweaty, and sadistic. As viewers, we know what he thinks of woman as his introduction to us coincides with his enjoying a bit of fellatio with a severed head. Yep, I thought, "Here we go! Why am I watching this? I have an almost PhD. Granted it IS in pop culture, and I write all the time about this stuff. But, Jeez Louise, that is just WRONG." I thought, "This is going to be a helluva 85 minute ride." Nope. In fact, if you see the film, you won't believe who has been demonized. Not the fat, sweaty, sadistic serial killer. Nope. What has been relagated to serial kiler status? Sexual preference. Listen, if you see the film, after a certain weapon concerning barbed wire and a fence post has been utilised, LEAVE THE THEATER! The film is basically over. Now, there will be those poststructuralists who will argue the film is masterful in its manipulation of the viewer, its playful turn on events, etc. Don't listen to that crap. I give HT one star out of five. Expand
  24. DerekB.
    Jun 12, 2005
    0
    Haven't seen crap this good since the last time I was on the farm.
  25. JacksonW.
    Jun 12, 2005
    0
    Answers the question "why aren't they making more movies depicting oral sex with severed heads?"
  26. ScottM
    Jun 22, 2005
    8
    Well done execution in style. An arthouse slasher flick that surprisingly works. Why is everyone so pissed at the ending? It gave the story some needed levels. Overall: Disturbing, nicely made horror film.
  27. Dec 26, 2010
    8
    Carries on the tradition of slasher films. Tons of violence and gore, but not ridiculous like the Saw series. The movie doesn't make too much sense until the end where you'll either be surprised by the ending and or get pissed because you've been over-analyzing the entire film looking for a reason why. I was in the surprised "that's unexpected" camp, because it's a horror film. When wasCarries on the tradition of slasher films. Tons of violence and gore, but not ridiculous like the Saw series. The movie doesn't make too much sense until the end where you'll either be surprised by the ending and or get pissed because you've been over-analyzing the entire film looking for a reason why. I was in the surprised "that's unexpected" camp, because it's a horror film. When was the last time you saw a horror film with an epic story? It's good for what it is and I don't think it was every trying to be more than what it is. Expand
  28. Mar 12, 2011
    10
    Un film angoissant et bien dans l'esprit du cinéma d'horreur francais, avec une cecile de france convanquante dans son role pourtant compliqué a jouer.
  29. Nov 12, 2011
    5
    I read about this movie online and decided to watch it after already knowing the ending...big mistake. Knowing the ending completely ruins the entire movie. Without going into spoiler territory, the only redeeming quality of this movie is the incredibly hot main character. That alone bumps this up to a 5 for me.
  30. Dec 22, 2011
    8
    This film is an excellent shocker, which is more than I can say for most contemporary horror films.
    The style in which its shot keeps the viewer on edge until the end and the soundtrack adds to the heightened feeling of terror Alexandre Aja has created another great modern slasher horror movie. Be warned this film is not for the faint hearted but a must see for any horror fan. Alexandre
    This film is an excellent shocker, which is more than I can say for most contemporary horror films.
    The style in which its shot keeps the viewer on edge until the end and the soundtrack adds to the heightened feeling of terror Alexandre Aja has created another great modern slasher horror movie. Be warned this film is not for the faint hearted but a must see for any horror fan. Alexandre Aja is part of The Splat pack who all look up to and worship Tarantino so it is not surprising that the violence is so superbly gritty.
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  31. Jul 1, 2012
    7
    I was one of those people who loved the twist in the plot - I didn't see it coming. Give this movie a shot. Its not 'too' scary, just tense and gory.
  32. Aug 28, 2013
    7
    The film had a decent budget and the effects were pretty good. It lost me about half way through, but picked up again for a nice ending. Not a bad movie overall.
  33. Feb 14, 2014
    4
    Bad on so many points and good on so very few. It was confusing and definitely one of the stranger films out there. Though High Tension does seem a little more violent than it needs to be, what it was implying (the violence) is still not clear. Perhaps maybe it will be if one watches it more than once.
  34. Aug 17, 2014
    5
    It starts out pretty good. You gotta creepy dude humping a severed head. "Intriguing." A couple of hot french girls. "Alright." And some pretty cool gore. "I'm hooked!" And then you get slapped in the face with a terrible ending that completely destroys the film. Everything before the twist gets a 7/10. But, because of how much the ending ruins the mood, It gets a 5/10 - Mediocre.
  35. Sep 15, 2014
    7
    "High Tension" is one of the better entries in the New French Extremity Movement. It's a very gory slasher film (it's one of the goriest mainstream films I've ever seen) with amazing cinematography and acting. I don't hate the ending as much as everyone else. There are some very subtle hints to how exactly the ending works, but they're not very obvious. You have to watch it again and pay"High Tension" is one of the better entries in the New French Extremity Movement. It's a very gory slasher film (it's one of the goriest mainstream films I've ever seen) with amazing cinematography and acting. I don't hate the ending as much as everyone else. There are some very subtle hints to how exactly the ending works, but they're not very obvious. You have to watch it again and pay attention to really get it. The biggest gripe I have with the film is that the dubbing is really bad. I suggest watching a subtitled version of the film if you can. If you can handle the extreme gore, I recommend it. Expand
Metascore
42

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 30
  2. Negative: 7 out of 30
  1. 75
    The film revels in blood and gore, but this is not just a run-of-the-mill splatter film. There's a lot of intelligence in both the script and in Alexandre Aja's direction.
  2. Like all horror films, High Tension builds to a final, sobering flash of chaos that settles all scores. Some viewers will hate Aja's movie for its end-game reveal; others will love it for the very same reason.
  3. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    60
    Deftly juggles gore and suspense, and punchline holds an intellectual frisson or two for fans of gender-role speculation, but basically this is one more horror pic on the distinguished road already trodden by "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "Maniac" and the like.