- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: French DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: October 5, 2010
- List Price: $19.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
The most unusual thing about this 2003 horror/slasher film is that it is French. Other than that, High Tension plays by the rules of every other film in its genre and offers up little surprises. To US audiences, the European setting may be novel at best, but the action and gore will all seem quite familiar.
When the two college friends Marie (Cécile De France) and Alexia (Maïwenn Le Besco) make their way up to Alexia’s parents’ country home for some quiet vacation time and studying, things go terribly wrong when a maniacal killer breaks in, slaughters the whole family and kidnaps Alexia. Marie must avoid detection, track down the killer, and save her best friend.
The film blends elements of Hollywood thrillers and classic slasher flicks like Friday the 13th and Halloween. The “high tension” never quite builds, however, and in fact the movie hits a lull somewhere around the halfway point once the killer has finished his slaughtering of the family. The gore level is extremely high, however, and remains that way for most of the film. From the very beginning, High Tension pulls out the shock factor as we “see” the killer taking oral pleasure from a decapitated head; yeah, they went there.
The 2.35:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding of High Tension is a good one. The film is a grainy, dark, atmospheric slasher film that doesn’t always lend itself to looking great, but the Blu-ray does a fine job capturing it. There’s good shadow delineation, strong flesh tone reproduction, and no compression issues.
The original French language soundtrack is provided in a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that is fully engulfing and very aggressive. The surround channels and surround back channels are filled with all manner of discrete sounds throughout the film, dialogue is clean, and the low frequencies are deep.
There isn’t exactly a windfall of supplements provided with this release, but the few behind-the-scenes featurettes are interesting and the audio commentary informative.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Audio Commentary with Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur
- Haute Horror: Making of High Tension (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:23.47)
- Building Tension (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:08.14) — The filmmakers discuss how they create the “tension” in high tension.
- Gianetto de Rossie: the Truth, the Madness, & the Magic (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:07.42) — The visual effects and makeup of High Tension.
- Selected Scenes Commentary with Alexandre Aja and Cecile de France
The Definitive Word
It may not be wholly original, but High Tension will surely please audiences that love gory, slasher flicks. It has all the classic elements — a lumbering psychopathic killer, great looking women, inventive deaths, and lots of free flowing blood. Let it bleed.
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