Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

High Tension 2003

Haute tension

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Mysterious hulking deviant pursues female college students in the most devilish cat-and-mouse chiller in years.

France In French with English subtitles
90 minutes 35mm



Alexandre Aja
Grégory Levasseur


Maxime Alexandre




François Eudes


Cécile de France
Maïwenn Le Besco
Philippe Nahon


Toronto 2003; Sundance, Rotterdam 2004


The term ‘white-knuckle thrill-ride’ usually pops up tagged onto undeserving bloated Hollywood thrillers. So it is a great (and honest) pleasure to announce that France’s Alexandre Aja’s proudly wicked and vicious people-in-peril flick, High Tension, really is a knuckle-gnawer for ninety percent of its lean running time. It’s the simple tale of two female college students, Alex and Marie, who head off to study for their upcoming exams at Alex’s parents’ isolated farmhouse. Waiting for them are Alex’s mum, dad and baby brother Tommy. Unfortunately, this idyllic Gallic postcard is about to be torn apart by the arrival of a mysterious hulking deviant, first seen as the recipient of fellatio, courtesy of the decapitated head he’s been playing with. From that shocking beginning the film accelerates into one of the most devilish cat-and-mouse chillers seen in years. This is definitely one film you don’t want to take home to meet Mum – so brutal it received the very rare ‘Over16’ rating in France.