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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French Filleting.
The debates and accusations towards Alexandre Aja's Haute tension (AKA: Switchbalde Roamnce) will never dissipate, that, particularly in the horror genre, is a given. Plagiarism charges and hostile bile vomited on the twist ending ensure it's a film unlikely to produce unity in horror circles.

Once viewed it's a picture that simply doesn't add up, thus it's a...
Published 8 months ago by Spike Owen

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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recycled clichés in a barely entertaining order
The stupidly titled Switchblade Romance (aka the lamely titled High Tension) offers nothing new to the slasher movie genre. It's nothing more than a succession of set-pieces manipulated to provoke maximum dread from the audience. Everything here you've seen before, but the relentless gore, superb photography and eerie, minimalist atmosphere make it an almost decent...
Published on 19 Jan 2012 by Inspector Gadget


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French Filleting., 12 Nov 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
The debates and accusations towards Alexandre Aja's Haute tension (AKA: Switchbalde Roamnce) will never dissipate, that, particularly in the horror genre, is a given. Plagiarism charges and hostile bile vomited on the twist ending ensure it's a film unlikely to produce unity in horror circles.

Once viewed it's a picture that simply doesn't add up, thus it's a bit of a cheat, however, it's still a nail-biting experience as Marie (Cécile De France) attempts to rescue her best friend Alexia (Maïwenn) who has been kidnapped from the remote family farmhouse by a blood letting psychopath who has massacred Alexia's whole family.

Tale is unrelentingly grim and gruesome, pulsing with edgy atmosphere at every juncture. Dialogue is kept to a minimum, director Aja smartly letting the visceral shocks and palpable terror rule the roost. Production is stylish but not over glossy, so as to strip away the grainy feel of plotting, and the twin lead performances score favourably.

It could never hold up to a repeat viewing, that much is obvious, and "that" ending is understandably a cause for dissension, but it still has much to offer the slasher fan after a bit more than the usual teen stalk and slash trash. 7/10
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High tension, Gallic style, 3 Aug 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
Director Alexandre Aja's "Haute Tension" (released in the USA as "High Tension", but incongruously renamed "Switchblade Romance" for UK audiences) is a gory, visceral, celebration of the American slasher movie and horror tradition ... with more than a touch of Gallic sophistication and style thrown in, and the odd reverential nod paid to Godard and the French new wave of the 50's/60's.
Based on Dean Koontz's "Intensity" - itself made into a tame film in the US - Aja gives us a very claustrophobic version and a controversial denouement. While the slaughter takes place in a large mansion in Koontz's original, here we have a smaller farmhouse with creakier stairs and floorboards. While the killer escapes in a huge mobile home in the novel, here the butcher drives a battered old camion ... a simple blue van man. There is nowhere for our heroine to hide! And, while the profession of Koontz's killer has its own significance, when Aja's murderer is finally unmasked ... it creates a decided disturbance in the force.
The story? Marie (Cecile de France) and Alex (Maiwenn) visit Alex's parents' in their isolated farmhouse for some intense study prior to their university exams. They are grateful to be away from the pressures of academe and to have the chance of relaxed concentration. But their plans are about to be chopped, slashed, and cut short by the arrival of blue van man, who will set about butchering the entire household before carrying off Alex, bound and gagged, in his van. Marie survives the initial onslaught and has to devise a means of both staying alive and rescuing her friend.
The whole film is a homage to American horror. The killer is a reference (and reverence) to the leather-faced, chainsaw wielding creature from "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and the scene at the petrol station reminds you of the same film. There are touches of Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left" as the young women head towards inevitable horror and extinction. Use is made of a cornfield, not so much Hitchcock as Stephen King. But, while the killer shuffles around in a boilersuit, reminiscent of "Halloween" and "Friday 13th", Aja avoids the flashing breasts and glitzy girlies offered up by much recent Hollywood 'horror' to buy in the young boys. This is gimme that old time horror without the teen time sexism!
As such, as a reprise of Koontz and slasher horror, it is both reverential and self-parodying. The blood spouting and visceral sound effects of ribs grating and cracking may not be for the squeamish, but it is for those with a sense of humour. The echoes of Wes Craven's ironic advertising blurb, "remember, this is only a movie", are delivered with existentialist aplomb. There is just a hint of Godard, the constant references to material outside the film, the struggle to interpret what we have seen and heard, to make sense of inexplicable and partial images, and finally, the killer caught on film, unselfconsciously posing for the camera - "look at me, I'm in a movie".
There are axes, razors, knives, whirling saw blades, spurting blood, gaping bodies and throats, gurglings and splinterings. It's not for the squeamish. This is old fashioned bloodfest. It is neatly directed. The performance by Cecile de France is a standout. But Philippe Nahon is a coolly horrific villain whose reality slowly and convincingly degenerates into a near comic book caricature. Filmed in six weeks, this is a comparatively low budget film. Less attention is paid to the special effects than to the creation of tension and emotional distortion.
The bloodletting is highly visual, and has attracted criticism in the States. It is perhaps more explicit than Hollywood tolerates ... but then Hollywood indulges in high body count thrillers where hundreds of people can be blown away as long as it's done tastefully (i.e. with a lot of firepower involved). The butchery here is explicitly to scare. The pleasure of horror is not watching the others being killed as empathising with the survivor - putting yourself in the place of the one who will live, enjoying the thrills, spills, and scares, in the certain (?) knowledge that you will survive.
Which makes the twist at the end of "Haute Tension" the subject of so much criticism. Aja clearly saw it as embodying (or disembodying) a greater degree of emotional tension, adding relevance to what has gone before. I certainly found it a neat touch - having quickly identified the film as Koontz's story, I stayed watching because of the claustrophobia and stylishness Aja and de France brought to the production. The plot twist spun it away from Koontz and gave the film a whole new notoriety and a different set of references. French films are rarely stand alone - they revere and reference what has gone before. Aja, here, is not trying to create an entirely new horror movie, but he is exploring emotion and relationships with far greater sophistication and style than run-of-the-kill slasher films achieve.
An excellent film, well translated to DVD in anamorphic 2.35:1, with sharp images, good colour saturation, good use of low light levels, and a soundtrack which is a vital ingredient to the tension and visceral delight. The subtitles are effectively presented and well-judged. Altogether an excellent package which will doubtless set you arguing with your friends for some time - just stay clear of sharp objects.
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4.0 out of 5 stars dark movie, 27 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
Love a European movie this included, thought about it for days afterwards, it's aimed at the obvious market range,so if you are squeamish i wouldn't bother.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good film!, 8 Feb 2014
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Intensely visceral and bloodthirsty shocker by French director Alexandre Aja. Cecile de France and Maïwenn le Bosco star as Marie and Alexia, two inseparable friends who go to stay in the country home of Alexia's parents for a quiet break, to study and relax. However, when a homicidal maniac (Philippe Nahon) turns up at their front door, the terror and carnage begins...

Good price, speedy delivery and well worth it and a twist in the film you wont see coming. enjoy
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5.0 out of 5 stars Same as High Tension, 21 Aug 2013
By 
BobM (South East England) - See all my reviews
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Don't be fooled in to buying this if you already possess High Tension.
Exactly the same movie.
I'll tell you what though.....a cracking horror film. Truly epic. Very gory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars French slash movie, 28 May 2013
By 
Gregory Baser "zeek portian" (Plymouth, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
Well made Frenchfilm with strong performances by the actors but the star is the Citroen Tub van. Dark, scary and forbodding with a great twist at the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great horror made in France., 25 April 2013
By 
Mrs. V. F. R. Niekerk "horrorbuff" (South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
This, for me, was a great and really involving horror movie. The tension and suspense Alexander Aja conjures up remains constant and sometimes unbearable throughout the movie. No wonder it is called Haute Tension (High Tension) in French.
Ultra-gruesome as well with gore sprinkled liberally throughout. It is also the first time in a movie where they actually show a victim being cut up by a chainsaw. (No, the scene where Leatherface accidentally nicks his leg in TTCM doesn't count)
Many people derided the twist near the ending, a twist which changes the whole movie and makes a second viewing totally different.
I quite liked it, although I agree that it is a bit OTT and unbelievable. But so what? It's only a movie and it was totally out-of-left-field for me. The whole movie reminded me of Dario Argento's stuff for some reason. The initial home invasion is creepy and scary as hell.
I wonder how many people know that this movie is based on one of Dean Koontz's books, Intensity?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intense and grisly gorefest, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
Alexandré Aja is well known for his excellent horror movies (Piranha 3D, The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors and THIS) This movie didn't struck to me well for the first time, but then i rewatched it and i totally loved it!

Story: Aléx and Marie are headed to Marie's parents house in the countryside. Everything seems cool, untill in the middle of the night, a stranger knocks the door and slaughters Marie's entire family with gruesome consequences. This film is particulary very bloody and gory. There's frequent graphic violence and gore throughout and suspense rises throughout. After the killer kidnaps Marie, Alex has no choice than bring her back...

There are some extras in this disc aswell and subtitled in English.

If you are looking for some REAL HORROR this is your choice.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Horror/Slasher Movies I Have Ever Seen, 1 Oct 2010
By 
Ms. L. Sutherland (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Switchblade Romance [DVD] (DVD)
If you're into really clever psychological thriller / slasher movies with an unpredictable twist than this is the film for you. I thought the storyline was very original and very clever.
I have to warn you though, that it is definitely not for the faint hearted, as it is quite violent and graphic in places.

In my opinion the French have come up with some amazing horror films in recent years (Inside, Martyrs, Frontiers). But this one really is up there as one of my faourites. Its one of those films where when you watch it a second (or third) time you notice things that you hadn't noticed before.

I would highly recommend it!!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recycled clichés in a barely entertaining order, 19 Jan 2012
By 
Inspector Gadget "Go Go Gadget Reviews" (On the trail of Doctor Claw) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The stupidly titled Switchblade Romance (aka the lamely titled High Tension) offers nothing new to the slasher movie genre. It's nothing more than a succession of set-pieces manipulated to provoke maximum dread from the audience. Everything here you've seen before, but the relentless gore, superb photography and eerie, minimalist atmosphere make it an almost decent time-waster.

Marie and Alex are a couple of college girls vacationing at Alex's parents house in the country. Marie is given her own room and seems comfortable sleeping on her lonesome despite feeling a little unnerved by the isolation of the farmhouse. Not long after nightfall a stranger in grubby cover-alls pulls up in his rust-bucket van/tank and sets about murdering Alex's dad, mum, and brother. He kidnap's Alex and plans to rape, torture and kill her but Marie is hot on his heels. Can she rescue her in time.

For most of the running time this film works purely on eager energy but in the last act, when the director has wrung out everything he can from the cliché-ridden script he chucks in a stupid, ridiculous plot twist that completely contradicts everything established in the opening act. Yes, there are clues and hints that limply tie it together but it still doesn't add up to sense.

Alexandre Aja is a director of no considerable talent who I believe only made this film to get a name for himself and get some Hollywood gigs. His efforts so far have been nothing but remakes and sequels. He's not a director I admire and this debut it proof of that. Any visual flare this film is entirely the effort of the cinematographer.

The Blu Ray looks good in 2.33:1 1080p with DTS HD-MA sound. There are zero extras.
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Switchblade Romance [DVD]
Switchblade Romance [DVD] by Alexandre Aja (DVD - 2005)
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