Friday, May 05, 2006

Plus et plus de sangre. C'est magnifique!

In my ongoing channeling of the Countess of Bathory, I sat down this evening to watch Haute Tension, Alexandre Aja's 2003 French chicks-in-the-woods horror flick that preceded his American remake of The Hills Have Eyes. I am told animals are tortured and killed in THHE, so I will not see it, but damn, I must recommend Haute Tension! C'est magnifique! It is bloody, violent, extremely mean-spirited and beautifully crafted. Aja ratchets up the tension almost at once and keeps turning the screw until the tiniest squeak makes you jump ten feet. I cannot imagine what it must have been like seeing this movie in the theater. As for the big plot twist at the end, I found it very obvious and natural. So there, Roger Ebert. A dog does get killed at the beginning, but it's fairly quick. (Killer comes to door, dog barks, you've seen "Halloween" - you know what happens. I can deal with that OK.) Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty good, too.

For a serial-killer movie, this is also a charmingly French film. The killer comes seeking our protagonist in the guest room at her friend's house. As he approaches, she hides all her things, smooths the bedspread and wipes out the sink before diving under the bed. Wipes out the sink! What kind of serial killer is going to check the sink? But he walks in the room and first thing he does is put his hand on the radiator, to see if it's been used. These are things only French people would think of, I tell you. It's very cute.

Interestingly, and I did not know this, Aja appears to be working on "Halloween: Retribution." Let's hope he dedicates it to the memory of Moustapha Akkad. RIP...

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