High Tension (Switchblade Romance)


High Tension (Switchblade Romance)

Critics Consensus

There is indeed a good amount of tension in this French slasher, but the dubbing is bad and the end twist unbelievable.



Total Count: 132


Audience Score

User Ratings: 48,513
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Movie Info

French filmmaker Alexandre Aja writes and directs the slasher film Haute Tension, given the English title Switchblade Romance. Best friends Marie (Cécile De France) and Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) go out to the countryside to visit Alex's parents. However, a homicidal delivery man (played by Philippe Nahon from Gaspar Noé's brutal movies) ends up at their house and starts killing everyone. Alex and Marie fight for their lives with help from several means of weaponry. Switchblade Romance was shown at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival as part of the Midnight program. The film was aquired by US distributor Lions Gate Films in 2004 and quickly put into turnaround as an NC-17 release, though plans for that were scrapped due to a lack of theater support of the controversial rating. Retitled High Tension, the R-rated version is missing one minute of grisly gore and features a redubbed audio track by star Cécile De France. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for High Tension (Switchblade Romance)

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (79)

Audience Reviews for High Tension (Switchblade Romance)

  • May 09, 2018
    A trashy and extremely gory slasher that does have its tense moments here and there but sinks like a rock with an incredibly stupid protagonist and a twist so awful, retarded, offensive and absolutely nonsensical in the end that it should leave most people utterly infuriated.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2013
    Part of the 'New French Extremity' movement, Alexandre Aja's 'Haute Tension' (High Tension/Switchblade Romance) is a heart-pounding horror that will have you at the edge of your seat...before slapping across the face for caring. Cécile De France plays Marie, a young woman who is on a business trip with her friend Alexia (Maiwenn). Whilst on their journey the two stop off at Alexia's remote family home, only to find themselves as prey to a demented killer. Haute Tension is very effective for it's first hour, managing to continually crank up the tension without ever stopping for a break or feeling drawn-out. In this respect, the film is masterfully paced, with Marie jumping from one set piece to another in a fashion that doesn't feel as forced as other films of the same genre. Music and sound is also used incredibly well throughout the film, with flourishes being added to moments of potential dread and heightening the sense of unease. Aesthetically the film feels as if it is a homage to the exploitation films of the late 70s, with realistic yet over the top Craven inspired violence being at the centre of the films narrative. With everything being said it would seem as if Haute Tension was set up to be a classic, and it would be, that's if it didn't effectively ruin itself in the last 20 minutes with a twist that felt tacked on ridiculous, and rendered everything before it pointless. Verdict: It's amazing if you pretend a quarter of it doesn't exist.
    Cameron S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 14, 2013
    Through the whole movie, there was no scene that disappoints. A brilliant movie by Alexandre Aja who obviously was inspired by a lot of 70's horror movies and pay a homage through this flick. Although the ending left me dry, there is no denying that Haute Tension is one fantastic slasher movie. 7.5/10.
    Mesh B Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2013
    Using it's title to almost unbearable levels, Haute Tension is an incredibly gory slasher that uses all the gimmicks in the book to great effect. The high levels of violence will immediately turn off the majority of viewers but the true star is the incredible use of suspense, aided by some awesome sound design and original soundtrack. All this could've been blown out of the water if the actors weren't good and they deliver for the most part. Which unfortunently are hurt on their performance thanks to some god awful dubbing (in the original french language, mind you!) at certain parts. The twist is now infamous, maybe rightfully so, maybe not. After watching it for the second time, some elements regarding the twist work wonders, while others just don't make any bloody sense, which is a shame cause it could've been an element to separate Haute Tension from all the other slashers out there. A different approach on the ending could've helped. Since it's implied our main character told the story to someone, an approach of whenever someone tells a tale, it's always exhagerated to make it sound more awesome and that could've been a nice gimmick to the audience, saying something in the process (i'm thinking to justify this, the over the top car chase, which didn't really happen if you think of it). But no, it's all left a bit dry in the end. Hell, all this is a bit secondary when the image of a buzzsaw coming to a guy's chest in full detail still sticks in your head after all these years, with that humming depressing drone in the background, while the killer taunts the other victim on the backseat. That's the true power of Aja's images on this one.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer

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