Thursday, 26 April 2012

Switchblade Romance

"Switchblade Romance" aka "Haute Tension" in French or "High Tension" in the U.S. (2003, Alexandre Aja, Alexandre Films & EuropaCorp) is a French psychological/slasher movie.

I first came to know this movie through an ex-boyfriend and now friend. I have to credit this guy with introducing me to a lot of damn good movies. My current boyfriend also has him to blame for me torturing him with horror movies most weeks!

"Switchblade Romance" is one of those mind-boggling movies. You won't realise how little you understood the plot until the end. It's a good twist, even if it is pretty unbelievable.

The movie begins with two young women, Alex (Maïwenn) and Marie (Cécile De France), driving in the French countryside on the way to visit Alex's parents. It is apparent from the onset that Marie is a lesbian, clearly interested in Alex. You realise quickly that Alex enjoys the attention and is happy to lead the girl on, but really isn't too into dating girls.

I first thought this movie was going to be a "Friday the 13th" in a French "Children of the Corn" setting. I was wrong, although that does sound like a good premise for a movie!

The girls are welcomed into the house and the family settle for the night. Then the big, disgusting, creepy murderer arrives and all hell breaks loose.

There's some unrealistic beheading (unless bookcases are made of wood-style metal and necks are made of butter...) but on the whole this movie's pretty brutal and bloody. The whole overhanging feeling that rape is inevitable really keeps the tension up, too (see what I did there?).

The twist, as I mentioned, is good. But it can't really work, unless we're not experiencing events chronologically and there are a few imagined vehicles. The murderer has a nice Michael-Myers-esque ability to never truly die though.

The end is nicely creepy, too, and links us back to the very beginning.

I always feel that the sound on this film is odd. I can't put my finger on it, but something's definitely going on. If it's intentional I like it. It makes everything seem a bit unreal.

All in all, this is a 'lovely' gore-soaked ride. If you can bear the subtitles, I recommend giving a watch.

 (Picture: Alexandre Films)