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High tension directed by Alexandre Aja HOME

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High Tension (Switchblade Romance) is a 2003 French horror film.

Best friends Marie and Alex go out to the countryside to visit Alex's parents. However, a homicidal delivery man 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.


Cécile de France as Marie

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Cécile de France was born in 1975 in Namur, Belgium.

She left Belgium at the age of 17 to go to Paris where she studied theatre for two years with actor Jean Paul Denizon, assistant to British director Peter Brook.

She then spent three years (1995–98) at the acting academy ENSATT (École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre) in the Département Comédie first at the Rue Blanche in Paris, then in Lyon. She was discovered by the agent Dominique Besnehard and appeared in French hit films such as L'Art (délicat) de la séduction (2001) and Irène (2002).

Her international breakthrough came with the horror thriller Haute Tension, which was a worldwide success.

She caught the eye of Hollywood producers and soon landed her first major role in a US feature, Around the World in 80 Days (2004).

She won two César Awards for Most Promising Actress in L'Auberge espagnole (2002), and Best Supporting Actress in Les Poupées russes (2005).

Cécile and boyfriend Guillaume Malandrin, gave birth to son Lino, born 24 June 2007. MORE

Maïwenn (born Maïwenn Le Besco) as Alex


Maïwenn ( born on 17 April 1976 in Les Lilas ) is a French actress and film director.

She met director and producer Luc Besson in 1991.

The two later began a relationship, after which Maïwenn, having lost her motivation as an actress, interrupted her career for several years.

She lived in Beverly Hills raising the daughter she had had with Besson at the age of 16.

During this period, she only appeared in a supporting part in Léon. She also directed the film's making-of.

Perhaps Maïwenn's most internationally-seen film role was her appearance as the alien diva Plavalaguna in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. After her breakup with Luc Besson, Maïwenn returned to France and resumed her career as an actress.

She performed as a standup comedian in an autobiographical one-woman-show, and reentered the movie business after several filmmakers saw her comedy routine in Paris.

She appeared in several notable movies, including the horror film Haute Tension.

In 2006, she directed her first feature film, the semi-autobiographical Pardonnez-moi.

Her latest film Polisse won the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. - Maïwenn had a daughter, Shana, in 1993 with director Luc Besson.

They were still married at the beginning of filming for The Fifth Element, during which Besson left her for Milla Jovovich.

Maïwenn later had a son, Diego, with her second husband, Jean-Yves Le Fur. Complete filmography here

Philippe Nahon as The Killer


Philippe Nahon (born 24 December 1938) is a French actor.

Nahon is best known for his roles in French horror and thriller films, including I Stand Alone, Humains, Calvaire, Irréversible, The Pack and Haute Tension and he has been featured as a nameless butcher in three films by Gaspar Noé – Carne, I Stand Alone, and Irréversible (cameo). Filmography

FULL CAST: Cécile de France as Marie - Maïwenn as Alex - Philippe Nahon as The Killer - Andrei Finti as Alex's father. - Oana Pellea as Alex's mother - Franck Khalfoun as Jimmy ( the store clerk at a gas station ) - Marco Claudiu Pascu as Tom - Jean-Claude de Goros as the Capitaine Gendarmerie - Bogdan Uritescu as the Gendarme - Gabriel Spahiu as the car man.


Soundtrack: "New Born" by Muse - "Sarà Perché Ti Amo" by Ricchi e Poveri - "Runaway Girl" by U. Roy - "A toutes les filles" (Lyrics: Félix Gray - Composer: Didier Barbelivien) -"A2" performed and mixed by François Eudes "I Believe" (Scott Nickoley / Jamie Dunlap / Molly Pasutti / Marc Ferrari) - "Pillow Talk" (Arch Bacon).



How does the movie High Tension end?

The killer isn't real. He exists only in the mind of Marie. The "killer" is nothing more but a character apart of Marie's Dissociative Identity Disorder (a.k.a. Multiple Personality), which was formed from Marie's secret and violent obsession and affection for Alex.

This secret crush for Alex gave Marie a violent side, making herself proclaim that she won't let anyone come between them, not even her family.

So that's why Marie, the killer, slaughtered Alex's family, only putting an image in her mind that it was someone else who did it. In the last scene, we come to the image of Marie in the hospital room from the beginning, only for us to realize that it's really a mental institution.

It then becomes aware that the entire movie was being told from Marie's point of view on how she saw everything, but she's totally unaware that she was the real killer all along due to how psychotic she is.

Alex is shown standing outside the room looking at Marie through a two-way mirror.

Even though Marie can't see Alex, she knows she's there, as she opens up her arms in a loving gesture. READ MORE



Alternate versions for the movie

Lions Gate cut about 2 minutes for the US theatrical release to secure a "R" rating.

The changes were:

Alex's father is graphically decapitated with a bookcase, his headless neck spraying blood. In the R-rated version, the initial killing is implicit rather than explicit, and later, during a flashback, his killing is gone.

The scene of the killer applying a concrete saw to the stomach of the man driving the car was edited shorter

When Alex's mother has her throat slashed, the scene is edited short; most of the arterial spurting, as the killer pulls back her head, is gone. The shot of her severed hand also is removed, leaving no indication of what exactly happened to her.

The scene where Marie strikes the killer's face in with the barbed wire post is shortened and less explicit; Marie hits the killer fewer times, and there are fewer details of the killer's wounds shown.

The South Korean theatrical re-release and DVD release has cuts totaling under a minute to all the murders. Also a brief shot of a severed hand next to a phone is missing. These cuts were finally restored for the special edition DVD in 2005.

German rental version was cut by 67 seconds for a JK/SPIO approval. Retail version was cut even more (ca. 1 minute) to qualify for a "Not under 18" rating from the FSK. MORE HERE

This film provides examples of:

Chainsaw Good: Both the killer and Marie get a turn with a circular saw.

A Date with Rosie Palms: Marie, after seeing Alex showering through the bathroom window earlier that night. Since she's listening to her walk-man during the act, this prevents her from hearing the killer get into the house until the murders are well under way.

Final Girl: Subverted, in that the protagonist is also the killer, leaving both Alex and the killer alive in the end.

Foreshadowing: There is a lot of this, thought most is nigh impossible to register without knowing the Plot Twist... and some even then.

Girl with Psycho Weapon: During the film Marie is depicted weilding both a wooden club wrapped in barbed wire (as shown above) and a circular saw.


Gory Discretion Shot: While Alex's parents are shown to be brutally killed on screen, the audience only sees a glimpse of gunfire when the killer shoots Alex's kid brother in a corn field.

Hey It's That Girl: Though you probably won't recognize her, Maïwenn Le Besco was the Diva in The Fifth Element.

The Killer In Me

A Love to Dismember: Near the start of the film, the killer fellates himself with a woman's severed head.

Madness Mantra "I won't let anyone come between us anymore, I won't let anyone come between us anymore..."

Not so Different: The killer seems to be implying this to Marie when he says of Alexia "She turns you on, doesn't she? She turns me on too..." Of course the killer is Marie, so...

Slasher Movie - A strange example, as it seems to almost turn into an action movie at around the midpoint.

Twist Ending: The killer is in fact Marie; the truck driver is an alternate personality whom her normal side perceives as a seperate being, à la Fight Club. Marie had a lesbian crush on Alex, and her alternate personality murdered her family so nobody could come between them though she, believing the alternate personality to be a different person, would not have to feel any guilt.

Unreliable Narrator Visual Pun: Both of Marie's personalities came at the same time.

Yandere - The killer wants Alex all to herself, and is not opposed to brutally murdering her entire family to do it. And everyone that comes across afterwards. Unfortunate drivers on forest roads beware. MORE


Movie`s Curiosities

Movie Locations: MediaPro Studios, Bucharest, Romania


Cécile De France trained with a Thai boxer to get in shape for her physically demanding role


Though the film is set in southern France the film had to be shot in Romania for budgetary matters


The scene of Marie searching for Alexia in the cornfield originally ended with Marie catching a glimpse of the killer's rusty truck in the center of the field, but the shot was cut to keep the film a bit more ambiguous


According to 'Alexander Aja' the scene where Marie hides from the killer in the gas station restroom was a homage to a similar scene in the movie Maniac


The headphones of Marie's personal stereo are Bang & Olufsen A8 headphones


Marie makes up the bed and hides her things like Jane in the movie "Torso"


Maïwenn is the daughter of actress Catherine Belkhodja, who ushered her into the entertainment industry at a young age, an experience later chronicled by Le Besco in her one-woman shows "Le Pois Chiche" and "I'm an Actress".


Official High Tension Movie Trailer Site: Cecile De France, Maiwenn Le Besco, Phillippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun Movies Pictures Upcoming Horror - High Tension(Montage): A Switchblade Romance - High tension on Tumblr

Other movies on this site: Apocalypto - 300 - REC - High Tension - The Machinist - OldBoy - Mankatha - Stand By Me - Labyrinth

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