High Tension is a 2003 French horror film (originally released in France as Haute Tension) directed by Alexadre Aja and staring Cécile de France, Maïwenn Le Besco and Philippe Nahon.
Grisly to the point of bordering on “torture porn”, High Tension is nonetheless engaging if for no other reason than Cécile de France’s singular performance. I regularly avoid such movies as this because I don’t like gratuitously violent films, but there is just something about High Tension that is captivating.
It is easy enough for an actress to appear “scared” for 90 minutes in a horror film, it is something else for the that same performance to be fluctuated by moments of bravery, doubt, resolve, anger, innovation, despair, insight — all braided into twenty permutations of fright.
Bottom line: save for the opening, the heroine is literally scared for the entire movie, but it is dynamic fear that ebbs and flows, morphs and mutates through several species of dread.
A truly great performance.
Also, Cécile de France’s physique in this movie is an ideal benchmark for any actresses looking to step up to any future role as a David Jetre action-girl.