The Verdict is in: ‘High Tension’ Still Rocks!

Oh don’t you just love rants? Well here comes a massive two-page rant about Lions Gate Films’ upcoming release of High Tension (uncut review), which not only is cut down to an R rating but will be a hybrid of subtitles and dubbing. On June 3rd should you see Alex Aja’s amazing film, which I dubbed the best horror film of 2004 before it was bumped back to this year? All of the answers to your question await you inside, like how much is cut and how annoying are the overdubs. Read on and enjoy!

No need to freak out!

Lions Gate Films is just an entity… just a studio- so why on earth did it feel like I got stabbed in the back when they announced an overdubbed and rated R version of Alex Aja’s brilliant High (Haute) Tension? Why did I take it so personal?

When first announced I felt like the line had been drawn and then stepped over. Lions Gate had taken everything they stood for and threw it away. I’ve been a huge fan of Lions Gate years before Bloody-Disgusting even developed into a thought and have always put them on a pedestal above other studios for having guts, balls and a true sense of what the genre fans really want. They’ve proved it time and time again and then finally putting money into marketing brought them into mainstream with hits on Cabin Fever, House of 1000 Corpses, Saw and Open Water. How did they accomplish this? Balls, big massive balls.

It felt as if Lions Gate had just won a giant “lucky” hand of poker in 2004 and now they’ve decided to horde the pot in 2005 and play it safe.

High Tension an R, get out of here?! Overdubbed, this is getting ridiculous… I had to see it for myself; I had to see what bullsh-t they were sticking in theaters on June 3rd. So to be fair I head into tonight’s screening with our new writer Tex, who has virgin eyes when it comes to High Tension, we need a clear view don’t we? I’m biased as hell towards this cut, so I told myself I will not review it, I just can’t. Even though I’m not going to review it, I do feel my thoughts should be shared with you die hard horror fans who have about a million questions to ask about the “new” cut.

I went in angry- ready to bitch, moan and complain. I left feeling indifferent. What I mean is this: I still loved the movie minus its flaws, but would easily prefer to watch the uncut subtitled version. Does this mean I would never watch this cut again? No. It’s still a fuc-ing amazing movie and I still love it with all my heart. To get to the point, not everyone has seen this sucker yet, so let’s say you have a few friends who want to catch it at the local theater. You are iffy, but think they should see it- you will still enjoy the movie. But if you have the uncut version at home and everyone you know has seen it, this version is pretty much rendered useless.

But I do have some advice. From what I understand the uncut version available online does not have English subtitles (at the time I looked). I would suggest seeing Lions Gates version in theaters just for the theater experience, then be extra surprised when you see the DVD and the extra 2 minutes of gore.

Speaking of gore…

I have been a fan of this flick for what feels like forever now, and fought to get a UK DVD release of the film. I threw it at the wall after I watched 30 minutes- that cut was UNACCEPTABLE, and I thought Lions Gate would have used a similar cut. This is false; Lions Gate’s cut is still quite brutal, extremely brutal for that matter. The only major difference I noticed was during the “head removal” sequence towards the beginning. It sucked for me, but anyone who hasn’t seen this sucker will still be screaming for joy!

Nope, I’m not finished; you need to know about the “hybrid” dubbing. Lions Gate went out of their ways to try and make it more acceptable for the hard core fans like you and me- they actually made sense of the dubbing. When the lead is talking to her friend Alex and her family she speaks in English, but when she talks to herself she speaks French. It’s slightly (ok maybe VERY) distracting in the first 20-30 minutes, but once the **** hits the fan- you never look back and don’t even notice.

I’m still disappointed with Lions Gate for making this decision- I feel like one of my good friends just made a jackass of himself. But business is business and the goal of a business is to make money. NC-17 would mean a drastic loss in revenue, and the fact of the matter is that it’s still a hard R and we will get an uncut subtitled US version on DVD in sixth months. So rejoice that at least a company like Lions Gate has their hands on this sucker and not Dimension.

Your repugnant fiend,

Mr D.

PS: If you missed out, check out this clip and tell me you’re not going to love it.