Oh, how I wish this was a knowing parody, not an unwitting one. All the overbaked tropes of the genre are deployed: the “scary” music, the “menacing” camera angles, the telegraphing every boo.
How do you solve a problem like Marie? We haven’t seen a horror-movie heroine like her since perhaps *Alien*’s Ripley, ardently independent and fiercely determined not to be a victim… but with a twist to her psyche that will, I suspect, be a greater source of fascinated, can’t-look-away terror to male audiences than the nonstop gore. For there is an aggressively sexual element to Marie’s intensity that ends up being the most vivid thing about *High Tension* — sublimated female rage and passion are given full, furious expression here, and… wow, does it make for a shocking, provocative, unforgettable movie about how women are too often overlooked, ignored, underestimated, and misunderstood.