High Tension (Switchblade Romance)—Lionsgate (Blu-ray)

Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 3/5

"High Tension" is an intense game of murder and survival, which will rattle viewers to their core. Maria and Alexia are classmates and best friends. Hoping to prepare for their college exams in peace and quiet, they decide to spend a weekend in the country at Alexia's parents secluded farmhouse. But in the dead of night, a stranger knocks on the front door. And with the first swing of his knife, the girls' idyllic weekend turns into an endless night of horror.

High Tension has always had a bit of a grungy look to it. Contrast is a bit exaggerated, blacks are murky and fine detail wavers. This is the way it has always looked and that is what the Blu-ray delivers. It is a step up from the previous DVD versions I’ve seen, but given the look don’t expect a dramatic shift. This Blu-ray includes both the original French language track and the English dub. Both are offered in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. I stuck with the French track, which provided plenty of atmosphere and low end prowess. The only real problem I had was with the dialogue. The dubbing (regardless of the language) sounds like it was recorded in a completely different environment than what you’re seeing on screen. It stands out and feels very artificial. The tonal balance and overall volume are just completely wrong.

Extras include a pair of commentaries from the director as well as some behind the scenes looks at the production.

High Tension was one of the films that set off our recent chain of torture, high violence films and also our seeming attention to European cinema for our latest scares. Horror fans shouldn’t miss it, but it is certainly not for the squeamish. The Blu-ray serves up a decent A/V presentation that outdoes the previous versions I’ve seen.

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