Switchblade Romance (Alexandre Aja, 2003)

What's it about? A French slasher film in which see two college friends, Marie (Cécile De France) and Alex (Maïwenn) heading off to spend a weekend at Alex's parents house in the countryside. But - UH OH! - that's just the same weekend a horrible serial killer turns up to kill everyone. Merde!

Is it any good? Well, this doesn't have any switchblades, nor does it really have a romance, so what's that title about? Perhaps a more accurate translation from the original title 'Haute Tension', would have been 'Nasty Little Film With Monumentally Stupid Twist". The nastiness comes courtesy of some graphic gore and violence, which is well enough done, but becomes increasingly tiresome in its attempts to shock. Truth be told, I had almost dozed off to the sounds of yet more screaming and melon-squelching when the twist crept up and took me unawares with its monumental stupidity. Indeed, I assumed I had actually fallen asleep and missed some key explanations. But no, it really was that stupid. I can only deduce that the writers had been bludgeoned in the head with a barbed-wire cudgel once too often when they came up with this ending. Terrible!

I don't trust you. What do others think? Some horror fans claimed this as a welcome throwback to those relentless, no-humour, no-holds-barred 70s flicks, like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, but those deluded fans have presumably been tortured into saying that by a madman wielding a whizzing concrete saw. The censors also took a dim view of the violence, demanding several cuts to avoid an NC-17 rating in the US. However, perhaps the most put out by it all was author Dean Koontz, as the film was a totally unauthorised rip-off of his novel Intensity. Not only did he not receive royalties, but many people now think he wrote the ludicrous ending, even though his book has no such twist. I think it is telling that even Dean Koontz - and let us not forget that this is a man who has written no small amount of megacrap in his time - balked at writing something so bafflingly improbable as the ending on display here.

What does the Fonz think? Shite Club.

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