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Saturday, June 11, 2005

High Tension

About this Film
Spiritual Connections

Just returned from seeing High Tension, also known as Haute Tension in it’s original French Format. This film, dubbed and edited from the original French version carries a understandable ‘R’ rating and is being billed as one of the most violent movies ever made. Even the girl selling me the tickets to see the movie warned me; “Oh man, that movie is really gory and gross.” I wasn’t looking forward to the gross part but was looking forward to the “intensity” the movie trailers seemed to portray.

06.jpg (91 K)Speaking of Intensity, from the previews I was amazed at how much the story line resembled the Dean Koontz story of Intensity of which Fox Television did a miniseries in 1997. When originally seeing the trailers at the theater some months ago I said to my wife; “That looks just like Dean Kontz’s Intensity.” “Yea it does to me too.” She replied. To say the least I am shocked that more haven’t made this comparison. After seeing the movie, I am even more shocked.

Let me make something perfectly clear here, right off the very start. I believe that High Tension is a direct rip off of the Dean Koontz story Intensity, and unfortunately, I haven’t seen this referred to in the press, or comments regarding this movie. Almost line for line, without the character detail, and story development, High Tension is exactly out of the Koontz story, that is until the very ending of the story. From the opening harrowing scenes, to the closing confrontation on back wood streets, the story is directly from Dean Koontz.

With that said, I must say that knowing this and seeing this I was disappointed throughout the movie, so my opinions were already prejudiced. Prejudiced from the perspective that Koontz is a wonderful story teller who tells stories that are intense and riveting. He always develops heroes or heroines that the reader can appreciate. While complicated, they are someone that can be admired. Without giving much away, that can not be said for High Tension. While we are looking for heroes we eventually come to a place of confusion where we see individuals fighting within their own lives over the power of love and the power of evil.

The search for love and the recognition of evil within each individual is in part what this story is all about. It is the reality that all persons are evil that helps hit that message home, and hit it home hard during the conclusion of this movie. The search for understanding, and the need to be loved is the only characteristic that can break down evil within any individual. This component reminded me of the passage out of Romans that states that; “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The message of even our heroes being evil or having the potential of evil is delivered in thought provoking way here. The message for the need of love of each individual also hits home. It is one of the things that makes the message of Christ so important. The old John 3:16 passage still has meaning. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not die, but will live forever.” The sacrifice of Christ came at a terrible ! cost. The cost which included a great deal of blood. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”

01.jpg (39 K)High Tension does not go easy on the blood that is shed during this movie. It is gory, and gross. It is excessive and a movie that I would strongly recommend that parents keep young children away from. To be honest, I don’t think I would even take my 15 year old to see this movie. That does not change the fact though that youth will flock to see this movie. They will devour the gore, and unfortunately likely not understand the twist at the end or the message of each person struggling with their own battle trying to identify the good, and the evil within each of us.

Technically, this movie is done quite well. While it is a direct rip off of the Dean Koontz version of Intensity, it is still a story of an individual searching for love, and an individual willing to search deep within to find the courage to take on the evil around them. It is a story resembling in some ways of Flannery O’Conner’s story A Good Man Is Hard To Find. We see that with the face of evil, good people die, and even innocent children often times get caught up in the crossfire of that battle.

Is this a story that everyone will enjoy? Heck no, you might even say that very few people will enjoy it. I didn’t and wouldn’t want to see the movie again. I found myself cringing at the extreme usage of violence and found myself appreciating the mini series of Intensity far more. Don’t get me wrong, the intensity is still in High Tension, but I preferred the intensity in Intensity, without all of the gore.

05.jpg (66 K)I won’t recommend that you see this movie, that doesn’t change the fact though that there are valuable lessons we can all learn from it and talk to others about who do see the movie. Helping each person understand that they themselves are struggling and battling the good and evil within them is a worthwhile discussion. Helping them understand that love conquers all is a good topic of discussion, and ultimately helping them understand the one who delivers ultimate love is an even better topic of discussion.

On a scale of 1-10, for the number of people who die taken away from 10 I leave a disappointing 4

About this Film
Spiritual Connections


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also saw the strange similarity to Intensity immediately when the movie started, and it just kept going! The way Marie made it look like no one was living in the guest room, the way she snuck into the van, the scene at the gas station...this movie IS Intensity! At first, when the movie started, I thought it was supposed to be based on the book, but then it had that weird plot twist...maybe someone should alert Koontz!


5:15 AM

Blogger Reviews by Mike Furches said...

Thanks for your comments Shannon. It is hard to imagine that Koontz and his people have not heard of this as of yet. I even waited through the credits to see Koontz given credit, and he wasn't. Pretty sad actually.

5:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the first half of Intensity, can you tell me how it ended? Comcast had it as one of its free movies but after watching the first half it ended and now we do not know what happened. If you can help thank you.

7:14 PM

Blogger Reviews by Mike Furches said...

Sorry can't tell, get the book or the movie, they both actually end in pretty much the same way.

6:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the same thing, until I saw this:

It looks like Mr. Koontz was given credit as one of the writers.

10:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw this movie last night. I was convinced it was Koontz's Intensity before the farmhouse scene was complete, kept waiting for him to eat the spider. The movie went well until the chase scene in the woods where I think the plot fell apart.

6:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dean Koontz was the first adult author I started reading as a child, "Intensity" was the first adult book I ever read. Man did I love that book, I must have read and re-read it more that a dozen times. I know it now line for line, every word every detail. (I know it's sad) When the mini-series came out I refused to watch it because my mental vision of the book was the only way I could ever want to see it. Now, here I sit, with High Tension right in front of me, debating whether to watch it. Since I saw the trailer I thought I was lonesome in seeing the similarities... good to know I'm not

7:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I agree with everyone. High Tension did rip off Koontz. I contacted him and he wrote back that he was already aware of the movie and the issue will be addressed in later times.

Carrie in Alaska

11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first when I saw the truck the killer was driving, I didn't think it was Intensity. Then after the gas station scene, I was convinced. After the movie I looked High Tension on the web and low and behold there it was, A rip off. I am very upset. I really enjoyed reading Intensity and now High Tension ruined it for me. What a let down. I sure hope Koontz does something about this!

8:42 PM

Anonymous Nathan Ward said...

I'm REALLY late on this comment, but I just came across your page today when reading my latest Dean Koontz Newsletter (Useless News ... but you're on our mailing list, and there's nowhere to hide.") where this movie was reference, but not by name.

Koontz was not associated with this movie, except to begin a plagiarism case against it before stopping, "because he found the film so puerile, so disgusting, and so intellectually bankrupt that he didn't want the association with it that would inevitably come if he purused an action against the filmmaker."

2:40 PM

Blogger Reviews by Mike Furches said...

I looked up the imdb data base log and didn't find any place where Koontz was given credit, as he should be. I hate to say this, but I do wish he would continue the action against the movie, they stole from him and that is a shame.

9:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched High Tension last weekend. My daughter brought me Mr. Koontz's book Intensity this weekend. I am at page 49 and it's exactly the same except for the guesthouse, eating the spider, the telephone in the guestroom.

So far, am loving the book far more than the movie.

It's a shame the film makers don't make mention of Mr. Koontz or involved him in the movie. It might have actually been alot better. It's kind of like someone copying your homework and taking credit for it.

5:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really really late to be making a comments (as it's now 2006), but after watching High Tension last night, I was online looking up references and came across this review.

Just curious - because everyone seems so quick to jump on the bandwagon to bash the movie...

Is anyone else aware that the movie itself is a tribute to horror and the classics? The director himself speaks out praising Koontz and saying that the movie most certainly did borrow extensively from the Intensity book. It's not like he's trying to hide the fact or claim the work as his own. He also makes refernence to other artists, movies and books, where scene were snipped in order to pay homage, including Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), John Carpenter, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, William Lustig (the Gas Station Scene is an exact copy of Maniac).

I just find it funny that people are in such a frenzy over this topic, as it's a non issue.

If I was Koontz, I would take it as a compliment, not a reason to even consider a lawsuit. If the directors/writers were claiming everything as original, it'd be a different story ... but they're not.

3:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm showing up late to this party. I have been going nuts trying to find anyone who had read the book and seen this movie. How can you say it's a non-issue that these guys ripped off someone elses work almost to the letter and don't give the actual creator of the story any credit? I don't care if the director admitted to "borrowing" Koontz' ideas. They stole almost an entire movie's worth of story from the guy! I watched the dvd and the interviews with the creators and they certainly didn't mention Koontz at all on it. They sat there and arrogantly assumed we wouldn't know what hacks they were, talking about how they thought up this story as a tribute to 70's horror flicks. THEY ARE LIARS and they should apologize to their fans and Dean Koontz for making a bad choice. They are certainly capable of making a great film (the movie has great cinematography) but they blew it with this one. The most insulting part of it all is how they tried to throw us off their scent by tacking on a completely nonsensical "plot twist", hoping that we would somehow feel like this was really their story all along. From the moment the Koontz part of the story ends and their throw-together hack job of a story starts, all plotline logic goes out the window. Don't support these guys. They're 100% guilty.

11:51 PM

Blogger Reviews by Mike Furches said...

Good to know that people are still checking out the review. My comment here will be brief. If the movie makers are now giving credit, great, they should. Then again they should have before they tried to pawn the movie off as one of their own. I have the original DVD and movie and believe me, originally they tried to take credit for the entire story. What does it matter, it matters that someone would try to steal an idea and concept and take it on as one of their own. Believe me, if they are giving Koontz credit now, it is because they were forced to.

7:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, i read the book, saw the miniseries (liked it) and also saw high tension. The funny thing is i was watching high tension with a friend and mentioned "this is a lot like a book i read by Dean Koontz. At least until the plot twist. I would say that if high tension the movie actually tried to pass itself off as "original" then the creators of the movie were not very smart. The first part of the movie follows the book too closely. I am sure there will be some behind the scenes lawsuits and I think that that would be warranted. The plot twist in high tension is not enough to excuse plagarism. That being said I enjoyed the movie anyway.


8:38 PM

Anonymous Kristen said...

I am a huge horror fanatic and Dean Koontz is my second favorite author only after Stephen King. I have never felt strongly enough to post on anything that I have seen or read, mostly keeping my opinions to myself or sharing them with family but High Tension is the biggest "hack" job I have ever come across. After 5 minutes of watching the movie I began researching the issue and found this site. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who made the correlation, thus giving credit where credit is due even after being lied to. The plot twist was a terrible B-rated blow to the story which I believe we can all again give credit where it is due: to Alexandre Aja in an attempt to hide his obvious plagiarism. I will never watch another movie written or directed by this liar.

Thank you for the place and opportunity to vent my frustrations!


11:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would they mention Koontz? They can hardly credit him when they used his story without permission. Which they did.

12:12 PM


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