Haute Tension (High Tension or Switchblade Romance)
Director: Alexandre Aja
Many slasher films, in their lovable eagerness to make us squirm, forget that human bones are as strong as cement blocks. It takes a lot of force and velocity to smash one to smithereens. Filmmaker Alexandre Aja and his team of sound mixers/re-recorders want us to feel queasy too but their love for gore aficionados is rooted in a fierce commitment to realism. For every skull that is crushed, every neck that is broken and each time a part of the human body snaps, cracks and pops out, it is accompanied by a visceral sound effect that hands out front-row seats to our earlobes. The home invasion sequence that introduces us to the antagonist, in particular, is the absolute best. It’s the top of the pops, especially abusive, alcoholic and couch-potato pops. It has a three-second scene with a curb stomp that sounds like the cruelest act in the world. The credit also goes to Philippe Nahon, a gentleman that graces the screen with the ease of a slap on the wrist yet bearing the complexities of a well-timed kidney punch.