High Tension (2003) Poster



Director Alexandre Aja discovered star Maïwenn at a stand up comedy show in France.
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According to director Alexandre Aja four different locations were used for Alexia's house, but the set dressing and editing make it appear as one location.
The camera used during the car-attack scene got so much fake blood on it during shooting that when it was being used on another film later on fake blood oozed from it during the focusing of a shot.
The shot where the fake blood splatters the camera lens during the murder of the driver was actually an accident, but the shot impressed director Alexandre Aja so it was left in the film. The graphic shot was cut from the theatrical release though, but was restored for the DVD release.
According to Alexandre Aja the scene where Marie hides from the killer in the gas station restroom is a homage to a similar scene in Maniac (1980).
The only studio filming done was shooting the scenes between Marie and Alexia inside the killer's truck. The studio itself was merely a garage.
Influenced by the Dean Koontz novel, Intensity, director-writer Alexandre Aja had read the novel prior to making Haute Tension. Despite the similarities Koontz later elected not to peruse a plagiarism case as Haute Tension only resembles Intensity in the first half of the film.
The scenes in the woods were particularly rough for stars Cécile de France and Maïwenn as both were supposed to be bare footed and the weather was quite cold.
Shot in 36 days.
The film is set in the south of France, but it was shot entirely in Romania, due to budgetary reasons and the availability of similar locations.
Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur are childhood friends and made this film as a homage to the old-school horror films of the 70's and 80's that the two would watch together growing up.
Cécile de France trained with a Thai boxer to get in shape for her physically demanding role.
Cécile de France did most of the stunt driving during the car chase through the woods.
The location used for the exteriors of Alexia's house was actually a dilapidated mill that the production cleaned up and dressed for the film.
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The overalls that the killer is wearing the whole time say "Aja & Freres" on the back. The director's name is Alexandre Aja.
The headphones of Marie's personal stereo are Bang & Olufsen A8 headphones.
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Director Cameo 

Alexandre Aja: Alex's Father's legs.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

According to the director, the screenplay version of the film had the entire movie from Marie's version of events. You didn't find out she was the killer until the end of the film after Marie defeats the killer and rescues Alex, when it would cut back to the Hospital Room and you see Marie in handcuffs. A police officer would roll in a TV and show Marie the video of her killing the gas station attendant and ask if she wanted to change her story. The real version of events was meant to be another movie entirely. However, when the writers presented the script to Luc Besson, he convinced them to change the ending to include the last reel of the film revealing Marie as the killer, instead of the last five minutes.
According to Alexandre Aja the brutal death of Jimmy was modeled after the infamous axe murder in The Shining (1980).
The scene of Marie searching for Alexia in the cornfield originally ended with Marie catching a glimpse of the killer's rusty truck in the center of the field, but the shot was cut to keep the film a bit more ambiguous.
When the killer first appears on screen (pleasuring himself in his truck) the human head he tosses out the window is Alex's. Note the dried blood under the nose. The same as when Alex is discovered chained in her bedroom
The original concept for the film was for it to take place entirely at Alexia's house over the course of the night. Aja and Levasseur decided that the story needed more locations, but wanted to keep the idea of it taking place all in one evening.
The rifle that is later used to shoot Tom can be seen hanging over the fireplace in the shot where we see Alexia's father through the study window and Marie walks by outside. It's a subtle but startling clue to the films climatic revelation.

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