Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin
Directed by Pascal Laugier
Distributed by Genius Products
This film is a tough one for me to call. Even though we have a glowing Martyrs review on our site, I can’t help but disagree. Everyone has been losing their shit over this movie for the better part of a year. Me? I know I am going to take heat for this, but I honestly believe it is over-rated. Before we get to all that though, how about a quick story recap?
Sometimes bad things happen to completely innocent people. Such is the case when we meet a little girl from the Seventies who is battered, beaten, and running for her very life. The victim of a brutal kidnapping, she grows up to become a seriously scarred young woman (Mylene Jampanoi as Lucie) suffering from violent hallucinations. Good thing she has a best friend (Morjana Alaoui as Anna) to go through thick and thin with. One who’ll do anything for her, even help to kill the people who had oppressed and tortured her so many years ago. But there is a bigger, far more intense picture here. This is no ordinary revenge film. To talk further about the plot would truly spoil it so you’re on your own with this one. Let’s get to the movie itself.
Martyrs starts off with a piercing scream and grips you from its opening seconds. The film is unrelenting, scary, violent, and extremely unsettling. But then midway through, once the real plot is revealed, it becomes just another tie a girl to a chair and torture the hell out of her flick. This broke my heart. The first forty-five minutes are incredible. Riveting! Shocking! If only it could have ended right there. Don’t get me wrong; Martyrs‘ third act is shot beautifully and the acting is top notch, but no matter how good it looks, no matter how hard you try, no matter to what lengths you go to dress it up with the most artistic of bows — in the end you’re still left with a chick tied to a chair and screaming while the minutes tick away like hours. The once roaring fire had petered out. By the time it was over, I was disinterested, disappointed, and shockingly bored.
In terms of special features there’s not a lot, but what we do get is quality. Things kick off with an introduction to the film by writer/director Pascal Laugier, and from there fans can check out the hour-long documentary titled, cleverly enough, The Making-of Martyrs. Interesting if not a tad pretentious, the documentary does a fine job of doling out the expected behind-the-scenes goods. Tack on the teaser trailer and the full trailer, and there you have it.
Martyrs is a fine film that’s well above average, and with it Pascal Laugier proves that he has the chops to hang with the best of horror’s heavyweights. I expect everyone’s apt to have a different reaction to the movie as it is no doubt polarizing. This really isn’t something to like or dislike as much as it is an experience to be appreciated. Even though for my money it ends up feeling all too familiar by the end credits, it still does what it does better than most.
3 1/2 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5
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