Prior to viewing Martyrs, I had come across many reviews which obviously I would ignore. After all, I love the Horror genre as lately French Horror films have really stepped up to the plate & delivered the goods. Martyrs isn't an exception to that rule although I believe this one may have surpassed even my expectations.
Forget the slasher genre before watching Martyrs. I can go ahead & tell you this in advance. Irregardless of what glimmer of hope you may detect in the initial chapters, Martyrs will crush your very soul after it settles inside your skin. Don't expect any heroes/heroines but brace yourself instead for a very extreme & morbid film which may be anything but predictable as far as Horror films usually go. A happy ending to satisfy consumers who only watch Horror films as a means of escape may find themselves way out of their comfort zone and I strongly urge them to steer away from Martyrs.
On second thought, try to avoid reading online reviews as many opinions may contain spoilers. Martyrs is perhaps most effective if experienced without an prior introduction. Even so, only the most hardcore fans should even attempt viewing this psychological masterpiece. If you somehow feel you've lost your edge after watching Saw or Hostel, I would highly suggest you pick up something else instead.
Martyrs is the unforgettable story of a young child who manages to escape from a house of enslavement & torture only to find she can never truly escape her past. The film skips ahead 15 years & we find the child now grown & hell-bent on a violent rampage in hopes of killing her captors. Her lifelong friend arrives at the scene of the bloodbath only a bit too late & then the real horrors begin.
Throughout the next 45 minutes, we are then subjected to a series of terrifying images which are even more devastating & unpleasant than anything witnessed in the initial opening. Laugier doesn't cater to the faint of heart nor does he wish to join the ranks of other film-makers who specialize in the so-called torture porn films. (As one reviewer has already stated,I think we need a new name for films which normally would fall into that category.) Instead, we are presented a deeply moving study of trauma & it's emotional effects on the human heart. Martyrs easily gets my vote for the most macabre work of art bequeathed in many years.
Having said that, it may be awhile time before I watch Martyrs again but my experience here will stick with me for a long time.
**** out of **** "Martyrs" is a true - and great - horror movie in the sense that it's not the kind that is best enjoyed with popcorn and soda. Today, the higher paying audience for this genre seems to be teenagers; so horror movies made for adults are essentially scarce, but Pascal Laugier has reminded me of what it is like to both see and feel the pain that is being inflicted to the various characters on-screen. You can't care about the wound if you don't understand it, … more
French horror films have been outshining Hollywood horror for the past few years. Writer/director Pascal Laugier's "Martyrs" is an ultra-violent, harrowingly brutal and disquieting film about human suffering; both mentally, physically and emotionally. At first glance, one would think that this film has religious undertones but no, it takes a different road as to how it makes its point. I've read that the film was rejected by a number of large French studios, and has been rejected by a … more
I was pretty nervous before sitting down to view Martyrs—but not for the reasons you might expect. Sure, I'd heard about how intense and soul-crushing the film was and how people felt that you could admire it but really not "enjoy" it, but for me those kind of statements inspire a different sort of dread than what was intended. After spending over a decade writing about horror films (and nearly three decades watching them), I'm more scared when a movie comes so highly touted than I am that it might … more