Top positive review
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Brilliant and deeply disturbing film.
on 15 May 2014
First of all, Martyrs is the type of film that's guaranteed to shock it's viewer so it's not really recommended for those who have a weak stomach or is faint of heart. Pascal Laugier has created a deeply disturbing and powerful assault on the senses, his direction was quite good with some beautiful cinematography and lighting, and the performances from both Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï were both outstanding. The film begins by showing a young girl, bloodied and gaunt, running from some unspecified evil she's just escaped from. Shortly afterward, we flash forward to the girl as a young lady--Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï, in an astonishing, heartbreaking performance), still too traumatized fifteen years later to sleep alone.
So she sleeps in the same room with her lifelong friend Anna (Morjana Alaoui, also delivered a terrific, haunting performance), who loves Lucie and is doing her best to empathize with her. But Lucie has a demon. A real one. One that chases her around and cuts her with knives and is generally evil and mean to her. Anna never sees the demon, but she goes along with Lucie when Lucie devises a plan to do what it takes to put it to rest. She must return to the heart of darkness and kill her childhood tormentors.
Lucie then goes out and massacres an entire family with a shot gun. At first, you believe she's bonkers, but we soon realize that the parents killed weren't whom they appear..far, far worse. But, Lucie hallucinates, believing that a mistreated victim she didn't rescue as a child after escaping from the place where she was tortured is always coming for her. Anna who witnesses the aftermath of the slaughter, attempts to clean up the mess, while mortified at such a grisly crime scene.. It's here that the movie gets really interesting due to the way it begins to defy expectations. Martyrs is yet another vicious, dementedly violent masterpiece that the French can call their own, and possibly the most brutal one yet!
The highly original premise cannot be compared with any other modern horror flick, even though some scenes were reminiscent of Hostel, both films were entirely different. It's not your typical torture porn as it is much more than that. Martyrs is truly a brilliant film, with good actors and a good story. The thesis is that if a person can survive extremes of pain and deprivation, new vistas may be opened to them.
It's been long-held that the right side of the brain, the imaginative, creative side receives its flashes of insight or inspiration under extremes of stress a different kind of martyrdom. It may be that there's some truth in the theory. Whatever the case, it's a topic worth exploring, and "Martyrs" does a pretty good job of it. While the brutality was sometimes hard to watch, the underlying theme rendered it all fascinating, unlike so many pointless torture pics it actually makes you think. Martyrs was truly a fantastic film that's guaranteed to shock and disturb horror fans out there as it will make you think about it for days later, it's definitely one of my favorite French horror film.