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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the 2nd Most Disturbing Film of All Time
I've no doubt that the Japanese movie, Audition (which I've reviewed elsewhere), is the most challenging and disturbing film which I've ever seen. I think that Martyrs comes a very close second. In recent years, the French have been right up there with the Japanese and Koreans, in producing movies which many laud or denigrate as "torture-porn", and which test one's...
Published 11 months ago by Bill

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to stomach
This is an uncompromising film that, at times, is very uncomfortable to watch. The typical horror splatter gore of the main bulk of the film contrasts sharply with the brutal (but gore restrained) violence of the final act.

Am I glad I watched this film? Yes.

Will I be watching it again? No, not for a very long time anyway.
Published on 7 Dec. 2010 by T. Newbery


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the 2nd Most Disturbing Film of All Time, 29 July 2014
By 
Bill (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Martyrs [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I've no doubt that the Japanese movie, Audition (which I've reviewed elsewhere), is the most challenging and disturbing film which I've ever seen. I think that Martyrs comes a very close second. In recent years, the French have been right up there with the Japanese and Koreans, in producing movies which many laud or denigrate as "torture-porn", and which test one's personal limits for viewing graphic scenes of violence. The French have given us Irreversible, Switchblade Romance and Frontiers (all commendable, beautifully shot, well acted, and thought provoking), but I think that Martyrs surpasses all of them. At the outset, early 1970's, a young French girl named Lucie escapes from a derelict warehouse, having been beaten almost to a pulp. She ends up being treated in a psychiatric ward, where she makes friends with Anna. The two of them become like sisters. 15 years later, Lucie is sure that she has traced the people who tortured her, a middle class couple with kids in a nice big house. Lucie turns up on their doorstep and goes to work on the family with a shotgun, the mayhem is extremely gory and gives you a flavour of what is to come. I won't give away too much else of the film. But, suffice it to say, you learn about a secret organisation, that imprisons and tortures people, to learn the limits of what the human spirit can endure. There is a secret world of hideous experimentation on poor lost souls, and Lucie finds herself trapped back in that world. This film has the usual style and panache of a French film (think Luc Besson in Leon or Nikita), the lead actors are engrossing, the story is full of myriad twists and turns, and it deals with troubling and unpleasant issues, including self-mutilation, needless surgery, and the most extreme of psychological traumas. Be under no illusions, this is a serious work of horror, some will walk out of the room (like I did watching Audition, but not this film), and some may think the film is sick and borderline misogynistic, but it is a breath-taking standard bearer for how modern horror can challenge the mental strength of even the most avid viewers of this particular sub-genre. A brilliant horror film, best watched on an empty stomach and with a stiff brandy to hand.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ordeal, 24 Jan. 2010
By 
Mr. Jp Scott-howes "Manson'sUglySon" (Tate Residence, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
I thought that I was a fairly seasoned gore hound, I was under the impression that I couldn't be shocked, I was wrong!

From the opening sequence of a bloody and battered young girl squealing and screaming, limping as fast as her brutalised body could manage, to get away from as yet undisclosed terrors, to the closing sequence which I had to have explained for me by my sister's fiance, as my hand was firmly up in front of my face, because frankly I couldn't watch any more, Martyrs is a thoroughly engaging and compelling examination of human suffering.

What it isn't however is enjoyable. This film was far too brutal, gritty and nasty for me. A Saturday night ought never to involve watching a young girl tied to a chair in a dirty warehouse being slapped around her already bloody and bruised face.

By an hour or so in, though I felt violated by this film, I still felt that I could deal with it, then the movie shifts gears and from the last half hour goes down a hithero (to me anyway) unexpected path and that was when I started to really struggle. The last third of Martyrs is one of the most terrible, horrible, awful, vile things that I've ever put myself through, yet it is substantially less gory than the hour which preceeds it, there is no way of me explaining how this is possible with spoiling things for you, so you shall have to take my word for it.

Though this wasn't for me I have given it four stars because in many ways it is a brilliant film. It is incredibly original and sumptuously filmed and edited with a rawness that lends an extra veneer of grit to a movie which is already rotten with cutting edge ideas and envelope pushing concepts.

I would thoroughly recommend this to people who enjoy utter darkness, rawness and brutality in their movies. I shall return to collecting Troma films, safe on the knowledge that there are limits to what I consider to be entertainment
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martyrs: Greek for Witness., 17 Mar. 2014
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
Martyrs is written and directed by Pascal Laugier. It stars Morjana Alaoui and Mylene Jampanoi.

The New French Extremity Movement had its bar raised considerably by Pascal Laugier’s brutal but thought provoking horror. It’s a film as uncompromising as it is confrontational, a picture guaranteed to get a response for better or worse. Once viewed it simply will not be forgotten, the images, the twisty narrative thematics and the bloodshed that flows consistently throughout the story, Laugier and his two brilliant lead actresses assault the senses, magnificently so.

Story is unfurled as a three tiered structure, each one devastating, but it’s with the final third where the picture goes up through the stratosphere, stopping briefly at the café weird just to further tickle our craniums. Some of the violence here is tough to watch, and it’s no surprise to find it was met with the inevitable charges of misogyny. Yet the culmination of it all puts some perspective on the violence witnessed, leading to a strangely profound and moving climax.

The less you know about it going in for the first time the better. A strong stomach is required, as is an open mind, if you have these things then awaiting you is a visceral masterwork, one of the finest horror film’s to have ever come out of France. Yes, it’s that astonishing. 10/10
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martyrs obtains martyrdom, 29 May 2009
By 
Mr. A. J. Messenger "queen_adreena12" (Walsall, WM, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this film last night around a friend's house. I knew nothing about it and was really not that interested in watching a film, however, by the end I was glad that I had not protested.

This film is a rollercoaster of emotions and revelations. Beginning with a young girl who has been abused running out of a industrial building screaming is some opening. Move on 15 years later and she and her friend who you meet in the opening credits begin their journey creating a magnificent piece of French cinema.

I will not give any spoilers away but this film puts films like Hostel and Saw to shame. The problem is that this film is not for everyone, it does take some thought to figure out what is going on and believe me your feelings for characters will change throughout.

By the end you feel like you have been Martyred as it is tough to endure if you let yourself slip into the story, which I might add is very believeable. Watch out for the photographs in the film, they are real and what is described are true events.

All in all 5/5, I've just purchased it myself for my collection, and it is a worthy addition.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to stomach, 7 Dec. 2010
By 
T. Newbery "Ageing Gamer" (West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Martyrs [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is an uncompromising film that, at times, is very uncomfortable to watch. The typical horror splatter gore of the main bulk of the film contrasts sharply with the brutal (but gore restrained) violence of the final act.

Am I glad I watched this film? Yes.

Will I be watching it again? No, not for a very long time anyway.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holy Crap!, 1 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
Like the previous reviewer, I consider myself to be fairly hardcore gorehound and am usually immune to queasy feelings when watching horror (this isn't technically a horror, but I certainly can't think of a better word) movies, but 'Martyrs' is an exception. It gave me the same uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I got the first time I saw 'Scum', many years ago.
It takes itself very seriously. There's none of the 'it's only a movie' hack n' slash torture porn vibe of 'Hostel' or 'Saw'. This one's for grown ups. The psychological aspects of the torture scenes are every bit as disturbing as the physical brutality portrayed on screen. Also there is a twisted point to all the violence.
If you have a stout heart and a strong stomach and enjoy meaningful, challenging art house movies then give 'Martyrs' a go, but be warned, this is extreme cinema at it's most extreme.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 3 July 2009
By 
DBT "dt" (God's Own County) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
Once again, I am compelled to write a review of a horror film. Until recently I thought the horror genre was dying, if not dead, despite clutching at occasional offerings such as `Mum and Dad' and `Eden Lake' both of which offered hope and a possible new direction in the horror genre. Whilst not necessarily a fan of torture porn, I think it is here to stay and at first, I thought `Martyrs' promised little more than misogynistic uberviolence.
But it's not. The plot leads you by a clammy hand through twists and turns, and whereas the mental illness angle was relatively easy to second guess, the second half of this genre jumping film was completely unpredictable. This is vicious, viscous, cerebral horror, horror to make you think, horror which really does leave mental scars. You might not want to, but you must make yourself watch this film to the end. Even now, I'm still struggling to come to terms with the basic philosophical thoughts which underpin this work and the absolute realism and attention to detail which informs the viewer throughout. Sitting through the second half, I wondered if this film was a step too far, considered that there ought to be tighter censorship laws governing these violent and sickening representations: the fact that the denouement made me, transiently, consider that the process I had witnessed justified the end result, worries me. This is a film about the unspeakable and the ultimate justification of the unspeakable and your own, eventual, compliance with the unspeakable.
I have deliberately not given any of the plot away, because on one level a good plot serves primarily to communicate ideas and move us towards them, and this film is a film of ideas, ideas so old they could be said to underpin the fabric of our society. If you are a horror aficionado, if you want to have your boundaries stretched, if you feel you have become complacent in your attitude towards a genre you thought was failing, then this is the film for you. This is a film that returns horror to its rightful place, on the top shelf, restricted. This is no fifteen certificate, this is horror grown up. Horror was never meant for social gatherings, shared bon hommie, popcorn in packed cinemas. DVD is the perfect format: we shouldn't want to share the darker sides of ourselves in public, lest we reveal ourselves to be actually enjoying something forbidden. This is certainly not a film for everyone, and I praise Pascal Laugier for that: uncompromisingly adults only - and so much the better for it, this isn't a film where any concessions have been made to taste or decency. This is European horror, deeper than society or sorority. This is streets ahead of the commercialised big budget American market where profit margins dilute content and result in `MTV Horror'. Horror isn't werewolves or vampires; horror is humanity, it's history, it's us. This is New Horror which takes us to the places we recognise in our neighbour, Josef Fritzl. An outstanding, marvellously sickening and deep contribution to my collection which leaves recent cause célèbres floundering in the shallows.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A shocking, powerful journey into the dark side of humanity, 17 Dec. 2009
By 
Mr. Jonathon T. Beckett "vampire lover" (Dracula's Crypt) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
!WARNING!MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!

The film begins with a young girl named Lucie, escaping from an unseen tormentor. Battered and bruised, she ends up in a home, but slowly her physical scars heal as she is befriended by another girl Anna, also a victim of abuse.
Fifteen years later, and a family are sitting down to breakfast when a now adult Lucie walks into their house, and kills them all. She then rings Anna, and tells her she has found those responsible for her torment as a child. When Anna arrives at the house, she is greeted by the horrifying sight of the bodies of two adults and two teenage children. She also witnesses Lucie mutilating herself, and starts to realise that the experiences Lucie faced as a child might have completely unhinged her mind. Lucie after experiencing flashbacks to her kidnapping, and another victim she had to leave behind, slashes her throat and dies from the injury.
Anna rings her mother for some comfort, but then a panel in the wall falls open. Anna investigates and finds that Lucie wasn't so mad after all.
This is a film that will stay with you for a considerable time after you have watched it. I don't think that those who were ultimately put off by the shocking scenes of abuse towards the end should be ridiculed, as it is indeed a shocking viewing experience, and not for everyone. What is totally wrong, is to dismiss it as torture porn, as that is one thing it certainly isn't. What I witnessed was a powerful journey that explores the true nature of horror, the depths that some people will go to in order to try to attain knowledge, and it was also a film about the power of friendship and how it can overcome all. It was thought provoking, shocking, brutal, near unwatchable at times, but ultimately it was a very rewarding film. Once again, the French horror industry have hit the mark. Excellent. 5 out of 5
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3.0 out of 5 stars A different view..., 13 Aug. 2009
By 
Joseph "6" (Palermo, Sicily) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Martyrs [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
having just finished watching this movie, I felt the need to address a bit the balance of opinions about it here on Amazon. the consensus seem to be total approval of this new masterpiece of the french horror/exploitation subgenre. It really is a movie that deserves many accolades, but still, imho, it is not devoid of weak spots. Since much of the fun with this movie comes with the unfolding of the plot, I will very sketchily say that it starts by showing a young girl subject to prolonged violence/deprivation, followed by her fortuitous escape and eventual (appropriate ?) revenge on some of her torturers. After this, we are slowly let into the world, people and reasons behind her imprisonment and torture.Therefore, the story can really be broken down in two rather distinct halves: the first delivering spades of gut wrenching violence, very realistically portrayed and showcasing great performances by the two lead actresses. the second half slows down quite a bit, and the violence fades into the background while we are left with the (..slow..) glimpse into the enigma behind the whole violence/exploitation. The finale is long drawn, but very original and thought provoking. I think perhaps the weakest spot of the movie is the hyatus between the first part and the finale. As for the blue ray I can say that both image and sound are up to standard, making it perhaps worth spending the few extra quid over the basic dvd version.
Overall, a worthy addition to any horror collection; masterpiece ? perhaps not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite horror films, 1 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Martyrs [DVD] (DVD)
I discovered this film a while ago. It it one of my favourite horror films and one I can watch again and again. It has such an original story and it captures you right from the start. The characters are great in this film and you feel a connection to them. The acting is superb. I would most definitely recommend this film and I have already done so to many friends. There is so many emotions as you watch the film for the 1st time, it's exciting and captivating. If you like your horror and are looking for something different then this is the film for you.
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Martyrs [DVD]
Martyrs [DVD] by Pascal Laugier (DVD - 2009)
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