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15 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
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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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Oct 2014 00:27:53 BDT
T A SKERRATT says:
will get it asap

Posted on 12 Nov 2014 13:38:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Nov 2014 13:40:14 GMT
Disturbing in that it was total drivel.
Shocking in that anyone thinks that this derivative tosh is any good let alone 5 stars good!

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2014 14:43:19 GMT
Dasha says:
I disagree entirely. I bought and watched this film, on the strength of this review. By far the scariest film I've seen in years. How exactly is it derivative? No horror film can be 100% original, any movie will have its influences. You probably think that Audition is drivel and derivative tosh as well?

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2014 14:47:05 GMT
I've watched this film and was stunned by its flair, originality, power to shock and disturb, and overall brilliance. You shouldn't watch this sort of horror film if you don't like it, it's tough enough to stomach the gruesome scenes even if you love horror.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2014 15:58:00 GMT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 26 Dec 2014 01:30:47 GMT
spiderboy says:
I agree with a lot of what you say William, I rate Audition highly and it does shock a little, the lead actress nails the exact personality brilliantly.........but for me Martyrs hits a higher (deeper) level, due to the second half, the underlying message in particular. The brutal first half shocks in one way and the second half in the psychological way is even cleverer in its disturbing effect. I would call Martyrs a work of genius, but not so much praise (or viewer trauma) with regard to Audition.
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