The French are running away with it at the moment. Shock gore films are at the highest standard and pushing the boundary, not only to gross out the viewer, but also to add a little extra French magic and mystery. I think I first noticed this with ‘Trouble Every Day’ (which I’ll be re-watching over the next week or so.) Martyrs raises the bar substantially. But it’s not all about Gore. We have here, a film of varying levels. In essence, it’s a film of 3 parts. Torture, Revenge and Haunting and each are collected and structured with some fine detail. I’ve had several people mention to me that there are some moments in this film which are believed to be taken a bit to far. I actually disagree. It’s far more than I could have expected prior to viewing, and it’s all there for the good of the film and is defiantly not there just for the sake of making a disgustingly grizzly movie.
So what have we got? The plot begins with Lucie, a young girl, tied to chair in a dirty cell, being tortured. Why is this happening? Who knows, but she manages to escape and gets looked after for several years in a boarding school where she pairs up with soul mate, Anna. A decade later, Lucie wants revenge.
It’s well paced, gory as it gets, the torture is about as brutal as could possibly be shown on celluloid (Actually, totally uncut in the UK) and it is harsh, but it’s required to emphasis the plot, to generate character and to involve and interact with the audience. Interaction with horror is always a good thing. The haunting scenes are also spectacular, as Lucie is visited by a girl from the next cell that bites, cuts and beats the hell out of her. (The girl from the TV in Ring has nothing on this one). The last 40 mins are pretty heavy going. Be warned, but its with good reason and personally, I wouldn’t cut a second. It brings the film together and is seriously required for the final climactic scene.
I should also mention, the two main actresses’ are stunningly good; Mylene Jampanoi and Morjane Alaoui and i’ll be looking out for further work of Director Pascal Laugler.