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Martyrs (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Pascal Laugier

Starring:
Mylène Jampanoï/Lucie
Morjana Alaoui/Anna
PLOT-CRUNCH
Lucie (Jampanoï) who was SERIOUSLY abused as a youngster, hits the house of the “could be culprits” for reasons I won’t divulge. Her friend and quasi lover Anna (Alaoui) eventually joins her and then splat-splat, a The Grudge like crawling beastie, mind games and more splat-splat ensues.

NOTE: I am doing my damn best to be vague here, hard to go into details without spoiling shite with this one.
THE LOWDOWN

They’re not done living.

I’ve been subjected to the MARTYRS hype since this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Martyrs this, Martyrs that, la-di-da. Now that I finally got to ring its neck and bash its skull onto the corner of my coffee table… was it worth the kill or should I have set my sights on another/better victim? Nope, MARTYRS did just fine!

Pascal Laugier’s MARTYRS was all that and a bag of chips. Yet another rock hard entry into the new wave gore films that have been spitting out of France now of late. Being that Hollywood is acting like a greedy, soulless and uber safe bitch these days, thank Zeus we still get TRUE genre films coming out there. Much like its brothers in blood INSIDE, HIGH TENSION or ILS, MARTYRS was a strikingly atmospheric, visually stimulating and beyond excessive “test of one’s endurance”. Personally, the flick was at its best during its first two first blocks.

Think an emotionally charged, mind toying and unapologetically grisly revenge story. Talk about going for the jugular and ripping it off Road House style. Damn! The hook to all of it was the two lead actresses’ credible and engaging performances. I loved being with them, I felt for their predicament and rooted for them to find the answers. The sinker was the in your face violence (the shotgun fun found here was tops), the unpredictable chain of events, the powerful mystery and the potent suspense.  Hooker ass goes to Laugier for knowing how to build up, execute and milk tension. Straight up that the Grudge-ish like crawling dame that’s in this flick scared the dawn of the f*ck out of me.

Where MARTYRS somewhat had me on the fence was in its last block. The film shifted in pacing and tone and gave us the “why” behind the madness. And although I respected the audacity, the against the grain vibe and the excessive nature of it all, I felt it didn’t make 100% sense (why the X Files outfits again) and it dragged on for way too long. Being that I am extremely desensitized to violence, the ringer didn’t get the intended reaction out of me. Instead of getting ruined by this last block I got impatient in a “just end already” kind of way. With that said, even though the film’s uppercut didn’t break my glass jaw, it had a huge set of BALLS and the bravado attempt at knocking my ass out in such a brave, vicious yet EXISTENTIAL (you heard me) manner was appreciated byt this jack-twat. Who knew?  

All in all MARTYRS was a visceral ride that will leave nobody indifferent. You’ll love it, you’ll hate it or/and you’ll get your ass whooped by it. Shite, some people fainted at my screening. FAINTED! Bicthes….he he he… just kidding. Stop suffering the martyrs that is this see review and seek out MARTYRS already!

GORE
TONS! Severe shot gun blasts, grisly self mutilation, beatings that would put Balboa to shame, a skinned alive bit that will have you weep for you mommy and more!
ACTING
Mylène Jampanoï (Lucie) and Morjana Alaoui (Anna) both gave grounded, intense and incredibly realistic performances that sold me!
T & A
We get a pair of titties for the wrong reasons, anti-erectionos as the Romans used to say. The ladies get… MY ASS!
DIRECTING
I loved Augier’s morbid yet poetic imagery, his firm handle on suspense and the to the grit vibe that came with it all.
SOUNDTRACK
A bleak, heavy and somewhat experimental score. Worked aces for this baby!
BOTTOM LINE
For its two thirds, MARTYRS was a gripping, moving and red wet revenge/mystery. For its last block, well, it became something else. Something existential, outside the norm and mucho hard to watch. I wasn’t totally sold on the last act and what it set out to accomplish but I did respect it highly. To go that far with that “intent”… nice! On a more blunt note: gore hounds, heed my words; There’s violence, then there’s EXTREME violence and then there’s MARTYRS – they rub your face in it while f*cking your mother in the poop shoot in this house!
BULL'S EYE
The film was shot in my home town of Montreal, Québec, Canada.

The film was aquired by the Weinsteins in terms of US distribution.

VISIT THE MARTYRS FRENCH OFFICIAL SITE HERE

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2:53PM on 08/05/2011
Scott Tobias wrote a terrific assessment of the film for the AV club. I encourage anyone who has seen or is interested in seeing Martyrs to read. It can be found here. [link]48752/
Scott Tobias wrote a terrific assessment of the film for the AV club. I encourage anyone who has seen or is interested in seeing Martyrs to read. It can be found here. [link]48752/
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11:57AM on 01/14/2010

This movie completely kicked my ass

It left me disturbed, frightened, and depressed. I've been dying to watch it again ever since the first viewing.
It left me disturbed, frightened, and depressed. I've been dying to watch it again ever since the first viewing.
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12:33AM on 10/21/2009

An artistic take on the torture subgenre

What most people seem to hate about this movie is what I dug the most about it. It is pretentious, but effective. We fear the unknown, and the greatest unknown is what happens after death. I think that the film managed to communicate that fear quite well, by withholding certain information and leaving it to one's imagination. However, I must say I am sick of watching people get tortured and making dumb decisions that lead to them being tortured more. So I think the first part of the movie was
What most people seem to hate about this movie is what I dug the most about it. It is pretentious, but effective. We fear the unknown, and the greatest unknown is what happens after death. I think that the film managed to communicate that fear quite well, by withholding certain information and leaving it to one's imagination. However, I must say I am sick of watching people get tortured and making dumb decisions that lead to them being tortured more. So I think the first part of the movie was actually its weakest part, in spite of its undeniable tension and chills.
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9:26PM on 08/31/2009
Okay this has to be the most overrated and overhyped horror movie I've seen this year which is a shame because it has two strong leading actresses that played their parts well. Yes this is violent, gory and sometimes very intense and brutal but saying it's this years Inside no fuc$king way! I thought the director did a good job capturing a gritty and haunting atmosphere and it reminded me alot of the other french horror movie Frontiers which was also better than this. I just felt like most of
Okay this has to be the most overrated and overhyped horror movie I've seen this year which is a shame because it has two strong leading actresses that played their parts well. Yes this is violent, gory and sometimes very intense and brutal but saying it's this years Inside no fuc$king way! I thought the director did a good job capturing a gritty and haunting atmosphere and it reminded me alot of the other french horror movie Frontiers which was also better than this. I just felt like most of the stuff that happened in this movie didn't make much sense and didn't add up and I felt like their goal was like if you thought that horror movie was violent and vile take a look at ours, I just don't understand why anyone could enjoy a horror movie like this one, it's just a very strange and sick movie and not in a good way. Overall I'm very disappointed and I'm getting sick and tired of the torture porn horror movies because most of them don't impress me at all. Just skip this overrated mess and move along! Not Recommended!
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9:44AM on 04/30/2009
Martyrs was a huge dissapointment! I didn't find it as gory or brutal as everyone had said, and the film goes to hell not in its last block, but right after the initial revenge scene about 20-30 min in.

The thing with these French movies is that they always make the characters way too eccentric and weird for them to be smart enough to do the right thing. In Martyrs I just don't understand why they stayed in the frickin' house to begin with...didn't make any sense. Also with Inside...the
Martyrs was a huge dissapointment! I didn't find it as gory or brutal as everyone had said, and the film goes to hell not in its last block, but right after the initial revenge scene about 20-30 min in.

The thing with these French movies is that they always make the characters way too eccentric and weird for them to be smart enough to do the right thing. In Martyrs I just don't understand why they stayed in the frickin' house to begin with...didn't make any sense. Also with Inside...the main character and the police do the absolute dumbest things that end up getting themselves killed. It just never feels right...it feels as if they do this just to advance the plot. Obviously not well written.

Martyrs would have been quite possibly the greatest movie ever if halfway through the torture (been there done that) the main character somehow got free and a real revenge movie took place. Martyrs is just another movie thinking it's all full of itself, when it is really just full of crap.
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+1
5:14PM on 03/22/2009

Decent movie disappears up its own ass

I really liked the first half of this movie. Tense, ballsy, and it had me wanting to know more about the cause or catalyst of the events at hand. And making Lucie and Anna sympathetic despite their actions took some skill. If I switched off by the first hour I would have been impressed. Unfortunately I saw the rest of the movie...

There is a reason the last part of the film was "mucho hard to watch" - it was mucho crappo. It degenerated into YET ANOTHER torture flick, with the one exception
I really liked the first half of this movie. Tense, ballsy, and it had me wanting to know more about the cause or catalyst of the events at hand. And making Lucie and Anna sympathetic despite their actions took some skill. If I switched off by the first hour I would have been impressed. Unfortunately I saw the rest of the movie...

There is a reason the last part of the film was "mucho hard to watch" - it was mucho crappo. It degenerated into YET ANOTHER torture flick, with the one exception being that here the writer/director may have read the back cover of a beginner's guide to philosophy.

Existential? No, it tried for existential but settled for pretentious instead. It wasn't anywhere near as clever or profound as it thought it was. Perhaps I might have taken it more seriously, if not for the fact that the main villain was just plain funny.

I like my horror movies to be intelligent. Great horror movies cover social, political, psychological and even philosophical themes - they just do so without waving them in your face. Unfortunately Monsieur Laugier doesn't do subtext. Martyrs had a fairly unoriginal thought, and a disproportionate sense of how profound that thought was... I could have achieved the same effect simply by getting high, and really I think that would be a better use of the time.
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+0
11:11PM on 10/20/2008

Damn my...Not Canadian city!

Thanks for the quite animated review. :-)

It looks like a sch-weeet flick.
Thanks for the quite animated review. :-)

It looks like a sch-weeet flick.
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11:34PM on 10/15/2008

For anyone who really wants to see it...

...this acclaimed bad boy is going to get a screening in Montreal this weekend, Sunday October 19th, during the 37th Festival du Nouveau cinma!!! So it's up to you guys to drive, fly, walk, swim or take your pogo stick for a ride to Cinema Ex-Centris-Fellini for 7PM!!!

As of Wednesday October 15th, 11:33PM, there are still 257 tickets left!

[link]

(Fuck, you'll have to copy-paste the link because it won't take the 2 lines to make the link fully clikable... Scroll almost to the bottom
...this acclaimed bad boy is going to get a screening in Montreal this weekend, Sunday October 19th, during the 37th Festival du Nouveau cinma!!! So it's up to you guys to drive, fly, walk, swim or take your pogo stick for a ride to Cinema Ex-Centris-Fellini for 7PM!!!

As of Wednesday October 15th, 11:33PM, there are still 257 tickets left!

[link]

(Fuck, you'll have to copy-paste the link because it won't take the 2 lines to make the link fully clikable... Scroll almost to the bottom then...)
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3:05PM on 10/15/2008

Driving me nuts!

I keep seeing great reviews for this everywhere and I CAN'T WATCH IT. I hope it hits DVD Soon!!!!
I keep seeing great reviews for this everywhere and I CAN'T WATCH IT. I hope it hits DVD Soon!!!!
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