ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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

Starring:
Mylène Jampanoï/Lucie
Morjana Alaoui/Anna
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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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