This movie shocked the hell out of me! I was not at all prepared! I have to say up front that I am NOT a fan of the subgenre of “torture porn” that appears to be prevalent in many horror movies today. Watching people slowly expire in agony while strapped to a chair makes me ill and angry. But I figured that “Martyrs” would just be a cheesy, ripoff of “I Spit on Your Grave”. Silly fun and quick deaths.
It soon became apparent, however, that this was not what was going to happen. But by that time, I was already hooked and could not stop watching.
Lucie is an unfortunate little girl who barely escapes after being tortured for weeks. She is taken in by an orphanage and becomes fast friends with Anna, another orphan. Fast forward fifteen years later and Lucie finds and kills the couple who tortured her all those years ago, along with their two children. The closure she so desperately seeks by enacting her vengence is denied as her mind was broken all those years ago and she suffers from hallucinations.
We soon learn that the group behind her early suffering are trying to recreate a “martyr”, someone who reaches such a state of agony that they can see the afterlife! It’s a sick, completely immoral and nonsensical justification, but they-or more specifically the woman leading them-Mademoiselle-are insane criminals completely obsessed with uncovering the secrets (if any) of the afterlife! (I’m not sure how reliable a brutalized witness is, but you can’t expect rational thinking in a horror film! Or at least not most of the time anyways)
The acting is superb, the effects convincing and the film is a decent length. The ending was particularly disturbing and stays with you for a loooong time! It’s extremely horrific! You have been warned!
Naturally the unimaginative bozos in Hollywood right now want to make an “American” version and soften it up for audiences here. But if you like these kind of films, I say stick to the original!