Written by: moviemaven
Where to begin with this film. To tell you too much about it would be a disservice to you the viewer and to the film itself so my synopsis will be brief. Lucie Jurin was found as a child, running away from an abusive situation. She suffered from malnutrition, dehydration and numerous mysterious injuries. While staying in hospital, she became fast friends with young Anna who was more of a caretaker for her. Lucie had her own demons that resulted from her harrowing ordeal and Anna would do her best in a motherly fashion to make them go away.
We flash forward to 15 years later. We are with a family who seems perfectly normal on a Sunday morning until the doorbell rings. Lucie believes she has found her tormentors after all these years. Okay, that's it. That's all you get. Now it's time to discuss.
First of all, I feel I must make it clear that this film is not for everyone by any means. Words like violent, brutal, vicious...they only scratch the surface. This film is downright mean, with images and cruelty that is difficult to reconcile by everyday standards. But please do not assume it's just torture porn and call it "another one for the fire." This movie is NOT torture porn. This is no Captivity. There are portions that are reminiscent of Hostel but they are more noble in this instance. The violence you will witness within is necessary, not for sick enjoyment, but because if we do not witness it, we cannot understand it. There is a message here that we cannot hear if we fail to go on the journey.
By the end you will likely understand the motives behind the brutality. Then you will question how you could understand it. Good. If you are not religious, you will question religious motives, If you are religious, you will question them more. Particularly Christianity. Good. You will be made to feel extremely uncomfortable. Good.
I am uneasy about categorizing this film as simply "horror." The themes involved are much deeper than that. Horror films set out to terrify us, to frighten the viewer. Martyrs does neither. It aims to force reflection and thought. It is enigmatic in many ways with a resolution that is unsatisfying if you require neatly wrapped endings. But if you are willing to look within, you will find a film that is compelling beyond anything I've seen in a while. The only movie in recent memory that I can recall having such an effect is Inside, another French title that again forces you to question how you can understand its motives.
Director Pascal Laugier unflinchingly and unapologetically delivers a cinematic experience that promises to leave some sort of impression on you whether you like it or not. I would also like to mention that he is signed to do the Hellraiser remake. Those of you who know me and my views will understand how important it is when I say I cannot wait to see what he does with it. I want to see it tomorrow.
I will leave you with this. But if you do see this film, let me know what it says to you.