Written by: gothiczen
This movie reivents everything good about a genre that seems to be stuck in a big budget, remake rut. The cast is outstanding and the story is so original that it reminds this old fan why he became a horrorphile in the first place.
When the film (and yes, this is a film, not a movie) first begins we seem to be in familar revenge territory. It is this expectation that allows the film to blindside the viewer with razor sharp effectiveness. As the film progress you are beaten, cut, and spiritually maimed. It is a damaging experience - this is a warning. If you are a fair-weather horror fan than steer clear of this one. It makes Old Boy look like a walk in the park - a flowery, beautiful, peaceful park. Martyrs takes you by the throat and chokes you into unwilling submission. It forces you watch some of the most unspeakable acts ever performed before a camera. This movie is not entertainment...you are not supposed to enjoy watching this - it will hurt.
This films trangresses traditional horror tropes by utilizing some traditional images. This is what allows the narrative to unfold gracefully even as the film begins to grow into an idea. It is this idea that is so sickening. This is not mere horror-porn, like a Hostel or a Saw film. The filmakers were intent, much like and early Croenenberg film, into forcing the genre to expand.
Watch this only if you are serious about your horror. Only watch if you want to be transormed by a film experience so clear and stunning it is like a personal epiphany. After watching Martyrs I will never be the same.