Martyrs (2008) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
Some movies bury beneath the skin. Oh, you hear so much on them, take so much into faith but sometimes it can let you down. Therefore it's a rare occasion when the movie does exactly as it aspires to. Describing the effect this movie has on me as things twisted and turned shall be no easy feat.
Is this horror? Yes and no. The easy answer is to say it is horror, but no this goes much deeper than that. By far it is more than a simple offering of entertainment. It is skin crawling, aching and tender while holding more weight than many horror's gracing this genre.
To say I love this movie is not enough. Nonetheless I do love it and breathed every moment of the film whilst on screen. Painful yet pleasurable movie that will have you talking long into the night.
The Storyline to Martyrs:
A young women called Lucie runs down a deserted street. Naked, screaming and in distress. Picked up eventually by the police she seems to be suffering amnesia. Entering the house she was entombed in, they uncover brutal and shocking scenes.
Years on a seemingly genuine family are eating breakfast when there is a knock on the door. It is a young woman, she is intent on revenge and is carrying a shotgun...
I'll say this right away it completely caught me off guard. Lucie running down the street was a different way to open a movie, but the main catalyst was when the seemingly normal family open the door and what ensues.
I sat with my heart skipping beats as I couldn't contemplate what I was seeing. It truly begins with a shock and from that moment on the movie is on a fast whirlwind of a ride.
Loved the movie but I would be remiss to not admit this got to me in terms of gore too. I have seen a lot of bloody effects that push limits but this was the first time I looked away on a few occasions due to the graphic nature. Does that make the movie bad? No to gain such a reaction from me merely cements the fact this is willing to go to depths others might not have the courage to do.
When I wrote this review my mind was in spades. I thought do I go the route I always do and list the main objectives or do I take a different turn into new territory? For most it would be the latter but since this review has taken the better part of 2 months to write, to understand and to reflect it will not be the usual route.
Ranging from C+ to A+:
It's all well and good saying the above is gorgeous and stating what everyone else as put into thought when it comes to reviews but this gal wants to speak of a more darker purpose.
When we speak of horror movies, or just any in general, we see it as light entertainment to while away a mundane evening. It is simply glorified fun not to be taken to heart but then along comes Martyrs. It not only took the movie genre into a new throne of films but it reset the scale. This is not light entertainment, this is viscerally disturbing, highly emotional and it batters you with where it goes.
The bloody element of the film was truly more than I expected, they never held back or used it even, as the main focus. It was a necessity but not used to sell the film. That said it looked beautiful in make up and touch. In order for it to come alive, Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï needed to sell the main leads which they did.
Graceful, shocking, tortured they worked amazingly well. Mylene as Lucie was as far removed as possible, tripping between normality and paranoia she was quite stunning. But the biggest accolade? Stand up Morjana. Her role at the beginning and for a good time of the film is reduced but when she becomes the centrefold of the story, it unleashes holy hell and you are sat uncomfortably in your seat, afraid to look at the screen. One little tip: Do not shy away.
Some of the scenes are brutal in approach but it is all vital to where the movie goes toward the end.
I rarely find a movie that makes me think so hard and long, question my beliefs and wonder what was the true meaning behind the movie. No answer will be satisfactory and that in itself is quite a satisfaction. I don't want answers, I don't yearn for the truth because I believe if I did the movie would lose what makes it work.
The finale is shocking, honestly a moment that belongs on the mantra with Fight Club, The Usual Suspects. You have a minute idea of what to expect in that final scene but still it shocks you. Watch it and you will see why.
I cannot recommend this film enough. I keep leaning between brilliance and disturbing, yet it is truly more a mixture of both. The Skinning is a harsh point of the film, I have a theory to what Anna does but I love that this has captured me and taken my breath away.
Tired of the cliché ridden movies, sick of films with little merit and too much focussing on good looks and bored of horror movies that insult the name? Then watch this. It is like no other horror movie. Grabbing, breaking, it reduces us to the mere mortals we are. I shed tears and you might too but either way seek this movie out, it belongs in every horror collection.
Gorgeous but disturbing. Eerie and depressing, Dark yet with hope and a movie that redeems a current fledging market. This is a movie that requires you to take heart and soul.
You will be stunned. Love and admire, Kisses. BTK.