Martyrs (2008) Review

Martyrsby Michael Sieber, MoreHorror.com

I hate the term, torture porn, but...

I've learned that whenever a horror movie is described as “the most shocking/disturbing film” it's usually code for, “we didn't have much of a story, so we're going to throw a bunch of brutal images at you so you won't notice.”

2008's Martyrs is a French horror movie that's been billed as one of the most disturbing movies you'll ever see.

The movie starts with a young girl, Lucie, who escapes from a torture chamber and is taken to an institution where she's befriended by another young girl named Anna. Anna acts as a mother figure to Lucie, giving her comfort whenever she has nightmares about her terrible ordeal. We cut forward 15-years to a family living in the suburbs. They're having breakfast and joking with each other when a knock comes at the front door. When dad opens the door, Lucie blasts him to death with a shotgun, and then proceeds to murder the rest of the family. Once the task is completed, Lucie phones Anna and tells her that she's found the family that locked her up and tortured her so many years ago.

Anna comes to the rescue, and while she's trying to clean up the mess, Lucie is tormented by a ghostly apparition of a girl she left behind at the torture chamber that forces her to abuse herself by cutting her arms and banging her head against the wall. When she realizes that the death of her torturers won't put an end to these hellish visions, Lucie commits suicide by cutting her throat and leaving Anna alone in the house.

But wait, there's more.

For some odd reason, Anna decides to try and clean up the house and she discovers an underground torture chamber and a girl who is chained up. As she attempts to save the girl, a group of strangers arrive, kill the girl and take Anna prisoner.

The second half of the movie depicts Anna being relentlessly tortured at the hands of her captors, and I do mean relentlessly. There's like a twenty-minute stretch of scene after scene of Anna being punched, slapped, kicked and roughed up by a man.

The problem with this is that, while it is brutal, it's also very desensitizing. When violence goes on and as it does in Martyrs, the shock wears off and boredom sets in, which is exactly why (in my opinion) it's almost always better to show restraint when you're trying to keep an audience emotionally involved in your movie. A loud noise might startle you, but if that loud noise goes on for an hour, you'll probably find a way to tune it out.

I won't give away the ending, but suffice to say, it didn't work for me. That the consortium turned out to be nothing more than thinly veiled modern day Mengeles was pretentious at the very least . I know there are some people who will defend this movie as an allegory of how easy it is for the strong to brutalize the weak in the search for truth, however, I would argue that Cannibal Holocaust did that already and did it better.

Martyrs is a very slick movie with high production values and very strong actors in the two lead characters. However, the story is weak, and the whole film amounts to nothing more than one violent set piece after another. Recommended for lovers of torture, not recommended for lovers of stories.

Comments

Submitted by Jamie Zaccaria on Wed, 10/19/2011 - 03:17

Jamie Zaccaria's picture

This movie stuck with me for a loooong time and really freaked me out.
I totally agree with you about the second half of the film, which I hated. They should have made a film based solely on the first half.


Send your horror news scoop to press[at]MoreHorror.com.


Like us on Facebook:

Recent Horror Movie Reviews

Detention (2011) Review
We Are The Night Review
Hate Crime (2012) Review
Dead of Night Review
The Violent Kind Review
Piranha 3DD Review
Funeral Home Review
DeadHeads Review
Playback Review
House Of Flesh Mannequins Review
More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead Review
The Mutilator Review
The Psycho Legacy Review
4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH Review
Halloween II: 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Review
Full Tilt Boogie Review
Nightmare City Review
The Divide Review
Penumbra Review
Hellraiser Revelations Review
EYES WITHOUT A FACE Review
Entrance Review
Asylum Blackout Review
Mother's Day Review
Dead Pit Review
Them Review
Anguish Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Snow White: A Deadly Summer Review
Theatre of the Deranged Review
Grimm Season One Review
Kids Go to the Woods…Kids Get Dead Review
Trilogy of Blood Review
Kill Devil Hill Review
Intruder Review
Malevolence Review
A Horrible Way to Die Review
Halloween II (Rob Zombie) Review
Final Destination 5 Review
The Killing of Jacob Marr Review
Stake Land Review
The Reef Review
Cowboys and Zombies Review
Necromentia Review
The Ward Review
The Caller Review
Bereavement Review
Kidnapped Review
The Hills Run Red Review
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) Review
Home Sweet Home Review
Super Hybrid Review
Dead Hooker in A Trunk Review
30 Days of Night: Dark Days Review
Paranormal Activity 2 Review
Cannibal Holocaust Review
The Woman Review
Dylan Dog Review
Medium Raw Review
One Dark Night (1983) Review
Groupie Review
The Tingler Review
Dolls Review
Detention Review
Bitter Feast Review
Camp Hell Review
Scream of The Banshee Review
FEARnet's Twisted Comedy Review
Just Before Dawn Review
Carriers Review
RUBBER Review
Mangrove Slasher 2 Review
LEWIS Review
The Task Review
cathARTic Review
Matrimony Review
Fright Night II Review
Yakuza Weapon Review
Hobo With a Shotgun Review
Plague Town Review
The Defiled Review
Goblin Review
Primal Review
Heartless Review
Pieces Review
True Blood: Season 3 Review
Murder Party Review
Hell Night Review
Skin Eating Jungle Vampires Review
I Saw The Devil Review
Red Riding Hood Review
Drive Angry Review
Blood Night Review
Dismal Review
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Review
The Faceless Review
Fertile Ground Review
Slaughterhouse Review
Amityville 4 Review
Aftermath Review
Savage Review
Ninjas vs Vampires Review
Swamp Shark Review
The Loved Ones Review
Black and Orange Review - Novel
Terror Vision Review
Vanishing on 7th Street: Movie Review
JAWS Review
Future Kill Review
Bad Elements: Crystal Dragon Review - Novel
Daughter of Horror Review
Death of The Dead Review
The Possession of David O Reilly Review
SCREAM 4 Review
Track of The Moon Beast (1976) Review
Hyenas Review
Mongolian Death Worm Review
Black Death Review
World War Z (audio book) Review
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Review
The Absent Review
Alien vs Ninja Review
Missing Linx (Comic) Review
Thankskilling Review
Death Spa (1988) Review
Insidious Review
Basket Case (1982) Review
The Walking Dead: Season 1 Review
PROWL Review
April Fools Day (1986) Review
In The Mouth of Madness Review
MANDRAKE Review
Machete Review
White Dog (1982) Review
SAW: 3D (The Final Chapter) Review
A Serbian Film Review
[REC] Review
The Devil's Rejects Review
SAW Review
Burial Ground (1981) Review
Hollowed Ground Review
DORORO Review
Roid Rage Review
Psych:9 Review
Let Me In Review
My Soul To Take Review
The New York Ripper Review
MIZUCHI (DEATH WATER) Review
Burnt Offerings (1976) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (1978) Review
I Spit On Your Grave (2010) Review
Wicked, Wicked (1973) Review
Maniac (1980) Review
Deadline (1981) Review
Death Bell Review
The Rite Review
HUSK Review
Cemetery Man Review
Seconds Apart Review
Buried Review
The Uninvited (1944) Review
Direct Your Own Damn Movie Review
City of the Living Dead (1980)Review
The Forest (1982) Review
JIGOKU (1960) Review
Let The Right One In Review
Lost Boys: The Thirst Review
Near Dark (1987) Review
The Human Centipede Review
Thirst (2009) Review
Night School (1981) Review
Night of The Demons (Remake) Review
DEADGIRL Review
The Splat Pack Review
The Maid Review
Hatchet II Review
The Last Exorcism Review
CADAVER Review
Victim Review
Shadowland Review
Bloody New Year Review
Black Christmas (1974) Review
MIRROR Review
Splice Review
The Art of Hammer Review (Book)
Doghouse Review
The Blair Witch Project Review
Horror Movie Freak Review (Book)
Lake Placid 3 Review
Paranormal Activity Review
SHELLTER Review
Sella Turcica Review
The House of The Devil Review
UNDEAD Review (Novel)
The Woman In Black Review
Ghost Story Review
Eraserhead Review
Day of The Dead Review
The Woman Review
Night Of The Living Dead Review
Terror at Red Wolf Inn Review
The Theatre Bizarre Review
The Mortician Movie Review
Happy Birthday To Me Review
Mountaintop Motel Massacre Film Review
Frankenhooker Blu-Ray Review
The Necro Files Review
Donner Pass Review
Shark Night Review
Night Feeders Review
New Year's Evil Review
Never Sleep Again Review
Creature Review
Haunting at The Beacon Review
Zombie Review
Chromeskull Laid to Rest 2 Review
Devil's Rock Review
Fright Night (Remake) Review
Area 51 Review
Five Senses (comic) Review
Antropophagus Review
Lightning Bug Review
Never Feed the Troll Review
Alone in The Dark Review
Dead Alive Review
Zeke Review
Laid to Rest Review
The Beyond Review
Monsterwolf Review
Splinter Review
Mirrors 2 Review
Mail Order Review
Review
Snowtown Review
The Dead Review
The Shrine Review
Run Bitch Run Review
Mutilation Mile Review
The Howling Reborn Review
The Human Centipede 2 Review
The Walking Dead Review
The Echo Review
Dream House Review
Yellow Brick Road Review
Baby Blood Review
Halloween 3 Review
Feast Review
The Child's Eye Review
Scourge Review
Martyrs Review
Mothman Review
Wrong Turn 4 Review
The Keep Review
Red State Review
Paranormal Activity 3 Review
Deviling Review
Slugs Review
Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Review
Night of The Hunter Review
Pick Me Up Review
Hillside Cannibals Review
Friday the 13th (1980) Review
The Green Monster Review
The Thing (2011) Review
Night of The Vampire Review
Killer Review
Alyce Review
The Fog Review
Of Unknown Origin Review
The Revenant Review
Exit 33 Review
Rage of the Yeti Review
Let's Scare Jessica to Death Review
Territories Review
Blood Freak Review
Solstice Review
Blood Roses Review
The Haunting Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review
Silent Night Deadly Night Review Review
Rare Exports Review
Ashes Review
Perfect Witness Review
Santa's Slay Review
Little Deaths Review
Lips of Blood Review
Bill Oberst Jr.
ASSASSINS
Silent Night Deadly Night 5 Review
Don't Let Him Review
Hell Driver Review