96 min., 2008
Written by Pascal Laugier
Directed by Pascal Laugier
My rating: ★★
Interesting, Interesting, What The Fuck! Suzuki?, Boring!!
* * *
We start with a child running away from somewhere, and then it cuts to some family film footage. There are two girls at an orphanage, one named Lucie, the one that was running in the beginning and her only friend Anna. You see Lucie was tortured and she now sees a crazy girl who torments her and Anna is the only one who seems to believe her. We then cut to a family eating breakfast, when their doorbell rings. Ding Dong—Boom!! Lucie appears and uses a shotgun to kill them all. Anna rushes to help clean up the mess and more craziness happens.
Watching horror movies have most viewers wanting one of two things. One, cheer for the heroes and boo for the bad guys. Two, the exact opposite, you want the heroes to die a horrible death, usually because they are so annoying, and the want for a dark ending. Well this movie really falls into the second category. Both characters, Anna and Lucie are both just annoying one-dimensional characters and I was hoping they would both die. You have the crazy Lucie who is believably fucked up, but in the annoying as hell crazy. Then there is Anna, who you are really supposed to sympathize with, I guess. Why, because she is trying to “help” her friend and is stuck in a bad situation? Really? You don’t help your friend by trying to let one of the victims go. The bad situation is one where she could easily just walk out the front door and go home. She actually goes to sleep in the blood soaked house, talk about creating your own bad situation. So both characters I really cared nothing for. If my friend goes bat-shit crazy and shoots up a house of people, I would not stick around, sorry that’s just asking for trouble.
The effects were for the most part complete crap First we have the Gollum/Suzuki Kyoko “creature” that is haunting Lucie. The fact that it looks and almost acts like the two just mentioned, I think says it all. The other effects that were just plain sloppy are the cuts that magically disappear and never bleed. Lucie is cut at least five times by the Gollum/Kyoko wannabe, and the cuts just seem to disappear at certain points, and then come back later. The cuts never seem to have any blood coming from them, which is just crazy. Anna is sewing up Lucie’s cuts and they seem to have absolutely no blood coming from them. It’s just some plain sloppy effects work, as all of the budget must have gone into the pretty much last scene of the film, which was just okay and nothing to write home about.
This will be the first time I make a comparison to another movie in any of my reviews (that I remember). Now hear me out with this one. Martyrs reminds me of I Spit On Your Grave, but flipped around. In I Spit On Your Grave, the first half hour is a girl getting raped over and over again. It happens so much that it really gets boring. If you can sit through that, then you are treated with a great revenge film. With Martyrs it’s the opposite. It starts out as a great revenge flick and then turns into a half hour of beating a woman over and over. Which, yet again, gets just plain boring. I understand that both directors or writers want to show how much the woman has to go through, but my god does it get boring, not just boring but annoying, can I see something more interesting, please? Yeah, I get it, she got raped a whole lot and that the other girl got tortured a lot, but man I wish there was more story in those half hours of wasted celluloid. Cut both scenes down to five minutes and have something more happen, and that would have been great. But both, as they are, just bore and annoy me to death. This is the kind of movie that gives torture porn a bad name. Hostel and the like have people getting tortured and tormented but none of them are the same torture for a half hour, they are brief, gruesome and usually painful to see. If you have to watch a drill enter someone’s leg it’s cool, but watching the same drill enter the same leg for about a half-hour just gets boring. Just like the last part of this movie.
Lastly I’ll mention the tone of the movie. It is actually very dark and bleak. Showing that no matter how hard you try and how much revenge you actually get, there is never any true payoff and you really can get fucked for trying to help your friends. It sucks but at the same time it rings true.
In the end I’d say to most of the horror watching audience, stay away. It’s dark, sad and there is a whole lot of beating up of an almost (she does try to clean up a murder scene after all) innocent woman. I’m not saying that the violence is wrong, almost all horror movies have violence, just most won’t be able to handle how much abuse is handed to her. So unless you can handle a lengthy beating of a woman, you may want to pass.Have You Read...?