Martyrs (2008) – Review

After escaping from a torture chamber in an abandoned warehouse many years ago, Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi), begins a quest of revenge, with the assistance of Anna (Morjana Alaoui), her closest friend. The pair manage to track down the family responsible for the brutal chamber and extract their own revenge, before discovering something even more sinister in the process. A thoroughly thought-provoking French horror film that is worth anyone’s time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Director: Pascal Laugier
Writers: Pascal Laugier
Starring: Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi, Catherine Begin

It’s pretty rare when after you’ve sat down and watched a movie, the same movie then stays in your head for the next few days – but that’s exactly what happened to me after seeing Martyrs for the first time. It’s definitely not a typical horror flick filled with moments that make you jump out of your seat, instead, Martyrs presents a very dark, disturbing and extremely emotional story to the viewer.

The filmmakers managed to distinctly split the film into two parts – the first being a story of revenge and the second being a slower tale of cruel, isolated torture that was tough to watch at times. As touched upon, the film on a whole manages to leave the viewer with a lot to think about upon its conclusion. The flick included some very disturbing and unsettling scenes, which some viewers may even struggle to stomach. Those that do manage to view them, however, will more than likely be left with a real sense of helplessness and sorrow.

A different aspect of the film that I feel gets sorely overlooked is the makeup and special effects that Martyrs brings to the table. They were all very realistic without looking too over the top in nature. The cuts, the scars, the deep wounds and even the severe defects that certain characters possessed, all seemed authentic and believable throughout.

In terms of the acting, the cast was fairly small but extremely effective at the same time. Morjana Alaoui starred as Anna, while Mylene Jampanoi appeared as Lucie – the pair were prominent and did well in their lead roles. Elsewhere, Catherine Begin adopted the role of Mademoiselle, another pretty impactful figure in the film.

Martyrs, for me, must goes down as one of the finest horror movies of all time. Some English speakers may be put off because the flick is spoken entirely in French, but if you’re able to bypass this and you’re sustainable to a subtitled picture, then you’d more than likely enjoy this one.

“Martyrs are exceptional people. They survive pain, they survive total deprivation.”

Mademoiselle – Martyrs

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