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Martyrs (2008)

7.1
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Reviews: 345 user | 168 critic

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Catherine Bégin ...
Robert Toupin ...
Le père
Patricia Tulasne ...
La mère
...
Marie
...
Antoine (as Xavier Dolan-Tadros)
Louise Boisvert ...
Mère d'Anna (voice)
Jean-Marie Moncelet ...
Étienne
Jessie Pham ...
Lucie 10 ans
Erika Scott ...
Anna 10 ans
Isabelle Chasse ...
La créature
Emilie Miskdjian ...
La suppliciée
Tony Robinow ...
Docteur
...
La femme bourreau
Edit

Storyline

Fifteen years after a horrifying experience of abduction and prolonged torture, Lucie embarks on a bloody quest for revenge against her oppressors. Along with her childhood friend, Anna, who also suffered abuse, she quickly descends, without hope, into madness and her own delusions. Anna, left on her own begins to re-experience what Lucie did when she was only twelve years old. Written by kwedgwood@hotmail.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They did not finish to be alive...

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing/severe aberrant behavior involving strong bloody violence, torture, child abuse and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

3 September 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Mártires  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Pascal Laugier's previous film House of Voices (2004), the main character is called Anna Jurin. In Martyrs, Anna is one of the female leads' character names, whilst Lucie Jurin is the other. See more »

Goofs

As the mother is kicked into the pit, a body flinches to brace itself for the impact of the mother falling on him. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Mademoiselle: Keep doubting.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Martyrs See more »

Soundtracks

My Neighbourhood
Performed by Goldmund
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
More like Noé and Grandrieux
11 November 2008 | by (http://www.onderhond.com/archive/onderhond/category/movies) – See all my reviews

French horror has been pushing the boundaries for some time now. First there was Haute Tension, then A l'Intérieur and newest in line is Martyrs, hyped up to take it all a little further. And it did, it definitely did. It's just that it doesn't belong in the same list as the films mentioned before. Martyrs goes way beyond.

Those expecting another fun, bloody, gory, insane horror flick can just up and leave, because Martyrs isn't like that. While it borrows the horror from films like A l'Intérieur and Haute Tension, the tone and effect of the film is much closer to Irréversible or better yet, Grandrieux's La Vie Nouvelle.

All these films belong to the French Extreme wave, a rather broad line of films of different backgrounds and themes, but all bearing an unrelentless level of extremity. And Martyrs stands proudly at the top of that list, even though Laugier himself seems a little hesitant to claim all credits for his film.

Martyrs starts off like you'd expect a bleak, raw and pitch black horror flick to start off. Only minutes into the film, bodies start flying and guts is spilled royally. Strangely though, there's no joy, limbs are flying enjoyment to be found. The presentation is cold, the characters are emotionally wrangled, the tension is harsh. Lucie, the main characters and victim of a year long torture plan, evokes the sympathy of the viewer and plays it out incredibly well.

The first half of the film keeps balancing on borderline horror, keeping its crude and dark exterior, but never crossing any boundaries. A Grudge-like ghost in added to the film, but Laugier stays close to the drama and never allows the film to become a mere horror flick. Things take a turn for the worse around halfway through, where the torture theme of the film is given even more power as Anna, Lucie's guardian, discovers the truth about the torture/kidnap story of the past.

From that moment on, the film becomes really uncomfortable to watch and crosses over to the realm of Noé and Grandrieux. We are witness of cold and painful torture scenes, driven to very unpleasant extremes nearing the end. The film follows the methods of the people who torture, which are based on repetition and endurance, making it all the harder to sit through.

In a rather surprising move, this film was released in theaters in Belgium by one of the most prestigious labels here, the reason for that is laid bare in the second half of the film. Rather that simply serve a story of horror and torture, Laugier digs deeper into the human mind. The idea behind Martyrs is not futile nor easily forgotten. There's a whole point to the film, elevating is above all its reference points (Saw and Hostel - sadly enough).

Martyrs is in a whole different league and is everything a film like Funny Games should have been. A definite assault to the gut, extremely graphic and to the point, without ever flinching or resolving to silly tricks to get a point across. It's a film only a director with love for the genre could make (remember that Mr Haneke, after two pointless attempts) and Laugier doesn't let down.

Visually, the film is well shot, though nothing out of the ordinary. The make-up on the other hand deserves some praise, same as the leading ladies who play their parts with conviction and depth (at one point Anna even shows a creepy resemblance to Falconetti in Jeanne d'Arc) . Essential to the film and certainly not an easy task.

Don't watch Martyrs to get a little horror kick, or to indulge in silly gorefests. This film will not deliver the fun thrills of regular horror movies, on the contrary. It's a bleak, depressive but all the more impressive look in the darker depths of the human condition, it will leave you cringing in your seat and it will make you want to look away. And it does so without ever numbing you down.

One of the most impressive films I've seen this year, a definite favorite and one that'll receive my further support through a DVD purchase, though I have no idea when or if I'll watch it again. Laugier uses every bit of skill he has to make Martyrs as painful as possible, and reaches further than any other has. A very solid 4.5*/5.0*, though no recommendation from my side. Definitely not a film for everyone.


238 of 306 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
My Ending Interpretation. tim-evans5
what did she tell to that old woman (or bitch) about afterlife? syousefnia
Stay away from this movie! rjohannesson
Is this appropriate viewing for a Sunday School class of 10-12 year olds sjmrtn
6.9??? indieboyaaa
I think I know the meaning of the ending tkks085
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