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this is probably one of the most polarizing horror films since cannibal holocaust. people either think it is brilliant, or just garbage. i am surprised that this film is scored so high, especially since 9 out of 10 of the people that bother to put their opinion online have a negative opinion. this should tell you that the film has a substantial amount of fans that believe it is brilliant. of course, this film is not for everyone. the film is extremely brutal and very hard to watch at times. what really differentiates it from hostel and other film with extreme violence or torture is simple. eli roth made hostel because he wanted to make a takashi miike film. this is a quote from Tarantino. the problem is, the movie has none of the depth or meaning of anything miike has done, like his masterpiece, audition. the violence in hostel is meant to be entertaining. draw your own conclusions as to what that says about mr. roth or anyone who really liked the movie. the only way that hostel succeeded at all, was that it had a simple message about violence for entertainment, and by the end, most people were screaming for it in the form of some good old fashioned revenge.
the violence in martyrs is not entertaining. AT ALL. i have never seen a movie where someone being shot by a shotgun is so disturbing, and that is because somehow, the film captures that this guy is so instantaneously destroyed and dead. also, this is some of the least disturbing violence in the film. there is something extremely disturbing about a film that involves torture, where the torturer isn't even having any fun. it is calculated and precise, like solving an extremely complex mathematical equation, but there are even a few people on earth that would take great delight in that. the torturers work like it's any other day job that gives them no particular joy. that's disturbing. if you've heard of or seen audition, irreversible, the woman, or high tension (a great shocker until its "twist") then you may like martyrs. if you are looking for something that will entertain you with its violence, go somewhere else. this is about vicariously experiencing something awful and unpleasant that might make you ask some questions about life, good and evil, and that is something few people want to get TOO close to.
HERE ARE THE SPOILERS.
there has been a lot said about the whole point of the film as being stupid and nonsensical. many people have said that if these people are trying to find out about the afterlife, then their means of doing so will send them to hell. simply put, you're wrong. there is a point to what they are doing, and it cannot be achieved by just waiting for death. proof of an afterlife is proof that life is unending, that our lives do matter. it is proof that we are significant, that our souls are in fact real, and that there is a god. so why don't they just go to church, worship god, pray, and wait for the inevitable happy ending? they can't. there are many people that would like to believe in god but just can't. they need proof. so isn't torturing young girls to death going to insure a toasty spot in hell? nope. not if they come to truly believe and repent for their sins. the bible is a funny thing. one part that most christians forget is that all sins are equal in the eyes of god, because any sin is the equivalent of saying that you know better than he does. another part is that judgment is a sin, and this is a sin that most christians commit several times a day. judgement is mine, sayeth the lord. when you judge someone, you are declaring yourself god, and taking his power. this is as offensive to him as deciding that you should end someone's life before their time. thank god for all you judgemental christians out there, god forgives all sins in exchange for worshiping him as the highest authority and asking for forgiveness. so no, these people doing terrible, terrible things could turn things around if they had enough time and found true belief, no matter how they got there. if you have a problem believing that, don't argue on message boards, go argue with a minister or priest.
if there are spelling errors in this review, please forgive me. i am typing one handed thanks to a boxer's fracture in my right hand. too much time in the basement with anna.
The Battle for Marjah (2010)
I hope Godspeed You! Black Emperor hasn't seen this
I just watched this on HBO and it was good, but there was one thing about it that I found pretty disgusting. The music by Andrew Phillips is pretty shamelessly mimicking Godspeed You! Black Emperor. One particular track is at least a 90% match for the song East Hastings which many may remember from 28 Days Latter, when Jim is exploring dead London after leaving the hospital. It's really insulting to just fake someone's music so much that it almost sounds identical because the artist wouldn't authorize its use, but considering how much GY!BE despises the military industrial complex, it's just that much more insulting. Either Mr. Phillips was explicitly asked to make a track that sounded exactly like the opening for East Hastings (key, tone, character, mood, guitar sound, bass line, and melody), or whoever signed off on the music was blissfully ignorant that it was a shameless rip-off. Either way, Andrew Phillips is the one who made the music, and whether he's just an unoriginal hack, or he just did what needed to be done to get a paycheck, he really should be ashamed of himself. Other than that, it's a pretty interesting documentary.
The Divide (2011)
good, if you can handle it
I really liked this movie. It certainly is not without flaw, but I thought it was a pretty compelling story about people trying to survive a nuclear holocaust. Michael Biehn does really overact, and some of the dialogue is pretty clichéd, but the movie grows stronger as it goes. It does get very dark and disturbing, and some would argue that the movie tries to be shocking for the sake of being shocking. I don't think that's the case. Everyone that thinks that people would not degenerate to this level of selfishness, cruelty, and depravity really needs to review world history and discovery that people have done much worse for less. Gang members can't see living past twenty one, and they've committed terrible acts with no regard for human life, and the characters in this film can't imagine living another month. This would be a hard movie for most to stomach, but a lot of the people who have criticized the darker elements of the film or certain character's evolution into nihilistic monsters seem to have missed a crucial point. The characters in the film had absolutely no hope. One reviewer in particular really irked me. That was inspektorr, from Croatia. He states that he has lived through a similar situation, being trapped in a basement while bombs were dropped above for days or even weeks, and he saw the more positive side of humanity when faced with adversity. While I have no desire to minimize his experiences during war, the bombs being dropped above him were not nuclear weapons, destroying everything in seconds and reducing the world above into a toxic, poisonous wasteland. The characters in this film saw multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles hit their city. The only people that have a clue as to what that is like are the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and current nuclear weapons are each a hundred times more powerful than those bombs were. There's pretty much no hope to begin with, which is why everyone is so irritable and hostile. Then, their door is breached, filling the basement with radioactive dust, pretty much guaranteeing that they will die of cellular degeneration and radiation sickness, if dehydration or starvation doesn't kill them first. Then that door gets welded shut from the outside, destroying any shred of hope these people had. They know that they are going to die in that basement, and it will be a slow, painful death. While inspektorr believes he has lived through a similar situation, and he's certainly come closer than I have, I guarantee there is very little similarity. There's a big difference between trying to survive a traditional bombing campaign with your friends and neighbors that you love and respect, and being stuck in a fallout shelter with a bunch of people you don't know or trust while your nation, and potentially all of civilization is being reduced to ash and poisoned for hundreds of years. His comment is almost like saying "I've had double pneumonia, so I can really empathize with your pancreatic cancer." This review is probably making the movie sound dark, disturbing, and bleak. It is, and not "Children of Men" and "28 Days Later" bleak where there is actually a glimmer of hope and a sigh of relief at the end. If you can't take this kind of subject matter, don't watch it. This is not the kind of movie that anyone would say they "enjoyed." Those of you that are open to vicariously experiencing something truly horrible through a movie might want to give it a try.