Monday, May 11, 2009
Movie Review: Martyrs
Synopsis: 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.
When there is an option for a directors introduction to the film on DVD, you have to see what's up. When that director is basically apologizing for what you are about to see, you have to watch the film then to see what's up. Right? Well, I did... and what's up is the most brutal horror film I've ever watched I believe. Most people are going to either love this or flat out hate it, if they can get through it all.
I'm even sort of used to the genre most label as "torture porn" due to the realistic graphic violence of pushing humans to the limit of what they can withstand. I've watched stuff like Hostel, Hostel II, Wolf Creek and Inside and shuttered at what the people go through, but I'm not too affected by it. But this one is like torture porn on steroids. It's unrelentingly ferocious, stunning, brutal and mean.
It's beautifully shot, very well paced and the performances from the two female leads are fantastic. But that's not this movie's bread-and-butter. I doubt many people will remember those things.
The movie is really 2 different parts. The first act is about a girl who was tortured, escaped and 15 years later she tracks down those who she thinks were responsible for her abuse and captivity. There is hell to pay and it's a violent, bloody story of revenge. Then things get really weird for act 2.
I don't want to give too much away but I'll say what the title of the movie is about. In some opinions in the film, the act of martyrdom brings about transcendence and the possibility of seeing into the afterlife. They are, in essence, creating martyrs through systematic abuse in the hopes of learning what lies after death from their accounts as they achieve transcendence. Weird enough for ya?
If you survive the brutality of act 1, well you ain't seen nothing yet. Act 2 is disguised as something visceral and thought-provoking, but that's just a wolf in sheep's clothing... maybe. It's like an evil art house film, but it's got plenty of grisly, extreme horror and violence and will stay with you, probably showing up in your nightmares later. There is nothing left up to the imagination and nothing is taboo.
It's bleak, raw horror that's hard to watch. I found it pretty disturbing, but you'll have to decide for yourself if this sort of thing is entertaining to you, even with the intellectual plot points, or if it's just more disguised horror porn with no real deep meaning.
This will probably be mostly compared to Funny Games, as I see some similarities but this movie is much smarter.
What's up with the French anyway? Add this film to High Tension, Inside and Frontiere(s) and they've created 4 of the more violent films of the last decade. I thought they were a pretty passive bunch?
And for the record, I'm not going to give my rating for this movie yet. I can't decide if it's just a vile, savage piece of garbage with no redeeming value whatsoever... or sort of brilliant. It could be both at once maybe?