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Martyrs (2008)

  Tags: blood, captive, Catherine Bégin, france, french, gore, Juliette Gosselin, Martyrs, Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Pascal Laugier, Patricia Tulasne, Robert Toupin, torture, violent, Xavier Dolan-Tadros

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Pascal Laugier
100 minutes
Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin, Patricia Tulasne, Juliette Gosselin, Xavier Dolan-Tadros

France, the country that brought us High Tension,and the more recent Inside, is back at it again. Uping the ante this go round with writer/director Pascal Laugier's controversial new film. Having seen the previous French efforts and being a massive fan of HT, I was pretty interested to see what the deal was with their new export. After seeing the trailer and hearing the hype behind this my expectations were rather high. Knowing this usually leads to disappointment I tried to dampen my enthusiasm a bit, it didn't really work but I got busy checking this flick out anyways.

Martyrs begins with a bloody, tattered, and abused young girl running down the street. Presumably she gets picked up by the authorities but that isn't shown. Instead we get a brief intro by way of a medical documentary that's being shot to tell of the girls torture. Some details of torture such as being bound to a chair and nearly starved to death are exposed briefly, adding a nice back-story to the frantic opening scene. During the documentary we learn that the girls name is Lucie and that the perpetrators were not caught. After that Lucie is left in the care of local pediatric hospital, where she meats and befriends another little girl names Anna.

Fast forward fifteen years later and Lucie is now an adult bent on revenge. After zeroing in on who she believes to be her attackers, an ultra violent murder spree is unleashed. The savage brutality was unexpected to say the least and one scene in particular was quite shocking. I am not gonna give it away but I was more than surprised buy it. Regardless you really don't have much time to reflect on it as the film soon kicks into overdrive, serving up even more disturbing imagery. There is a slight break in the pace when Anna arrives to see what her 'friend' has done, but then you're plunged back into the grisly excess. Where everything gets amped up even more and the barbarity hits a high note.

As I've eluded to the film is loaded with violence, sporting some painful looking straight razor action, vicious execution style murders, beatings, prolonged torture, and that's barely scratching the surface. Martyrs develops several layers, visceral, emotional, cerebral, all while seamlessly undergoing a substantial change up towards the end. All of it was engrossing albeit heavily disturbing, constantly pushing the boundaries well beyond the ordinary. Largely due to the excellent effects and strong performances by the entire cast. The score of the film is eerie, ominous, and powerful, soaking the screen with despair. Without a doubt one of the more powerful scores I've heard in some time.

Martyrs is absolutely brutal, and one of the most shocking films in recent memory. There aren't many films that can match its style, intensity, or finale. So if you like horror dark, I highly recommend you give this one a look, it doesn't disappoint.

Posted on June 5, 2010 - 7:38pm | steelba