Loud and Bobnoxious Cult Movies: Martyrs

by

1 comment

martyrs.jpg
Fifteen years ago a little girl escaped from an abandoned slaughterhouse where she had been chained to a chair and tortured. Now grown up, Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï) calls her only friend Anna (Morjana Alaoui) and says that she has tracked down her tormentors, a seemingly ordinary upper middle class family living in a nice home. Could these really be the people who tortured Lucie, or has she gone mad? Neither Anna nor the audience is sure. Still, Anna decides to stand by her friend, a decision that will ultimately take her on a journey of both horror and transcendence.

Writer/director Pascal Laugier has made one of the most uncompromising and original horror films in years. He knows all the conventions of the horror genre and plays with them masterfully. Just when you think you know where Martyrs is going, Laugier pulls the rug out from under you. The carefully conceived look of the film and its serious tone are obviously influenced by European horror films of the '70s and '80s, but Laugier never wears his influences on his sleeve or descends into trite homage. Rather, this is a wholly original film that channels the spirit of its influences into something relevant and contemporary.

That Martyrs uses such extreme violence and brutality to realize its vision will no doubt offend and disgust many viewers. Therefore, it cannot be stressed strongly enough that if you are bothered by violent films, you should not watch this movie. Those who can get past that will find an intelligent and expertly made film that is surprisingly poignant in its own strange way. Part of the wave of horror movies pouring out of France in recent years, Martyrs isn’t just a great horror movie — it’s one of the best movies released in the U.S. this year, period. The DVD from the Weinstein Company includes both the original French audio track with subtitles and an English dub. ****

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.