We begin our celebration of Halloween with a review of Martyrs.
|"Mommy!! Timmy threw jelly|
on my shirt and took my pants!"
If you are a fan of films or just horror films, you have already seen Martyrs. If you haven't, there is something terribly lacking in your life. My name is Apostle Jesse and I am here to tell you about our Lord and Savior, Martyrs. I am generally not very fond of the horror genre, not by definition, but by design. Horror sells very easily regardless of quality. It's why the genre is stacked so heavily with crap, so the bar is perpetually kept low. Most horror films throw some boobs in there, cut them off, and feed them to children, banking entirely on topping the last gross out film we showed off to our friends. Martyrs is just as much cerebral and emotionally reeling as it is savagely violent. You get the whole package here—not just the gore.
Lucie, played by Mylene Jampanoi, is a girl profoundly traumatized in her pre-teens from a kidnapping and extreme torture. Morjana Alaoui plays the older version of Anna who befriends Lucie and tries desperately to help her move on. Lucie swears to find the people who ruined her life and get the revenge she needs while Anna clings blindly to the hope of saving her from herself before it's too late. The performances of these two women are nothing less than jaw-dropping. Jampanoi and Alaoui are so fragile and visceral here that I have to guess that it wasn't particularly a "fun" experience to make the film. It's legitimately exhausting to watch. Director, Pascal Laugier, in several interviews expressed how tough it was for himself and his leads to get them to cry every day on set. The mental and emotional extremes the characters fight through are incredible to behold. It's very hard to separate the emotion on display from the business of film making and remind yourself that these are just actors. These girls really aren't Lucie and Anna, right? Like, they're just doing this for the movie?
|"Timmy! Give your sister back|
her pants and bring
me more jelly!"
This is all merely the first act, however. Martyrs, is a multi-layered film both sequentially and philosophically. The division of acts is deliberately punctuated with each piece showcasing a fresh progression of the story. While the acts have definitive closes, the breather time leaves you teetering on a jagged new edge. Yeah, you might have time to wind down a bit, but for how long? What is it going to show me now? How much further could they possibly go after that? It will constantly surprise you, taking sharp turns in your brain, piling on one piece of the psychological puzzle after another. It's easy for someone to label this as torture porn which would be insulting and laughably inaccurate. Martyrs evolves into something significantly larger and more menacing as it goes. That something is going to remain entirely omitted from this review and left for you to discover.
|"Alright. Hand over all your jelly|
and give me your pants.
Sweet vengeance is finally mine!!!"
Many of you aren't familiar with our Bloody Bullet score. It is our "10." It doesn't mean the film is perfect, which I believe Martyrs actually is, but that's not why I'm awarding it our highest rating. I've never seen a film dive as deep into the psychological clockwork of a tormented mind and symbolize their pain so disturbingly well. Not only does it explore the darkest corners of the psychotic mind, but it breaks down the walls of the corner to find out what's buried underneath the foundation. This and so much more is why I consider Martyrs to be the greatest horror film made to date.