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Old 09-24-17, 11:50 PM   #1
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"Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge





Martyrs (2008)



Selected by Bladz


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IMDB ENTRY

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ALYXSTARR LINK ~ ENGLISH LANGUAGE DUB

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
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Last edited by Chad; 10-10-17 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 10-14-17, 07:33 PM   #2
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

I was glad to revisit Martyrs; it's such a bizzare mix of brilliantly paced intense wtf first half that takes a nose dive in the second half with a twist so lame it dulls the movie. The scarred girl at the beginning of the movie is so gruesome and the idea of a seemingly normal family being a front for something so brutal is well executed. Then boom... The torture porn aspects are so over the top and the main character so utterly helpless there's really not much plot once she gets locked away. The whole idea of being really mean and hurtful towards someone torturing them into having a self actualizing religious epiphany is so random and nonsensical. I do especially like the cryptic ending, which seems really nihilistic that the answer to religious inquiry is to keep doubting. The idea of insight through extreme pain just seems so metaphysical and out there to the point of being absurd. I think Saw did this general idea much better with the more subtle focus on people finding the value of their life when it's in danger. The theme of rich people preying on kids in the name of religious experience is really interesting with social commentary.

The mystery of the scarred girl is really interesting; it would seem that the friend at the beginning was having hallucinations about the scarred girl but that at the same time the girl was somehow real and later the main character was starting to be made to look like the scarred girl (maybe this is just coincidental); it seems like there's more to the scarred girl idea than I understand.
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Old 10-14-17, 08:24 PM   #3
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Might as well mention here that something in Chad's template for these threads is causing sizing errors on at least iOS tablets. Not sure what formatting code it is, some sort of word wrapping or table size thing. It's not horrible, just changes the sizes to make the text almost too small to read. Just happens in these 34 threads, none other.
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Old 10-16-17, 12:09 PM   #4
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
that takes a nose dive in the second half with a twist so lame it dulls the movie
This is why I won't ever watch the movie again. Once was enough for me and that's the only part of the movie I even remember from when I watched it a few years ago. I must have liked the first half but that second half is what stuck with me.
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Old 10-16-17, 12:52 PM   #5
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

I 'stumbled' on the original a several years ago, and was just kind of numb by the end. I don't really enjoy these types of movies, because they have a real hard edge that I can do without. Several years ago, I watched the remake not even knowing it had been remade, but knowing I had been here before.

I'm not thinking the third time is going to be the charm, and I'm not entirely sure I'm even going to watch it tonight. We'll see tonight....
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Old 10-16-17, 04:26 PM   #6
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

This is definitely a tough watch, but a thought provoking one.
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Old 10-16-17, 05:14 PM   #7
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Those two girls were pretty sick I must say. I thought it was just me about the first half being good and by the time the second part came around I was wanting this thing to end. Torturing the girl and then skinning her alive was a bit drawn out for me to have any interest but sitting there till the end.
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Old 10-16-17, 06:18 PM   #8
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

This was my second time watching this. I'm still not quite sure what I think about it. Up until the girl is taken captive, it's such a tense home invasion story that reveals there are hidden and disturbing depths to some people. Did the kids enough? It seems difficult to hide that passageway from people who live there full time. How many people are in there? Just how deep does it all go.

And then it just goes into brutality. So much of this movie just feels gratuitous, from the child abuse at the beginning to the brutal beatings in the back half. And then just when you think this film can't sink any further into torture, they go and skin her alive. Yuck.

Yet there's something in the ending that leaves me thinking. What did she tell her? A vision of punishment that awaits these tormentors? Perhaps nothing. Part of me has always tried to hang onto the idea that there was some small part of her that survived all that just to deliver a message of retribution to her tormentors, something to push them into the torment she was forced to endure.

I usually don't like the term torture porn, but I'll use it to illustrate this point. It feels like a typical torture porn flick designed to shock and make you squirm, but then it throws this idea of seeing into the afterlife as a way to somehow add depth or a sense of intellectual exploration, a thinking man's torture porn. I'm not sure if it succeeds in that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
The mystery of the scarred girl is really interesting; it would seem that the friend at the beginning was having hallucinations about the scarred girl but that at the same time the girl was somehow real and later the main character was starting to be made to look like the scarred girl (maybe this is just coincidental); it seems like there's more to the scarred girl idea than I understand.
I think the scarred girl was just an expression of the one girl's guilt at having escaped but not attempting to rescue the other captive. It was haunting her and wouldn't give her any rest. It consumed her once she felt her revenge journey was complete.
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Old 10-16-17, 06:26 PM   #9
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

I think the ending clearly can be interpreted two different ways: The most likely one is that there was some wonderful afterlife and the old woman was eager to see it. The alternative that there is no afterlife doesn't hold water for me. Why would the old woman take this one girl's word for it and kill herself if the afterlife was bad or non-existent? Seems like if she didn't like what the girl told her she would just continue to find girls to torture until she gets what she is looking for.
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Old 10-16-17, 07:00 PM   #10
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
I was glad to revisit Martyrs; it's such a bizzare mix of brilliantly paced intense wtf first half that takes a nose dive in the second half with a twist so lame it dulls the movie. The scarred girl at the beginning of the movie is so gruesome and the idea of a seemingly normal family being a front for something so brutal is well executed. Then boom... The torture porn aspects are so over the top and the main character so utterly helpless there's really not much plot once she gets locked away. The whole idea of being really mean and hurtful towards someone torturing them into having a self actualizing religious epiphany is so random and nonsensical. I do especially like the cryptic ending, which seems really nihilistic that the answer to religious inquiry is to keep doubting. The idea of insight through extreme pain just seems so metaphysical and out there to the point of being absurd. I think Saw did this general idea much better with the more subtle focus on people finding the value of their life when it's in danger. The theme of rich people preying on kids in the name of religious experience is really interesting with social commentary.

The mystery of the scarred girl is really interesting; it would seem that the friend at the beginning was having hallucinations about the scarred girl but that at the same time the girl was somehow real and later the main character was starting to be made to look like the scarred girl (maybe this is just coincidental); it seems like there's more to the scarred girl idea than I understand.
Haven't seen it in years but I remember feeling the same way after it as over.
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Old 10-16-17, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

I had high hopes for it but I definitely wasn't expecting what actually happened. It left me thinking "what did I just watch?". I was with it for the first half of the movie but after Lucie died I was wondering what was going to happen next. I'm not sure that I will be giving it a second viewing any time soon but I may need to watch it again a few years from now and see if I get something different out of it.
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Old 10-16-17, 09:03 PM   #12
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

There are some real elegant observations here. The scarred girl was the guilt of having to leave someone behind, and the constant torment of surviving. This movie really causes me great distress to watch, and I believe that's a good thing. I'm not desensitized to the real horrors that they have been through.

I'm almost through with this one and I think I need a drink!
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Old 10-16-17, 09:22 PM   #13
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Pretty sure I watched this a few Octobers ago, but I apparently completely blocked it from my mind, as nothing rang a bell. I think I'll do it again. Not necessarily bad from a filmmaking perspective, just too bleak and disturbing for me.
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Old 10-16-17, 11:19 PM   #14
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

My first time watching and I didn't get any religious overtones at all. Maybe it's what you are looking for or what you are reading into your experience in seeing the film. I found it relatively brilliant in its straight-forwardness. IMO, no twist; no gotcha moment; just pure resolution in the most basic way. And with Mademoiselle having heard the testimony of the witness, she became resolute in not sharing the truth. "Keep doubting" is a poinette gift to anyone seeking the answer. Not knowing is liveable; knowing without a doubt would be torture beyond that of anything portrayed in the film. The human mind cannot function with a truth such as that.

Also, on a side note, this is the official prequel to The Void ... Now that's funny
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Old 10-17-17, 02:35 AM   #15
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Don't know anything about this movie but I've seen it on a ton of lists for quality horror movies of the 2000s. Had a pretty rough Monday, so I'm excited to cross this off my list, I love French!

I love the music, but the opening was kind of grim. Let's hope this isn't too depressing.

Merde. Girl in bath tub with cutting scars, I might need to break out the whiskey for this one.
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Old 10-17-17, 02:40 AM   #16
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

This girl is trying to sleep as the sounds of wailing children echo down the halls, and I thought my neighbor's wind chimes were annoying.

Fuck, that girl on the edge of the bed freaked me out.

That's just the title card? I'm getting the whiskey.
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Old 10-17-17, 02:55 AM   #17
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Why do I fear that this movie's most heartwarming moment is mom waving a mouse carcass around the breakfast table?

WHAT THE FUCK?

France's UNICEF division is out of control.
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Old 10-17-17, 03:01 AM   #18
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

When your friend is murdering a family but you still got a baguette.

(pitter patter of naked feet echo through the blood stained house)
18 minutes in and I'm ready to NOPE out of this movie.
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Old 10-17-17, 03:09 AM   #19
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Lucie: "Where are you going?"
Anna: "To take a look.
Lucie: "She's in there."
Anna: "I have to look"
me: "YOU DON'T HAVE TO LOOK"
me: (swigs whiskey)
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Old 10-17-17, 03:22 AM   #20
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Anna: (throws up in bathtub)
audience: way ahead of you, girl

And the movie has the two girls kiss because it hasn't destabilized my emotions enough yet.

WHO is this freaky naked girl and WHY was this movie made?
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Old 10-17-17, 03:43 AM   #21
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

(blunt force head trauma)
Jesus this movie couldn't get any more disturbing.
(pained growling as naked girl spider crawls down the stairs)

My only chance of not having nightmares is to drink enough that my brain just shuts down for the night.
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Old 10-17-17, 04:11 AM   #22
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

The rest of my commentary will apparently just be me going 'what the fuck' over and over again.

(Group of men dressed in black carry the corpses out of the house)
This movie has thoroughly destroyed my will to live and there's still 40 minutes left.

"It's easy to create a victim. You lock them in a dark room, they suffer. You feed that suffering methodically and coldly. Your victim goes through a number of states."
Why do I feel like this is really the director speaking to the audience?
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Old 10-17-17, 07:48 AM   #23
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

DaveyJoe's commentary was the best part of my Martyrs experience.

I will admit I really don't get torture porn. Martyrs was really well-made, but after a while did nothing for me even at its most extreme. The twist halfway through was interesting, but took the air out of whatever power had been building up to then. I have no idea what to do with that ending scene. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

But, having heard about this movie for years, I'm glad to have finally seen it.
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Old 10-17-17, 09:01 AM   #24
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by numbercrunch View Post
I think the ending clearly can be interpreted two different ways: The most likely one is that there was some wonderful afterlife and the old woman was eager to see it. The alternative that there is no afterlife doesn't hold water for me. Why would the old woman take this one girl's word for it and kill herself if the afterlife was bad or non-existent? Seems like if she didn't like what the girl told her she would just continue to find girls to torture until she gets what she is looking for.
An alternative interpretation of the ending is that it's just random nonsensical mind fuckery that Martyrs is, a superficial meaningless attempt to shock with little real depth but some excellent gore and a well paced first half - it's pulp fluff. It's cryptic just for the sake of being mysterious but without any deeper intelligence. Even if there was some epic reveal it doesn't make sense this skinned alive girl on the verge of death would make a very convincing case to the old woman or that spiritual epiphany can be reasonably shared through verbal whisper. Also for this woman to signal everyone to come for a reveal then just cheat them by killing herself behind a closed door is nonsensical (seemingly she would just kill herself); if anything I feel like that's what the movie itself does - calls everyone in then just screws them by killing itself just when it seemed promising. Maybe we are the Martyrs?
Quote:
Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
I think the scarred girl was just an expression of the one girl's guilt at having escaped but not attempting to rescue the other captive. It was haunting her and wouldn't give her any rest. It consumed her once she felt her revenge journey was complete.
I initially thought that the scarred girl was psychological but it seems like the film establishes that she is both psychological and real. That the cutting was often self inflected with the scarred girl disappearing to reveal self mutilation but then the scarred girl seemed to re-appear in the basement before the torture police showed up and shoot it (?). I agree that it's most plausible the scarred girl is thematic but not sure that there's enough consistency to assume depth and purpose beyond just shocks - at best a loose theme of mangled lost youth / guilt that's more stylized than substance. It is interesting that Martyrs starts off with hallucinatory stuff then even as we're to expect the main character to lose her grip on reality it becomes more straight forward.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillieMLF View Post
...Several years ago, I watched the remake not even knowing it had been remade, but knowing I had been here before...
I disliked the original Martyrs but cannot help wondering if the remake is somehow any better.
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Old 10-17-17, 12:29 PM   #25
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Re: "Martyrs" Reviews/Discussion - 2017 Horror Challenge

Martyrs is one of my favorite horror movies and I know it's one of the most polarising. It starts off as a revenge/home invasion movie and becomes torture porn with some quasi-supernatural throughout. The "religious" aspect of the movie that ruins it for a lot of people is what I like most about it.

In gnosticism, our true self is a soul trapped in a physical body in the evil material world. We have to live through many different lives with all the different experiences that brings, including much pain and suffering, so that our souls can learn and evolve until eventually, our transfiguration is complete and we achieve gnosis. We are then free from the prison of the physical body and material world and live in our true divine state.

Martyrs is a symbolic movie revolving around this concept. The torture represents the pain and suffering we have to live through in the material world, in order to evolve and eventually reach the state of gnosis (divinity). That's why Mademoiselle tells Anna that Martyrs transcend themselves and are transfigured. Right before Anna is skinned alive, she's told that her suffering is almost over. The final stage of her suffering was the shedding of her skin, representing the soul finally "shedding its skin", no longer having to endure the suffering of life in the physical body and material world. Mademoiselle also mentions that most people are victims and only the exceptional beings become martyrs. This mirrors the idea of the difficulty and rarity of achieving gnosis, with very few people reaching this state, and most people not having evolved enough to transcend the suffering of the material world.

The first time I saw Martyrs, I went into it not knowing exactly what to expect, and I came out of it pleasantly surprised. It was a lot more thought-provoking than I thought it would be and the gnostic theme really resonated with me and was totally unexpected. As much as I like the movie, I can understand someone not liking it or even hating it though. It's definitely not for everyone and very hard to watch. That being said, it isn't violent and disturbing just for the sake of being that. There's definitely a concept behind the movie and a lot of symbolism.
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