Warning: Do not take this film lightly. Martyrs is quite possibly the most disturbing film you will ever see. Leaving myself and my colleague distraught, horrified, and exploding with disheartening questions. Martyrs will eat at your soul and make you beg for the existence of an afterlife. Martyrs is full of blood, fright, religion, and humanities relentless pursuit of redemption. Martyrs is essentially everything that a horror film should be: terrifying, psychotic, emotional, and challenging. Directed by Pascal Laugier and starring the outstanding duo of Morjana Alaoui and Mylene Jampanoi, Martyrs is the sound that keeps you awake at night and the reason you crave forgiveness. Do not watch this film. You may convince yourself that you want to see it, but I implore you to consider the alternative.
After being the victim of an abduction and the subject of physical and mental torture, Lucie (Jampanoi) manages to free herself from her captors and escape on foot. Lucie is placed in an orphanage where she becomes best friends with a young girl named Anna (Alaoui). Fifteen years after her terrible ordeal, Lucie and Anna are on a quest to find her captors and inflict their own form of justice. Arriving at a seemingly normal home in the suburbs, Lucie quickly passes judgement without consulting Anna. What happens next is a horrid series of events that leaves Anna and Lucie in pain, vulnerable, and searching for answers.
If you plan on watching Martyrs despite my warning, please view it, as best you can, in it’s natural form. This means unrated and if you must, the English subtitles are on and the original French dialogue, no dub, as this is the only way to view Martyrs. I would only recommend Martyrs to a seasoned veteran of horror and cult films. Even that wasn’t enough to shield me. I don’t know if it is possible to watch Martyrs and have a perfect sleep the following night. If you happen upon Martyrs by mistake or you only watch horror films on special occasions, do not watch Martyrs, you will regret it. I have nothing against this film, in fact I love it. In my opinion it is the perfect horror film, which is the problem. Martyrs exceeds its boundaries and accomplishes what every other horror or thriller sets out to do, terrify to the point of sleeplessness and doubt. Excellent direction from Laugier and powerful performances from the two female leads Alaoui and Jampanoi, Martyrs sets the bar and leaves everyone else trying to reach it.
Martyrs: 10 out of 10.
A brief explanation on the rating.
I awarded Martyrs a perfect 10 based on the simple fact that it is the definition of its genre. As far as I am concerned there is no where else to go. No other horror or thriller that has been made even remotely comes close to challenging Martyrs. By no means is Martyrs my favourite film (although it is one of them), it is just the perfect horror/thriller and should be treated with respect and viewed with caution and optimism.