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Martyrs review! :D

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Posted 16th April 2009 at 06:46 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs

Well, I thought Iíd jump on the Shameless bandwagon and start posting the odd review in the blogs too! Plus I do have a tendency to write quite long and ramble on a bit (!) so a blog actually seems more appropriate than a thread. So here we go... enjoy!
May contain teeny-weeny spoilers (but Iíll warn you when thereís a biggy! :P )

MARTYRS (2008; Pascal Laugier)





So I got asked to go see this film up London to the ICA (one of the few cinemas actually showing this film) and, after seeing previous modern French horrors such as the brilliant Switchblade Romance (Alexandre Aja, 2003) with its somewhat unexpected yet unoriginal twist ending, Frontiere(s) (Xavier Gens, 2007) which is basically a French remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974) and the absolutely outstanding and disturbing Inside (Alexandre Bustillo, 2007) which is my personal fav, I leapt at the chance to see this! But was I in for a rollercoaster of a film Ė a ride that truly does go into hell and leaves you there until the credits roll. Before I went, I had read many things explaining how down-right disturbing and sick this film was, but this only added to my eagerness to see this film, afterall it may be another case of an over-hyped film.

The basic plot of this film is just that; basic! Thereís not really a particularly in-depth, complicated story with multiple narrative strands, and Iím sure youíve seen this all done before. Basically [SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!] a small cult are capturing people and leaving them in an underground cell to be brutally physically, mentally and physically tortured (the reason only comes clear towards the end) [SPOILERS OVER! SPOILERS OVER! Hehehe). VERY similar to the highly overrated Hostel (Eli Roth, 2005), but the thing that separates this film from every other Ďgornoí is itís endless twists and turns. Itís an absolutely unpredictable film, that throws something completely new and unexpected at you every five minutes! Well thatís how it starts anyway. I found that the final quarter of the film completely changes pace and slows right down (whilst still keeping up its disturbing-ness (!)) and honestly, becomes slightly on the boring side, in my opinion. But that is only one very small glitch to this film.

But why is it so goddamn disturbing?! Well the violence is both extreme and extremely realistic. Itís unrelenting and unstoppable, no matter whom the character is, they are not safe and like all good gorno films, the camera never shyís away from the violence. However, itís the tone of this film that makes it so hard to watch. Itís just so serious and powerful. I actually found myself sitting in the screening thinking to myself, ĎWhy am I actually watching this? Actually, hold up, why do I watch horror at all? Why? Is there something wrong? There must be!í Itís a question I still donít really know the answer too. Why is it that horror fans (such as you, most likely) ENJOY watching people being violently and brutally tortured? Mmm. But then again, why not? It is only a movie. Right? This is the power that this film holds, and very few films have actually made me think that, with Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato, 1980) being one of these.

Although, maybe if I had watched it at home by myself, or with a few mates, it may have not had the same impact. As Iím sure you know, the location and situation around you greatly affect the way you act towards a film. Knowing already that this film has been described as one of THE most disturbing films ever made, and that only a very few select cinemas had the Ďprivilegeí (?) to show this film, it didnít help that I was miles away from the safety of my home, in a place Iím not particularly familiar with in a VERY small and tight screening (only about 25 seats!).

Overall, this is one hell of a film, which is very, very hard to forget. It will have you on the edge of your seat but at the same time make you think about your own sanity. The direction itself is simply stunning, with the extreme EXTREME close-up of a characterís eye, as Total Film has said, resembling the ecstasy ride seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968). If youíre looking for a thought-provoking, disturbing yet beautiful example of extreme cinema, look no further than this. Surprisingly uncut by the BBFC (!), this film will be released on UK DVD soon, so look out for it, if this sounds Ďappealingí.

Do I luv it? Mmm. Yes, I do. Does that make me a sick and twisted individual? Yeh, most likely. I give it 4 out of 5 luuvs. A very powerful film and unquestionably one of the best gorno films since it arguably started with Blood Feast (Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1963), but lacks something that Inside has.

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  1. Old Comment
    Peter Neal's Avatar
    Apart from it being a full ***** for me, I'd fully subscribe to your review, particularly regarding the flick's impact.
    Personally, this is very slightly above "Inside" and "Haute Tension" for me.
    Together they make up a trio of the most interesting modern genre movies in years.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 16th April 2009 at 07:33 PM by Peter Neal Peter Neal is offline
  2. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    I got a bit confuzzled with that comment for a moment there Peter. I thought the ***** was a swearword or something you'd strangly censored - I was sitting there trying to figure it out - what a twat I am! Lol!

    But fair point, I actually think I was a bit harsh on it. Like you said, it is absolutly one of the best horror's of recent times, and really does push the boundries (I'm surprised the BBFC let it through - surely this means that no film should be cut for non-sexualised violence now!). I'll give it a super high 4 that's just scraping the 5.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 16th April 2009 at 07:50 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Peter Neal's Avatar
    That's just fair enough.

    I really wonder what's stopping "Inside" from getting a UK release though....

    BTW: One of the upcoming French horrors will include a late sequel to the 90's splatterfest "Baby Blood"- suitably titled "Lady Blood"
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 16th April 2009 at 08:17 PM by Peter Neal Peter Neal is offline
  4. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Yeah, the whole Inside UK DVD thing is a complete mystery to me too. If Martyrs is getting released, I can't see why Inside wont be.

    Oooh, 'Lady Blood' - ingenius title - I'll look out for that one
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 16th April 2009 at 08:25 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  5. Old Comment
    spooks's Avatar
    Likewise I went to see this @ ICA (spooky - might of even been at the same showing). Yeah I thought it was a good solid film. But I think due to all the hype and media controversy about it, I felt a bit unfazed by it at the end, and to be honest was expecting it to be a lot more full on and (possibly) more psychologically disturbing. I actually thought it was quite restrained in its violence, which in its own way makes it probably more effective (like orig. texas chainsaw massacre). Sure its not a pretty film in any way, but it kinda surprises me all the hoo haa its got from the media etc... (like the original certification fiasco it had in its native country).
    Overall i thought it was a really good and interesting film and will be an important entry in the genres history. I seriously look forward to future projects from the director (isnt he gonna be doing the new hellraiser film? which makes sense when you see a certain scene in martyrs).
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 17th April 2009 at 12:18 AM by spooks spooks is offline
  6. Old Comment
    spooks's Avatar
    Oh and yeah, agreed, Inside really needs to get a release in this country.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 17th April 2009 at 12:19 AM by spooks spooks is offline
  7. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    That IS weird Spooks. Which screening did you go to? I went on the Tuesday 7th one. I'd have to agree with you on the violence too - blood wasn't gushing out everywhere ALL the time. But there was a realistic amount, I'd say, which made this all the more believable. I guess [SPOILER ] the director could have shown the girl's skin being torn off - but chose not to [End Of Spoiler!]
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 17th April 2009 at 08:15 AM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  8. Old Comment
    spooks's Avatar
    i went on the monday as the tickets were cheaper! You going to any of the upcoming horror screenings in london? Im going to HBTC and hopefully the italian horror all nighter.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 18th April 2009 at 01:29 PM by spooks spooks is offline
  9. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    We was going to go to that one too! But stuff came up. I won't be able to go to the HBTC screening as I've gotta go make to uni - but after the exams I'd definetly be revisiting there! They show some great films. Also I need to start going to the Prince Charles cinema up London too - might go along to the Monty Python double bill. They're also showing Frightened Women later!

    I might see you at one of the screenings
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 18th April 2009 at 09:18 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  10. Old Comment
    spooks's Avatar
    yeah heard about the frightened woman playing there, lovely stuff! like that film a lot, shall def be going along to see that on the big screen. I'm sure we'll bump into each other one day! Good luck with the exams!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 18th April 2009 at 11:18 PM by spooks spooks is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Almar@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Don't forget poster of HBTC is being given out to people who come to the Friday night screening.

    So Mr ILuv - you been to see anything else so we can have another entry or are you in exam hell? If so best study... but not for too long mind!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 28th April 2009 at 07:59 PM by Almar@Cult Labs Almar@Cult Labs is offline
  12. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Well, I wouldn't say I'm in exam hell Almar. I only have 3 exams - 1's finished - my other 2 are at the end of the month. I'm just in revision limbo! An empty and boring place with only Mr. Procrastination to keep me company! . I'll have to write a few more blogs then. I'll get to work on it!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 8th May 2009 at 11:02 AM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
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