There has been, of late, quite the fascination with New Wave French horror. Among the greats; Ils, Haute Tension, A L’interieur. These are fantastic horror movies, and in my mind, really tough to top.

So how does Pascal Laugier do with the 2008 film ‘ Martyrs’ ?  Read on after the break and find out.


A quick summary:

A young girl escapes from an abandoned building (meal Plant?) where she has been abused to no end, and help captive for an indeterminate amount of time. She seeks rescue and eventually gets placed in an orphanage, to live out her normal (I’m sure) life. She meets a new friend, Anna (Morjana Alaoui), and deals with an oppressing ghostly dead woman that torments her continuously.

15 years later. Our young escapee, Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï) manages to find who she thinks is the family that kept her hostage, and exacts the best type of revenge. The ‘ You ruined my childhood, now I’ll ruin your face with this double-barrel shotgun’ kind.

Anna shows up, in response to the phone call Lucie made when the deed was done, and discovers the massive carnage that one would expect when you mix a deranged and hallucinating young woman, with revenge and a shotgun.

There are haunting images of Lucie’s dark passenger, as it attempts to consume her, people are not quite dead, etc…

The status quo ends here.

I could say that the first half of this move was a prequel to the second half. They were THAT different. Where the first half of this move delves in to the domain of revenge and a poor case of anger management, the second half takes off in a jet fighter plane to a whole other fucking dimension.

Martyrs takes you for the type of visceral hell-ride that you would come to expect from the likes of Alaxendre Aja, Jean-Claude Brisseau,Coralie Trinh Thi, etc…

To say the images depicted in the second half of this film were disturbing is a blatant lie. They were fucking BRUTAL.

I could also describe some of the scenes, but honestly, I can’t, in good conscience, rid you of what awaits.

I cannot recommend this film to the faint of heart. The outright evil, and violence depicted will make the strongest willed person squirm in their seat.


Martyrs has since left me searching, and comparing any other horror movie I’ve seen for the same brutal experience, and none have sated me. Pascal Laugier, you son of a bitch.

With the emergence of so many French new wave horrors, I can’t imagine this will be the last of the greats, but it is close. Very close.

For giving me the hope, and expectations that this will be a run of the mill horror film for the first hour, and then violently throwing that away, and leaving me with mouth agape, and a shotgun sized hole where my heart used to be, I give this movie a 9.5/10



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