Martyrs 2008 ***


Most horror films are for kids; the hokey characterisation and plotting is just for fun. Pascal Laugier’s 2008 film is anything fun, a brutal and at times near unwatchable drama of torture and degradation. What elevates it from the torture porn genre is the set-up; Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi) has suffered a childhood torment, and enlists the help of Anna (Morjana Alaoui) for a revenge mission. They target a suburban house where a normal-looking family live. Anna begins to have her doubts about whether Lucie’s actions are justified, and when their home invasion begins, the girls get more than they bargained for. The first half of Martyrs is unbearably tense, and although the seconds half is more physically revolting, Laugier’s film has earned the right to go to such dark places. Human pain has rarely bee depicted in such detail; Martyrs is recommended for those seeking the extremes of horror cinema.


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