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Martyrs (Unrated)

4.1 out of 5 stars 355 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lucie, a 10 year old girl, is found wandering in the streets, bruised and bloodied. Unable to say who did this to her, or why, she is placed in a hospital where she meets Anna, another young girl who had been abused. Fifteen years later, with Anna s help, Lucie sets out to get revenge on her attackers. When she believes she has found the couple who abused her, she confronts them ...and that is when the terror truly begins.

Avoid, if you can, reading anything about Martyrs before viewing--this ultra-intense Canadian-French shocker benefits from discovering its horrors cold. In that spirit, we'll be discreet, except to note that only the most hardcore patrons of 21st-century torture cinema need apply for this one. A prologue depicts the escape of a child from an apparent house of enslavement, and one thinks of notorious real-life cases of people keeping children locked away in basements. But writer-director Pascal Laugier has a larger idea in mind, which we begin to discern when the story skips ahead 15 years. The kidnapped girl, now played by Mylene Jampanoi, is bent on a violent rampage of her own; her lifelong friend and minder (Morjana Alaoui) comes upon a bloody scene too late. The film takes too long to get to the next revelation, but when it does, a series of secret chambers begins to unfold in the narrative, and you might just feel your head spinning (if not your gorge rising). It would be inaccurate to call this pleasant, or even entertaining, but Laugier does at least have a serious purpose and some interesting ideas. The horrifying images he creates, however, raise the question of directorial judgment gone haywire. Give him credit, though: the DVD of Martyrs includes a brief introduction by Laugier in which he (good-humoredly) apologizes for the movie--fair warning for the faint of heart. --Robert Horton

Special Features

Optional Director's Introduction
Chroniques Organic: The Making of MARTYRS

Product Details

  • Actors: Catherine Begin, Robert Toupin, Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi
  • Directors: Pascal Laugier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (355 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001MEJY8W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,683 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Martyrs (Unrated)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Wow. No, I mean WOW.

First things first: this is positively THE most graphic, disturbing movie I've ever seen in my life. The way I felt after seeing this film was the way you'd feel after waking up from a particularly vivid nightmare. It felt like, "Whoa, did I just see that?" The monster in this film is not some deformed creature in the basement, or a supernatural hellish thing coming out after dark, or even a prowling psychopath with a taste for human flesh. The monster is very human, and very normal, and it's in a place you're least likely to find, and its motives are nothing like what you thought.

Some people compare this to Hostel. Let me tell you... Hostel doesn't hold a candle to this. Hostel is boring, trashy torture porn. This is a masterpiece that looks deep into the human psyche, and reveals a picture that's both horrifying and intriguing. The first part is a bit predictable, but the second part... Boy oh boy. You think you know where it's going, and then it hits you over the head, makes you wish for a different turn of events, makes you want to look away over and over again, and yet you can't...

This is a masterpiece. A gruesome and mind-bending experience, to be sure, but an unforgettable one. Watch it. If you dare.
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Format: DVD
I freely admit I had dangerously high expectations going into this film, having read SO many positive reviews (and some rabidly negative ones as well -- as this is one of those love-it-or-loathe-it experiences), but I'm happy to say that, for me, 'Martyrs' lived up to every bit of the hype, and then some.

The problem is that, for most people, they are simply NOT going to be anticipating what this film actually IS, as opposed to what they've been led to BELIEVE it is. Namely, though it contains many ASPECTS typical of the genre, 'Martyrs' is NOT really a "horror film" in the usual sense.

Don't get me wrong, though -- the film certainly IS horrifying at times, on a number of different levels. And it has a kind of nightmare poetry which continues to haunt me.

'Martyrs' also manages to convey an overwhelming sense of cumulative dread and a hellishly pervasive sense of cold, heartless, systematically calculating evil. But it actually has a lot more in common with Gaspar Noe's uncompromising 'Irreversible' and the dark lyricism of Franju's 'Eyes Without A Face' than it does with films like 'Saw' or 'Hostel'.

For, while it does have some extremely disturbing violence and gore, it's somewhat less extreme in that respect than either 'High Tension' or 'Inside' -- two other notable examples of the new wave of French horror cinema.

But 'Martyrs' affected me far more than any of the above-named films (excepting 'Irreversible' and 'Eyes...' ), because of the IDEAS being dealt with and because of Pascal Laugier's remarkably artful handling of his material, aided tremendously by the harrowing, raw-nerved excellence of the acting, as well as the superb cinematography, editing, music, and make-up effects.
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Format: DVD
MARTYRS is an exceptional experience for various reasons. I have no plans of getting into the plot too deeply, because ruining this movie's surprises would be tantamount to a cinema crime. Would I would like to focus on are some exceptional elements. This movie delves into realms not normally touched by the horror genre. The violence is extreme and over the top, but it has a reason behind it: Albeit, a twisted and sick reason. However, it is not mindless violence without cause just for the sake of "goring" someone to death. I am not a huge fan of gore. However, this film uses it properly to convey its intended message. MARTYRS is very successful in making the audience think hard about the questions it puts forth. I find it terribly interesting that the "bad guys" seem to all come from the upper class of society and for some reason they felt distinctly Nazi-like. The film is still tumbling around in my head as I try to come to grips with its intended message. I find much ambiguity, but I also find pointed questions and fearful revelations. Another issue of note is the near absence of curse words. American horror is filled to the brim with "F-Bombs" and all other variety of offensive language. MARTYRS seems to have no use for such language. It does not need it. It is also proof that superior suspense and horror films can be made without the need for constant cursing. I found it very refreshing. There is some mild nudity, but it is not sexual in any way. The focus of the film is its stunning and shocking visuals and the message it is trying to convey. The truth is: This is not a "happy time" film experience. If you want to feel good, do not watch this film. (Watch THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE instead) If you want to be spoon fed, do not watch this film.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I've seen some of the most extreme horror films in existence. It really takes a lot for me to wince, and possibly even skip a scene entirely if it looks like something very graphic is going to happen. But I winced and cringed etc. over almost the entire running time of this film, so relentless is it's brutality. The movie is like a hour and half long roller coaster ride through hell.

This is not to say that it's a bad film, because technically speaking it's superior from just about every angle. And while it is sometimes is the violence that startled me, it was more about the relentless tension and fear the film builds so well. It simply never lets up. The first half of the film sets the stage for a completely surprising plot twist that gudes the story to film's ultra-disturbing second half and ultimate conclusion.

Let me be clear: if people being endlessly cut, stabbed, bloody and maniacal isn't your thing, steer clear. If women being beaten and tortured isn't your thing, steer WAY clear. I gave it a three star review because of the quality of the product, but seriously, this is one the roughest, hardest to endure movies I've ever seen. And I've seen Cannibal Holocaust twice.
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