Macabre…ish Horror Review: Martyrs



Martyrs, 2008/ 99 min



In 1971, Lucie (Jessie Pham) escapes from an abandoned slaughter house after being tortured for a year. She was found and placed in a children’s home and never spoke about what happened to her, not even how she escaped. She lives in terror, even in her sleep, there is no peace. She claims a monster (Isabelle Chasse) attacks her and she is left sliced up. Lucie has one friend, Anna (Erika Scott), who looks out for her as much as she can.


Fifteen years later, Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï) breaks into a home with parents (Robert Toupin and Patricia Tulasne) and two kids (Juliette Gosselin and Xavier Dolan-Tadros) , seemingly normal and with a shotgun, she spares no one. She then calls Anna (Morjana Aloaui) and tells her, she found them. But the monster comes out again and attacks Lucie, then starts to remember the past. It’s horrifying, between the memories and her monster, she flees in terror. And runs into Anna on her way out.


So Anna sews Lucie up and helps her clean up the carnage inside the house. And she remembers more and the flashbacks are terrible.


But then Anna realizes one of the victims is still alive and tries, unsuccessfully, to save her. And the truth about Lucie’s monster is revealed and  Lucie decides to end it all.


Later, and still in the dead family’s house, as Anna makes a call to her mother, a pane falls out of a cabinet and reveals a secret passageway. It leaves to an underground chamber and someone is inside and she, Sarah (Emilie Miskdjian), looks awful. Emaciated, every inch of her body is cut up, with what looks like a chastity belt on and  a metal mask on her face, stapled into her head so she is permanently blind. There’s a link on the back of it for a lock and chain. The woman is traumatized and violent. Her first impulse is to hurt herself.


Then an armed group of people arrive and everything gets immediately worse. Beginning with a woman known as The Mademoiselle (Catherine Bégin) who explains what is going on here. The explanation is terrifying and Anna is in trouble.


Anna takes Sarah’s place and wakes up in a cell, chained to a wall and sitting on a chair with a hole in it. It is her turn to work toward transcendence and all the horror that entails.

This is the French original and it is gruesome. Torture porn to say the least. Good pacing and physical effects, it has the feel of Hostel. It is bloody, graphic and gory. Serious trigger warnings here for abuse.