Rec, The Ring, Let The Right One In, the list goes on. Foreign horror films always seem to know how to get the adrenaline going and the new French sick flick Martyrs is no exception. The film is based around Lucie, an abused orphan (this is the first clue that the film is going to be uncomfortable viewing) who, along with her childhood friend Anna looks for revenge on her past tormentors. The tormentors seem to be, on the outside, a regular suburban couple and you start to think Lucie has made a mistake. Lucie kills the couple and their children as well as her taking her own life, leaving Anna behind.

The French faux pas

Anna, does a bit of snooping and discovers a girl chained up in the basement of the house who has clearly been abused. Abused is actually a nice term for the state she’s in, with one of the tormentors screwing a metal plate to her head! Anna is found in the house by an official looking woman the couple used to work for, who then learns the horrifying truth behind the girl in the basement.

From Bad To Worse

The couple were part of a small group of people who kidnap young orphaned girls and torture them for years in search of proof of an afterlife. Since Anna let the tortured girl out of the cellar, she has to face the gruesome consequences. Oh yes and they are gruesome, the woman is the head of the organisation and decides to use Anna for her next experiment.

OK, up until now it may seem like your average sick-yet-watchable Friday night gorefest. Not exactly. The last hour of the film is perhaps not only graphic but in many parts just plain uncomfortable. The underlying story and brilliantly convincing acting from the young female lead Morjana Alaoui, only further enhances the extreme horror factor. Not wanting to reveal too much detail I will just say that when you don’t expect it to get much worse, it does…lots. There is no fuzzy warm ending to this sick-flick and I definitely don’t suggest eating before viewing.

Special Features

Organic Chronicles: The Making of Martyrs
Interview with director Pascal Laugier
Interview with special effects co-ordinator Benoit Lestang

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