Friday, July 27, 2012

Martyrs (2008)

If you look on any horror movie discussion forum or board, someone will recommend Martyrs. Someone will say it is "the most disturbing movie ever". Someone will call it "the most shocking" or go above and beyond by claiming it was a "transcendental/existential" experience.

Martyrs is by far, the most over-hyped, over-praised garbage I've watched in a long  time. Enthusiasts will immediately claim that I'm too stupid to comprehend it's "depth" or some other pseudo-elitist bullshit putdown. I don't care. I've seen it a few times and each time I hated it more.

Let's start from the beginning. Martyrs starts with the story of Lucie, who escapes being chained to a chair in some warehouse complex in the middle of somewhere. She's obviously been traumatized and is found by the authorities and placed in an orphanage. She doesn't speak at first and only becomes close with another little girl, Anna. Lucie repeatedly engages in self-harm and is haunted by a hallucination/image of a wretchedly skinny, violent girl. This hallucination follows her into adulthood.

She comes to find the family that she believes to have held her captive and kills them. She flips out and calls Anna to help her. She has a final battle with the girl/woman that has been haunting her and dies from her wounds.

Everything up to this point makes for a rather engaging movie. If the movie had been a short film and had stopped right here, I would have enjoyed it. But it doesn't. What follows is the biggest bullshit in plots involving some society that believes in torturing people in the hopes of seeing whether the afterlife is real. What follows is 45 minutes of tripe.

Anna is captured by these people (the same society that had captured Lucie as a child) and is tortured. Torture is tricky to get right in movies; sometimes it's lame and doesn't work or it's over the top. Martyrs makes a concentrated effort to show you each blow, kick, grab, force feeding, sleep deprivation, etc. Is it shocking? NO.

Much like the rape scene in Irreversible, Anna's torture crosses the line from potentially horrifying into flat out boring. Much like the rape scene in Irreversible, it drags on and on and is so over-the-top graphic, that I ended up feeling nothing for the character and was looking at the clock, waiting for my boredom to be alleviated. And Martyrs has no intention of alleviating my boredom.

Blah, blah, beatings, more beatings, more force feeding of some nasty greenish gruel, more suffering. Somehow this leads all involved to believe Anna is the one and will usher in the "knowledge" they are all hoping to acquire. That right there should make your bullshit meter go crazy. I can understand if torture made YOU see for yourself if there was an afterlife or whatever it was you were seeking to know. But you're taking someone else's word? Someone whom you have been holding captive to reveal  to you some greater truth of the world? What the fuck?!

And so it ends, with some pseudo ambiguous ending as to what Anna's last words were. And thus 2 hours of my life were wasted, never to be recovered, never to be filled with something far more worthwhile like staring at the wall or chasing flies. Hell, watching the water in the toilet swirl when I flush it is more fulfilling than the Martyrs experience.

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