Let me begin by saying I am HUGE fan of the original French film Martyrs. While I know not many people are fans of remakes now a days, I was thrilled that this film would be getting an American remake. I was happy to think that so many more people would finally be able to experience the film that I have so much admiration for. When the movie arrived in the mail I was thrilled, and being sick it was a nice reprieve.
The film begins with Lucy escaping captivity, the police descend upon the place only to find nothing. Lucy is taken to an orphanage where she befriends Anna our other antagonist. Lucy often suffers from nightmares of here captivity from the “monster”. The film jumps 10 years and Lucy has tracked down the family who is responsible for her torment as a child. Lucy takes her revenge and when she is done is mentally lost. She reaches out to her only friend Anna, who arrives at the home and is shocked by what she finds. Lucy has to “cleanse” the house because she is still tormented by the “monster” of her youth.
As Anna searches the house still unsure of Lucy’s story, she stumbles across a secret passageway. The passage leads to a ladder down into a large underground compound which indeed houses several torture chambers. Anna stumbles upon another little girl who is currently being held captive. Tormented by the stories of Lucy’s past she tries to free the young girl, while doing so a group of people arrive and Lucy and Anna are taken captive.
This is where the remake begins to differ from the original. The older woman who is the leader of the group quickly explains the reason for taking the girls captive. In the original it was not till the closing moments of the film that this was revealed, for me it took away from the suspense of the film. Unlike the original the film is very toned down, the violence, mental anguish and torture of the original that made you feel for the women was missing in this one. I don’t know if it's because the Goetz brothers were trying to save face with society and not up the abuse of women. But for me the film missed its mark, I feel like they took what in my opinion was modern cult classic and butchered it for a toned down American people who have become too sensitive.
In closing while the film as a standalone psychological was decent, I found it lacking as an homage to Martyrs. The young ladies who play Lucy and Anna were convincing in that they are living this torture and really do care about their friend. The cinematography, lighting, camera work and sound all add to the dark and eerie feeling of the film. If you haven’t seen the original or can go in with an open mind, I truly believe you will enjoy this film. But if your sole intention of purchasing or renting this film is to see and American or English version of Martyrs you would be wasting your time and money.
reviewed by Shawn