Action / Drama / Horror / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 4 10 3678


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January 21, 2016 at 09:00 PM

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Robert_Lovelace 4 / 10

Dead on arrival

I'm not even going to lay out a plot blurb for this, because if you are planning on seeing it, chances are you have already seen Pascal Laugier's 2008 original and know what's up. In fact, it's probably not inaccurate to say that the only people who may be seeing this film are those already acquainted with the source material, as this remake had virtually zero publicity, a sad excuse of a theatrical release, and a buzz that was DOA.

By most accounts, this remake of "Martyrs" was doomed by the mere fact of it being a remake; it's difficult to outdo something with as much palpable intensity and thematic abhorrence as the original film. and that's precisely where this film most falls flat. There is an inexplicable feeling of shallowness to the picture that pervades it from nearly beginning to end. Part of it is the lackluster cinematography, and part of it is the lack of dynamism in the performances, but most of all, it feels like the filmmakers in general were dispassionate about the material itself, and it shows.

The truth is, a remake could have worked, but it would have needed at least a little life breathed into it, and this film feels like it was taken off life support from day one. The script here is near identical to the original film's, and it begins as a near shot-for-shot remake, but falls off that train within the first ten minutes. In fact, the film only really begins to diverge in the final act, which is honestly where I found the it to be most convincing. I may be the minority here, but I actually thought the way they rewrote the conclusion was clever and intriguing without being too much of a touchy-feely tradeoff—it still maintained the dark nerve of the original's ending, which I respected, and the last five minutes may be the only portion of the film that I truly thought was worthwhile.

The acting here is decent, but the lead female actresses at times seem to be going through the motions. Some obtuse dialogue doesn't exactly help matters either. Kate Burton is an interesting and solid choice for the cultist matriarch, and I actually enjoyed her performance in this quite a bit.

Overall though, "Martyrs" only barely begins to scratch the surface of what the original film did, and it's unfortunate. It fails to capture any of the remote coldness, psychological disconnect, or stark brutality that made the original film so unforgettable, and ends up feeling like little more than a direct-to-video horror flick with about a fifth of the vitality. When watching the remake, one feels like the film is self-consciously going through the motions, and when taking into consideration its stodgy demeanor, failed distribution, and complete lack of any and all promotion, "Martyrs" 2016 ultimately feels like a production that was given up on before it had even begun. Where the original was gutsy, stylish, and unsparing, the remake manages to be the film equivalent of a death rattle. 4/10.

Reviewed by robhartjr 8 / 10

Rare Fan Of The Original That Actually Liked It.

Unlike most others, I welcome horror movie remakes. I know that most end up being trash. But there are the few that end up being decent horror movies in their own merit. Yes, I'm a fan of the original 2008 French film Martyrs. I mean I really loved the intense raw terror of the original. But like most have said, it wasn't just about the terror. It had deep meaning. Which is why it has become one of the biggest horror cult classics of the past 20 years. So when I heard that they were making an American remake, I was honestly excited. The producers promised to keep the intensity of the original. This announcement was way back in 2010. So you can imagine I've been waiting nearly 6 years for this. Now the film is finally here. I will admit that the trailer for the film released online made it look very mediocre. And I knew that most other fans of the original would trash the film relentlessly regardless of its true value. It is hard to not compare this to the original. The critics reviews seem implausible too. I guess I'm the rare fan of the original that actually liked it.

*Basic Plot* A girl escapes from captivity from being tortured on a daily basis. The police return to find the torture site abandoned. The girl is sent to an orphanage where she befriends another orphan girl and sees visions of a monster. Years later as an adult she tracks down her captors and takes revenge, which sets off a chain of even more terrifying events for her and her best friend.

That really is just a typical summary of the plot to lure you in. It's for the most part a carbon copy of the originals story. Some scenes are shot for shot. There are a few tweaks that are "Americanized", but are still a bit intense compared to other horror remakes that seem dumbed down. I will admit that upon my first viewing I was disappointed in the handling of the ending. But the film still stuck with me long after. I read all these negative reviews prior and expected the holy grail of terrible remakes. I'm glad to find out most of those reviews are completely misguided. Yes, it pales in comparison to the original. But it is not nearly as bad as other fans have said it is. They seem to blindly hate it. I read one negative review that pointed out that the movie had country music, as if that played a big part in the soundtrack, when in reality it was literally just 10 seconds of the music near the beginning. Others say the acting is typical terrible American remake bad acting. Again, wrong. Sure it wasn't Oscar worthy acting. But it was all believable. Yes, the ending and captivity scenes are changed a lot. They are still intense, but less effective. BUT, still pretty good. I think the movie was still a pretty good horror film. There were scenes of brooding terror in the beginning. The musical score is very epic and emotional for a horror movie. The acting is pretty good. The production value is really good for a low budget remake. There are some visual shots during the daytime scenes that are eye candy. The message the original sent out is still present, just not delivered nearly as well. But it's still there! The ending will disappoint fans of the very memorable finale of the original, but in its own context it works decently. So all these insanely negative reviews should not be taken that seriously until you've seen the movie for yourself and will form your own positive or negative opinion. Believe it or not, even the original hasn't been seen by everyone. So most early reviews for this remake are from disgruntled fans of the original who went out to do nothing but trash this film. Of course if you saw the original and liked it, you will have a hard time not comparing the two. At first I was comparing them, but once I looked at this movie as a standalone horror film pretending the original didn't exist, I found it to be a pretty good horror experience. For the moment, I'd trust the opinion on this film of someone who hasn't seen the original more than the angry fans. Because their minds are fresh. They won't be overly nitpicky. Some will, but most might appreciate this for it's true value. Sure its not nearly the best horror movie ever made, but it's one of the best remakes. I'd bet anything that if this was released nationwide in theaters first, that it would get a warmer response from reviewers. I say if you haven't seen the original, you'll have a better time seeing this on your horror movie night. If you did see the original I strongly recommend you try your hardest not to compare the two and view this as if its truly a standalone film. I predict as time passes by this will find a small cult following. The reviews will slightly get better. Either way, turn up the volume, turn off the lights, and enjoy.

**Fun Fact** The writer of this remake is the same man who wrote the adapted screenplay for the award winning film The Revenant. Believe it or not.

Reviewed by dragonsand-395-844107 2 / 10

Hacked to s&*t (and not in a good way)

First off, I'm a big fan of the original French version of Martyrs (2008). This is one of those movies that stays with you long after you have watched it. When I heard of a remake for the American audience, I thought it would be great and would love to see what could be done with it. I went into seeing this movie very excited. It starts off similar to the French version, but seemed to lack a bit of the eerie atmosphere the original had. The characters seemed a bit more likable in this version, so I started to get a bit more excited about it the further it went.

The story then take a left turn and seems very rushed once all of the action starts. The original version is a lot bloodier and contains a lot more violence. This version hints to the violence taking place but never shows whats going on. The ending, which in the original, is the part of the movie that sticks with you, is hinted to, but again, never shown. I recommend that if you do decide to watch this movie, what the original version first. Hey America, if you're going to do a remake, do it properly and don't hack a film to shite!

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