Martyrs review

Martyrs, a truly gruesome French film about torture, madness and clandestine wackos, starts off promisingly and continues to do well for the first 45 minutes as we follow a young woman seeking revenge on the family of her childhood torturers. From the outset, no punches are pulled as bodies are blown apart, blood smears the walls and an angry disfigured ghost terrorises the emotionally scarred woman.

A very clear second-half starts just before large, deeply embedded staples are removed from a victim’s head with the help of an industrial screwdriver and things very quickly become a little silly and over-the-top. Rather unfortunately, this half proves to be the main thrust of the film, sullying the first part which turns out to be a ridiculously long prologue.

Martyrs succeeds in shocking, a difficult thing to do in an increasingly desensitised world, but with some (many) undoubtedly gratuitous moments and a story that descends in to daftness, it could have benefited from a more mature touch.

3 out of 5

5th Apr 2009