My own personal cinematic Holy Grail has been seized, experienced, endured. No more obsessive anticipation, no more worries that my expectations would go unmet. A mere three hours after purchasing this bad-boy, I've just watched Martyrs, and, I must say for the record, I don't know what to write. An instant kneejerk reaction seems ludicrous for a film this unrelenting and sense-cutting. I'm sure that I'm now an honest fan of Martyrs, but do I genuinely "like" it? I'm quite eager to show it to friends to get their responses, but do I really want to make my pals see me in some sadistic light?
Too much to mull over, sleep on. Honestly, I'm not going to delve into Pascal Laugier's film until after a second viewing. Hell, maybe not even until post-third time. I can confidently say, though, that no film had me questioning my own keen desire to watch it all the way through quite like Martyrs, wondering if there's something truthfully disturbed about me. That feeling crept up after first seeing Inside, but Inside (also a hardcore product of France's new wave of horror madness) is a film that I knew from jumpstreet that I really do love, a flick that I'll defend forever and lavish with critically-celebratory praise. Martyrs is so beyond the good-taste barrier that I don't feel right saying the same for it. At least not after having only seen the film once.
In continuation of that point, I can say that, for disclosure's sake, I like Inside much more than Martyrs, but that's not a slight against Martyrs at all. Martyrs isn't a film that you "like"; it's one that you experience, ponder, and then subsequently lose hope iin humanity over. And that, my friends, is what a balls-to-the-wall horror film is supposed to do.
But, man, that scene with the nailed-in helmet being ripped off the sacrificial, sliced-and-diced corpse-lady's head is absolutely rough stuff. And the post-title-card home invasion sequence is a sucker-punch of immense power. As for that third, and final, act.....did I really just watch that? Some dude actually came up with such insanity, and somebody let him film it? I'm impressed. Startled, and a little sickened, but really impressed.
Something tells me that I'll be rewatching this one before week's end, and then I'll have a long-winded, overly-wordy brainstorm session right here, for anybody's reading pleasure. Stay tuned.