Back in 2008 Martyrs was released by director Pascal Laugier, who sought to emphasize the dismal side of the genre. As an effect, he depicted a demurring topic revolving around a dystopian society concerned with the prevarications of the afterlife.
The French production was so controversial that it was rejected by most French studios, however, under further scrutiny by critics upon its release, the dramatic horror received overall exceptionally good ratings.
Frequent psychological elements and bewildering philosophical notions are disclosed throughout the film which utilizes several techniques, including character empathy. Playing on matters such as traumatic experiences, abusive characters and torturous incidences, the mechanics of the movie expertly begin to sketch the obscure and the verge between soundness and insanity.
Lucie Jurin was drowning in the murky reminiscence of her childhood, being taken aback again and again to recall agonizing physical abuse. Escaping from the slaughterhouse where she was held prisoner for numerous years, Lucie winds up in an orphanage, where she develops a close and intimate friendship with another young girl, Anna.
In a polarizing relationship, Anna takes the role of the protector, the soft-spoken feminine character, whereas Lucie remains the disbelieving and disabled one, necrotized by vicious past memories. Among many, the most ominous is the bellowing, gruesome woman – a fragment of Lucie’s imagination. Guilt, shame and self-hatred birth demons. Consequently, Lucie found no peacefulness as she was harboring these defeatist visions about leaving a girl behind in the slaughterhouse, almost fifteen years in the past.
Yet the crème de la crème of Martyrs isn’t just this – the movie is unconventional and distressing, steadily delineating the meaning behind the unusual title choice and the covert society preoccupied with the complementing factors behind the symbolism of death and the afterlife. The martyrs are beings whom upon surviving utmost suffering gain transcendental insight into the afterlife.
In spite of all this, the Goetz Brothers didn’t quite understand the engrossing aspects of the European film when they decided to direct its remake, slated to hit the theaters on 22nd January, 2016. Whether more graphic or deemed as more visually focused, the remake stows away the Gordian knots, generating a comparatively stereotypical American horror, drawing inspiration from a solemn source, although not conclusively.