Martyrs…it’s one hell of a messed up cinematic experience.
Any way you slice or dice it, the story of two young women whose quest for vengeance leads them into the clutches of a depraved group of people trying to create modern day martyrs, is one of those epic mind fuck flicks that will stay with you for a vast eternity, hovering at the back of your mind like a nugget of pure, twisted evil, just waiting to re-emerge and haunt your dreams and waking hours alike.
Of course I’m referring to the original 2008 French import, written and directed by Pascal Laugier and featuring subdued, but gut-wrenchingly real performances by actresses Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï. This version, love it or hate it, was a blood-soaked achievement in horror perfection.
On the other hand, the remake, directed by The Goetz Brothers and featuring tepid but passable performances from leads Troian Bellisario and Bailey Noble is, at the very best, a total fucking cop-out.
Borrowing heavily in both plot and dialogue from the original, this dumbed down, cleaned up version is, to put it simply, a less offensive, less extreme and far less ballsy movie. Which begs the question; “Why the fuck does this so-called re-imagining even exist?”
Seriously, what the fuck is the point of remaking a film like Martyrs and then systematically trimming away everything that made it the bloody, surreal freak show that we all know and love? I’m not saying that the original was a pleasant viewing, or even an easy one (cause you know it wasn’t), but there was something morbidly mesmerizing in Laugier’s vision that made his images seem as stark and palpable as the harshest reality. You didn’t just watch the original Martyrs, you lived it, you smelled and tasted it like a filthy smear of copper on your tongue; an experience like that doesn’t require remaking, but if it did, the remake should, at the very least, surpass the original.
Well, this most certainly does not. It’s so damn…clean…and yeah, that’s most definitely a bad thing in this case.
Do you remember the end of the original Martyrs? Do you remember how that poor girl was quite literally destroyed body and soul, bearing almost no resemblance to the beautiful, if troubled young woman she was at the beginning? Well, in the 2015 version, the character that endures torture at the hands of her captors ends up slightly bloodier and in need of a shower, but for all intents and purposes, she doesn’t seem any worse for wear…for real, her hair is barely mussed. I don’t know why, but that just pisses the fuck outta me. Seriously Goetz dudes, get with the fucking program or call your shitty movie something other than Martyrs!
Okay, let me just point out that I do realize some viewers cannot stomach gore or violence, and may in fact like their horror a little less extreme (or in this case, a lot less good), and to those people I say: “What is wrong with you?” …ummm, okay, I also say: “perhaps this whitewashed version would be the better one for you.”
…and by better I of course mean far far worse.
Sorry, sorry, I am really trying not to be completely negative here, but it’s soooo haaaaaard (whines like a 2 year old). I don’t usually like remakes on principle (cause 9 times outta 10 they suck a fat one) but this one has become particularly abhorrent to me. Not because it is any worse than any other shitty horror remake being pumped out of the film industry at a sickening rate, but because this one in particular touted itself as “the ultimate horror film” (it’s on the poster, go check), when it clearly is nowhere near that.
Am I the only one who finds hubris and false advertising in horror more than a little irksome? Just me…okay then.
For anyone interested, Martyrs (the remake) will be released on Blu-Ray on February 02, 2016.