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Martyrs (2008)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 13

A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 2

A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 10,877

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Pascal Lauguier follows his 2004 thriller House of Voices with this relentlessly brutal tale of a girl who suffered unimaginable abuse as a young child, and the unspeakable horrors that unfold when she arrives at an isolated cabin in the woods fifteen years later. The story begins as the young, badly battered Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï) -- obviously the victim of inhuman abuse -- is hospitalized after somehow managing to escape her sadistic captors. Nearly catatonic after her life-altering


Drama, Horror, Art House & International

Pascal Laugier

Mar 24, 2009

Bir Film - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (13) | DVD (2)

The stylishly mounted first half zips along at a rate of knots while the gruesome make-up work will keep your gag reflex in violent spasm.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Film should score OK with hardcore gore fans, but others will expect martyrdom for sticking it out until the end.

September 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Martyrs is a groundbreaking work - it challenges the audience to endure heinous acts yet to emerge spiritually cleansed; to witness man's willingness to abuse, degrade and manipulate, yet leave the theatre more enamoured with humanity than ever.

July 16, 2013 Full Review Source:

Laugier puts the screws on us all, in a contemplative and ambiguous final-act interrogation (delivered in a whisper) of the contradictory motives involved in bearing witness to such horrors.

July 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Scene 360
Scene 360

Brutally well-conceived... for about 40 minutes, and then Martyrs flips on its own bloody axis and falls apart, existentially.

April 13, 2011 Full Review Source:

Some call it torture porn, others might call it aggressive moralising, more still have say it's boring and pointless. In my view this level of dissent marks it as worthwhile.

March 13, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture | Comment (1)
What Culture

it turns out to be concerned precisely with the nature and reception of extremity, posing uncomfortable questions about what it is that one really seeks in choosing to 'witness' scenes of horrific human abjection.

December 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Perhaps more than any other horror film, Martyrs demonstrates the range of the genre's capabilities to find ways to excite, provoke, and disturb us.

July 31, 2009 Full Review Source:

ultimately a very off-putting one-trick pony

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source:

Martyrs is an absolute recommend, but only to those who are willing to accept the film on its own uncompromising terms. All others are advised to stay well clear away.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Dread Central

Martyrs marks new ground in the horror genre - just don't take that as a sign it's worth your time.

April 22, 2009 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

The air of pretentiousness and the whiff of lesbian chic suggest that the bunch of nihilists who produced this garbage will claim something for it. All it really demonstrates is that there is something seriously rotten in the state of France.

March 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK] | Comments (5)
Times [UK]

A sadistic, religiose French horror movie.

March 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

'Martyrs' is initially shocking and strong, but eventually falls apart once we are informed about what the hell is going on.

March 30, 2009 Full Review Source: ESplatter

Intense, disorienting, unsettling, upsetting, polarising - Martyrs is all these things but it is also intelligent, moving and strangely uplifting. If you want to be put through the wringer by a film, make it this one.

March 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4 | Comments (3)

Martyrs is a five star example of what modern horror can do, or a one star mugging of all that is decent. Forgive us if we go with the former.

March 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

It will most definitely divide audiences, having already done so all over the world. But Laugier has contributed a brave, brutal and original horror film for all to witness.

March 27, 2009
Little White Lies

Arthouse? Grindhouse? The Passion Of Joan Of Arc: Unrated Edition? Defying all boundaries, Martyrs relentlessly dishes the visceral pain and emerges as a work of not just ceaseless terror but also gravity and beauty.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Martyrs is an unforgettable (not necessarily a good thing) endurance test of a movie that provides a quasi-philosophical spin on the torture porn genre.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

You may well feel in need of a shower after sitting through Martyrs, a slick essay in Gallic torture porn.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Young women are brutalised to a place beyond pain, as part of an eschatological experiment. You really don't need to see this.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph | Comments (2)
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for Martyrs

An extremely disturbing, almost unwatchable exercise in extreme sadism that is always gripping for how it follows unpredictable directions at every time - until it reaches a surprising, defying final act that only fails for being so nihilistic and profoundly sickening.
July 31, 2013

Super Reviewer

'Martyrs' begins promisingly, telling the story of Lucie, a woman who escaped violent confinement as a child and has spent her life fighting the demons of her past whilst seeking those responsible for it. The film's exposition is undoubtedly entertaining with Lucie's first adult appearance (with a shotgun) being the highlight of the whole feature.

As Lucie's plot, disappointingly, finishes by the films midpoint focus is then shifted to her long-term friend and partner in crime 'Anna'. From this point onwards 'Martyrs' sadly becomes pseudo-philosophical drivel in an attempt to give itself meaning and mask its little substantial intrigue. Alongside this the film often feels boring in moments and struggles with its shallow antagonists and missing direction. Overall it feels as if 'Martyrs' lost it way when it turned to Anna, and, although I truly enjoyed a few scenes I can't help but feel as if they would of worked better in a something less dishonest.
June 7, 2013
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

A young woman tormented by the psychological damage inflicted upon her by sadistic kidnappers seeks revenge with the aid of a childhood friend. Martyrs begins with quite an interesting premise; Mylene Jampanoi's damaged abuse victim is by far the most interesting character in the film and the first half of the story which centres around her state of mind and her friend's uncertainty as to her sanity is very intriguing. But being a "horror" movie, cue the half-baked twist and it degenerates into yet another repulsive torture-thon, the piss weak Outer Limits excuse for which is feeble even by the standards of the genre. Quite why anybody - women in particular - would find entertainment in watching a young girl being mutilated and brutalized I have no idea, but this so-called horror is just yet more tasteless, unpleasant torture porn with pretensions.
May 24, 2013
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Martyrs is a film that features more unrestrained brutality and repugnant scens of torture than any low-budget horror released in a while, but along with all this comes a certain amount of intelligence. I think it's safe to say that a lot of the negative reactions this film has recieved are based on the suspicion that it's a completely screwed up horror film that could cause damage to people psychologically, and that it's aim is to push you to the limit and make you throw up internal organs or quite simply traumitise you so much it scars you for life. However although it has the power to do that. I found it to be anything but narratively-flimsy and immature, it's actually one of the best horror movies i've seen in a while. It philosophies religion, the afterlife, epiphany-esque visions, and of course the transcendence of pain itself. I think we've gotten so used to idiotic and empty movies like Hostel and Saw that even the art-house, much more intellectual and profound bloodbath's are viewed as the typical Grindhouse fare. Unlike said movies it has two absolutely fantastic lead performances by Morjana Alaoui and Mylène Jampanoï, beautiful cinematography, delicate and artful direction, and a sheer sense of anguish and terror that I think fans of horror cinema will really enjoy, and a reflective meaning. It has one of the most nasty final acts i've seen in a while and also a very creepy ending. If you love film, you'll adore it. If you like horror, you haven't seen anything until you've seen it. I humbly ask people who see this movie not to criticise it on the grounds of being messed up, judge something as infantile as Hostel on that. This film has a purpose, along with that comes physically manifested torture. I would even argue years from now even when this film is disowned by narrow-minded audiences that it's a movie about something but that something certainly isn't torture. I can't really recommend it as entertainment, but I suppose if you happen to come across the film you might see something brilliant if you can handle it.
October 7, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Lucie: What do you have to do to stop being afraid?
    2. Anna: I think you have to let yourself go.
    3. Lucie: You think so?
    4. Anna: Let oneself go.
    5. Lucie: If I can't do it, will you be there for me?
    6. Anna: Yes.
    – Submitted by Dani D (19 months ago)
    1. Lucie: How could you do that to me? Why?!
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (2 years ago)
    1. Mademoiselle: Can you imagine what happens to us after death? Be doubtful. [shoots herself into the mouth]
    – Submitted by Alexander S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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