31 Favorites #10: Matyrs (2008)

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Martyrs is about two young women. The first, Lucie, ends up in an orphanage after escaping years of torture. The second, Anna, is the only other person at the orphanage that Lucie grows to trust and consider a friend.. Lucie swears that one day she’ll hunt down the people who tortured her and exact revenge. When the two women finally leave the orphanage, Lucie does just that, and things go horribly wrong.

Martyrs is considered by many horror movie fans to be the most brutal film the genre has ever seen. And with good reason - this movie isn’t for the faint of heart and is filled with an unmatched level of nihilism. I would argue, however, that the violence depicted is in service of a higher purpose. Martyrs asks the viewer to consider larger questions of suffering, its role in the world, and how systems of violence work to maintain the status quo. Martyrs is, at its heart, a philosophical film and not, as some who haven’t seen it assume, torture porn.

Three Things I Love About It:

  1. Martyrs forces the viewer to think about difficult to wrangle with concepts, including life after death, suffering, and systems of violence.
  2. There’s an unexpected twist in the film that makes it almost like watching two movies in one. 
  3. Despite being a thinking persons film, Martyrs is still scary as hell.
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