Martyrs is not intended for movie goers who become squeemish with uber violence or faint from extended scenes of graphic torture. To describe Pascal Laugier's 2008 film as as explicit is a tad under doing it.
I personally wanted to thank the entire wave of French Extreme Horror creators, when they arrived on U.S. soil and screens. At the time, I felt a void regarding our favorite genre. It was few and far between when I would come across a production that really left an impact on me. I became increasingly disappointed in the majority of horror releases circa 2002 - 2009. I profusely give thanks to Canal+ and Luc Besson, giving the opportunities necessary for some fledging but very talented filmmakers, whom are now pretty successful. Xavier Gens, and the teams of Alexandre Aja / Gregory Levasseur and Julien Maury / Alexandre Bustillo as well as Pascal himself of course.
Opinions vary greatly on the dark, resonating film Pascal created. Many were repulsed by the overwhelming depictions of various tortures and deaths throughout the film. It's not any easy watch. quite bloody, and leaves one asking, "what did I just experience?"
Extreme Horror breeds a unique type of fan. Loyal, genre savvy, and blood thirsty. Always on the prowl for the next picture willing to test the limits of it's audience as well as cast and crew. Laugier succeeded in provoking movie goers, incorporating religion and violence in uncomfortable doses for some. But to the legion of those who find glee in copious amounts of blood and guts, it was magical movie making.
Martyrs has widely been embraced as one of the 'poster children' of horrific French ingenuity . Alongside films such as Inside, Frontier(s), and High Tension. Collectively these films help serve as a foundation for any self proclaimed Gore Hound. The fanatical following of this subversive sub genre pay high respects to the likes of Martyrs and Laugier.
I was shocked and deeply disappointed upon hearing even the initial whisper of an American remake. I honestly thought it was a joke, but this was not to be. Pascal and his vision gave viewers more than they bargained for at the Cannes Film Festival, LESS THAN A DECADE AGO IN 2008!!!! But recent news revealed Anchor Bay snagged North American distribution rights to the upcoming U.S. version.
I don't understand why this was even an option to be considered in the first place. A beloved, contemporary and crafty tale of extreme violence and revenge. One that also didn't have the stifling presence of the MPAA. Also did someone have delusions of grandeur, believing that this endeavor would 1. Be well received 2. Capable of achieving on any level the tone and tenacity needed to play ball with the original.
Now please don't get me wrong. I don't loathe ALL reboots. Some have been successful in my eyes, gaining individual merit badges for particular areas of excellence. But I feel as if my favorite toy was just thoughtlessly tossed aside. Yes. Yes, I know I don't have to see the upcoming remake. I like to use the analogy of a horrendous accident scene. You don't really want to look, but the morbid curiosity gets over on you. Especially when involving a personal favorite.
I've already read several interviews where the team behind the U.S. Martyrs film, promise it " to not be as dark and will retain some hopefulness." I wish you all could see my face right now as I type that. The previous director, Stamm was quoted, "the film is very nihilistic, the American approach ( that I'm looking at ) would go through all the darkness but then give a glimmer of hope. You don't have to shoot yourself when it's over." Again...........my face! Stamm gave up duties of directing due to budget cutbacks, giving the reigns to the Goetz Brothers, creators of the fantastic film Scenic Route. At least that's an improvement, but f#$% me gently with a chainsaw. What was mentioned earlier sounds nothing like what the man, the myth, the legendary Ryan ( thank you for helping get Hatchet made ) Turek stated. The industry veteran announced that, "Martyrs is the new yard stick against which all forms of extreme genre films should be measured against." Epic quote.
Transcendence in Torture
To deliberately alter, or water down what made Martyrs so glorious in the first place, is so incredibly aggravating. Almost doing a disservice to the incredible, relentless barrage of brutality the original forces movie goers to endure. I just feel that this film deserves some more time basking in the glow of bloody idolization. A wide number of individuals have still yet to indulge in the nastiness. It will soon have that geeky, clumsy, younger half sibling that will undoubtedly take away some deserved attention. To claim the title of "Ultimate Horror Movie" is astounding, and what will appear on the American Martyrs movie posters. I admire the confidence but dislike the disregard for just how f#$%ing awesome Pascal's vision was. No way in hell this upcoming remake will get under the skin ( no pun intended ) and the psyche like the one in 2008.