Martyrs (2008)

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Released 29-Sep-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Gallery-Shots from the film
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 95:13 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Pascal Laugier
Studio
Distributor
Kojo Pictures
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Morjana Alaoui
Mylène Jampanoï
Catherine Bégin
Robert Toupin
Patricia Tulasne
Juliette Gosselin
Xavier Dolan
Isabelle Chasse
Emilie Miskdjian
Mike Chute
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Alex Cortés
Willie Cortés


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    As a child Lucie had been kidnapped and both physically and emotionally tortured. After escaping the grim industrial location in which she was imprisoned, Lucie is placed in a girls' home where she meets another abused young girl named Anna. Evidently haunted by the ordeal, Lucie is offered unconditional protection from Anna.

    Cut to 15 years later and the two girls, now well and truly grown up, have located what they believe to be the people responsible for Lucie's ordeal. As they proceed to exact revenge, they discover that Lucie's ordeal was part of something much bigger and far more organised than they could have ever imagined.

    Martyrs is torture-porn with a refreshingly original, macabre slant that echoes the likes of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft. What starts out as a fairly routine, though well made, revenge film, steadily evolves into a twisted rumination on the physical vs metaphysical conundrum. For anyone only interested in engaging on purely superficial level, there's plenty of goo, violence and weirdness that genre fans can appreciate without having to think about it too much. Martyrs is definitely a step up on its peers (such as fellow French film Frontiere(s), Hostel and the numerous Saw flicks) thanks to the breath of originality it adds to the genre. Dare I call this "Thinking Man's Torture Porn"? I think I just did.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced (despite the packaging claiming it to be 1.78:1).

    The image is clear and sharp. Mild filmic grain is present throughout. The many dark scenes feature a good level of depth, losing little of the original detail. The colour palette switches cleanly between a bold, high contrast natural look, and the grimy oversaturated look that has become synonymous with the genre (which is primarily used for flashback scenes).

    The film is free of noticeable compression artefacts and film artefacts.

    Clear white English subtitles are present for the feature. They an excellent translation of the meaning of the dialogue (as opposed to a literal translation of the dialogue).

    This is a RSDL disc with a layer break that occurs seamlessly between scenes at 62:38.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks.

    The audio is crisp and clear. The dialogue is easy to discern. Everything sounds to be in good sync with the video.

    The film makes reasonable use of the surrounds, primarily for environmental audio. The subwoofer is intelligently used throughout the movie to amp up the tension as well as thump at necessary moments

    The film features a fairly generic, though effective orchestral score.

Extras

    The disc opens with an unskippable anti-piracy clip (odds are you know the one), followed by two skippable trailers for arthouse films.

Stills Gallery

    15 shots from the film, for people that haven't mastered that "pause" button yet.

Theatrical Trailer

    A rather crummy theatrical trailer for the film - for my money it utterly fails to convey the vibe of the movie or otherwise create a saleable persona for it.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 edition includes a substantial "making of" featurette (around 51 minutes worth) and introduction from the director, neither of which are found on the Region 4 edition. Region 1 misses out on the stills gallery found on the Region 4 edition. Not really an equitable swap.

Summary

    It is hard to imagine ever writing such a thing, but Martyrs is equally chilling and thought-provoking. This macabre rumination on physical pain, emotional pain and the the nature of being is magnificently balanced with squirmy chills and thrills. A must see for horror fans and art-film fans with strong stomachs.

    This disc features a solid audio and video transfer, but a disappointing lack of genuine extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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