Sheesh. Martyrs, thanks directly to New French Extreme director Pascal Laugier, will now forever be remembered as a French term for "women suffering GREATLY". The last time women suffered this much had to be that sexual stuntman stint I pulled in the late eighties when I hooked up a hammock in the Imperial bedchamber. But seriously, folks, there's more than enough hardcore violence against women on tap here in Pascal's 2008 effort. It's the realistic type, not the triggered third wave Tumblr feminist kind that emerges from issues like "manspreading","mansplaining, "eye-raping", or any other such nonsense that a white privileged, misogynistic, toxically masculine, cis-gendered, racist shitlord such as I find mostly hilarious. To Laugier's credit (?), he's crafted one mean sunuvabitchuva movie, unflinchingly serving up the kind of excruciating, realistic gore that'd have Bob Martin crying "Uncle!" and Chas Balun blowing chunks.
"I've left the roast in the oven, scatterbrain that I am!" We first see young Lucie as she makes a hasty escape from years of imprisonment, abuse, and torture, landing herself in an orphanage where she befriends a girl named Anna, who discovers that her new friend is under near constant psychological siege by memories of a malnourished, disfigured woman she was unable to save when she broke loose from her captors. Fifteen years pass, and we see a grown Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi) as she wipes out an entire family with double barreled shotgun death, while Anna (Morjana Alaoui) waits elsewhere, under the impression that her psychologically effed friend only intends to keep an eye on the couple she believes to be responsible for her awful ordeal all those years ago, except that she walks in on a pulpy crime scene where Luce has to bludgeon the mother to death before her very eyes after her first homicidal swing n' miss. To compound matters, Anna isn't even sure if her pal snuffed the right folks, and she's noticed that when "the one that didn't get away" makes the scene and beats on Lucie, she's naturally doing it to herself, like a mentally balanced dame oughta. Anna tries exorcising Lucie's inner demons, but to no avail, as her friend ungracefully bows out with a self-inflicted fatal throat wound.
Y'alls chicks and yo' kuh-raaaazy hurr-weaves... The next day, after some rummaging around, Anna discovers a secret passageway under the family's house that leads to another tortured soul named Sarah, whose scars reflect lengthy bouts with the metal contraptions of torture she's long been hooked up to. Anna tries to rescue her, of course, but a carload of bad eggs rolls up and dispatches her with a gunshot in the nick of bad timing. Mademoiselle leads the sadistic pack, which she reveals to be a mystery-shrouded philosophical cult out to learn about the afterlife through the abduction, torture, and suffering of women, who would transcend the pain and suffering to offer a martyr's insight into the group's studies. They own the crimes committed against Lucie as a child, admitting that no woman yet has advanced past the victim stage, though Anna qualifies as their upcoming test subject, since she selflessly stood by her friends in their hour of need. At this point, the average horror movie would start rolling credits, some of the audience would snicker nervously as they exited, content with the belief that they could imagine what she was in for next, but there's nothing average about this one, and nothing much left to anyone's imagination, for that matter. "What'll it be? Meat tenderizer to your ass or nutcracker on your nipples?" queries Mademoiselle (Catherine Begin). Sorry about the prolonged delay 'twixt entries, kids, I've been busier than Alan Ormsby's Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (1972) wardrobe over here (not just hot chicks and hallucinogens, either, I'm still putting finishing touches on my other web endeavors on the horizon). Of course, earlier this year in the category of "news we didn't need to hear", it was announced that an unnecessary American remake of tonight's French New Wave Horror hit that had somehow been on the backburners since 2008, had already been filmed. As worthless as most horror remakes and sequels are, I've noticed a trend within myself to endure one every once in awhile, when possible, if only for the unintentional laughs and opportunity to snark the entire project to death as it rolls. So I can't say I'd never sit through a remake of tonight's review, I'm up for anything, at this point. If you like 'em heavy, this one's for you. Four wops. I know it seems pretty bad right now, but at least you'll never have to worry about hearing Dave Matthews ever again.