Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Martyrs... the mini review... (vague spoilers)

I was in the mood to despair for humanity the other night, so I took a look at the new French horror film Martyrs. It's being hyped as the most horrifying movie ever made, grisly beyond belief, gut-churning, wrenching, etc, etc. The director even shot an introduction where he sort of apologizes for going too far.

Well, okay. "Methinks he doth protest too much." While I'll admit I didn't guess where the movie was going, that speaks more to my lack of interest in the journey than any great revelations. What starts as a variation on Death Wish soon morphs into one of your basic extreme horror tropes. Despite assurances that this isn't just another example of "torture porn", umm, it kinda IS torture porn. Young women doing degrading things, check. Brutal torturers doing brutal torture, check. Chains and weird metal restraints, double check! Over-the-top torture violence, grotesque make-up and ersatz profundity to wrap things up in the now cliche "no hope" finale, you betcha!

I'm thinking this genre is pretty much worn out at this point... like the four or five year spate of Italian cannibal movies that came out in the late 70's/early 80's, eventually it's tough to top yourself. There's only so much to be mined from the "chain 'em in a room and give 'em hell" plot...