With this review, I decided to look at the merits of this remake by itself and not compare it to its foreign predecessor of the same name. In doing so, I feel this will give a more objective opinion of the remake as a whole.
After watching this version of MARTYRS, I decided to see what others were saying on the Internet. Surprisingly, much of the hype is negative. Most compared it to the other film, and as a result, they did not like the remake. I, personally, enjoyed this version, although I will attest it is not as good as the original. Still, this toned-down version has plenty to enjoy, and I recommend giving it a look.
If you are not familiar with MARTYRS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:
Ten-year-old Lucie flees from the isolated warehouse where she has been held prisoner. Deeply traumatized, she is plagued by awful night terrors at the orphanage that takes her in. Her only comfort comes from Anna, a girl her own age. Nearly a decade later and still haunted by demons, Lucie finally tracks down the family that tortured her. As she and Anna move closer to the agonizing truth, they find themselves trapped in a nightmare – if they cannot escape, a martyr’s fate awaits them…
The brutality of the original film still haunts me. It is much more difficult to watch, as the filmmakers leave little to the imagination. This is especially true toward the end, when things REALLY go from bad to worse for Lucie. But this remake also has some haunting scenes, and horror fans might just find themselves entertained nonetheless.
MARTYRS is shot well and looks good onscreen. The production value appears fairly high, particularly in regard to the special effects. Granted, the film does not have nearly as much gore as the foreign version, but what we get still looks impressive (and is very effective as well).
The acting is great, with Troian Bellisario and Bailey Noble in the leads. Bellisario gives a chilling performance as Lucy, while Noble backs her up as best friend Anna. Both women do a great job in their roles, and I hope to see more of them onscreen in the future.
The special effects in MARTYRS are very good, and they create some memorable scenes that will linger with you long after the film is over. One in particular, when a guy peels some of Lucy’s skin from her back, made me cringe. Again, the visuals are not nearly as graphic as the original, but they do pose some striking imagery you won’t soon forget.
The story is my primary complaint, as it was with the original film. I like the concept, however it is not fleshed out well enough to provide a solid explanation for what is happening. And, if the clues we are given actually do explain the rationale, it is a lame reason for torturing this girl. I would have hoped for more.
Still, MARTYRS is a great film, and I recommend it to fans of horror. If you liked HOSTEL or similar films, chances are you’ll like this one, too. The film hits store shelves on Tuesday, so make a note.