“A worthwhile and ambitious remake”

by Nav Qateel

After being held captive and suffering brutal torture for an undisclosed period of time, young Lucie escapes and finds herself being looked after by nuns at a state run home for orphans. There, she makes friends with Anna. Lucie is tormented by visions of a monster, and the visions follow her into adulthood. Ten years later, Lucie tracks down her captors.

Kevin and Michael Goetz’s Martyrs is a worthwhile and ambitious remake of Pascal Laugier’s 2008 French classic of the same name. While I’m certain there will be many fans of the original that will decry this film as an unnecessary remake, I find myself belonging to the other camp. Most folks just don’t watch subtitled films, which is unfortunate, but just the way it is. Remakes that are well made and well received, generally create enough of a buzz about the original film making it desirable to more filmgoers. And that’s a good thing in my book. But is this version of Martyrs any good?

Directed by
Kevin Goetz & Michael Goetz
Bailey Noble, Troian Bellisario, Caitlin Carmichael
Release Date
22 January 2016
Nav’s Grade: B-

Lucie is played by Troian Bellisario, an actress who gets to show some real chops in this intense film. Her character has been taken to Hell and back several times, after being brutalized as a young girl, so Bellisario’s performance had to be on the money to get that pain across, which she does extremely well. Playing Lucie’s best bud Anna is True Blood‘s Bailey Noble, another talented actress worth keeping an eye on. Noble’s character takes a bit longer to develop into something as interesting as Lucie, but when it does Noble really gets her teeth into the part. In fact, it’s the two lead performances that help keep things interesting.

The Goetz’s demonstrate that they’re capable directors, and I loved the way they paced the film like a simmering thriller. It really kept the suspense nice and tight. This was also aided by Evan Goldman’s wonderful score and Mark L. Smith’s script.

If you’ve seen Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs and don’t mind the whole remake thing then you should find much to like about this one. If you haven’t seen the original, then you should like this for the good little horror that it is.