I was beginning to wonder if torture could ever be depicted in a movie without the movie becoming “torture porn”, without any other cinematic merit. This French horror flick answers my question. In Martyrs, torture isn’t just a dirty gimmick. It’s the thematic subject of the movie, where the reasons for torture are more disturbing than the act itself. The narrative structure is unconventional, shifting focus about every twenty minutes, sometimes even shifting our character identification. For the first twenty or forty minutes, I thought I knew what Martyrs was about, but I was wrong. The movie sinks to some disturbingly provocative depths that leave far more of an impression than its ultra-violence or gore. Fans of horror will want to watch it for those exploitative elements, but it actually has more to offer than that. I’m being vague because the less you know about the movie, the better. If you’re not too squeamish, check it out.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)