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Martyrs (Blu-ray Review)

MartyrsTen-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… 

Martyrs

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Martyrs is the horror film remake to the highly acclaimed and controversial French horror film that was released in 2008 of the same name. In this remake Lucie (Troian Bellisario) shotgun blasts to death a mild mannered family in a quiet suburb. She’s under the impression that this family was in cahoots with other parties in her torture as a child. This torture has made Lucie an unbalanced individual and monsters that torment her as a byproduct of this torture haunt her.

Lucie calls her best friend Anna (Bailey Noble) to come and bare witness to her freeing herself from the people that supposedly tortured her as a child. Anna is shocked at the events that have transpired and helps Lucie clean up the mess. Whilst doing that, the family’s associates begin to arrive and are led by Eleanor (Kate Burton). Eleanor and her followers have plans for Lucie and Anna.

I had a morbid curiosity in checking out the Martyrs remake, because after watching and declaring the original one of the best horror films of all time how could Hollywood mess it all up? The bar is set so high that it’s impossible to lower it. Then came along co-writer of The Revenant Mark L. Smith into the fold to craft the script, so that gave me a drop of hope. The film would be directed by The Goetz Brothers (I don’t know their work) and be co-produced by Blumhouse productions. Okay, yay for that.

Once I popped in the Blu-ray I noticed plenty of similar beats that got us from point A to point B but in doing so rushed it along sacrificing (pardon the pun) depth and character development for mild shock value. This remake neither pushes the boundaries that the first did nor does it titillate. It barely asks any questions but instead is content with just being a dreary exercise. The acting my our principle cast is downright amateur, with only Kate Burton there to lift the project up in her portrayal of Eleanor, who also has no depth unlike the original character in the original film.

Now don’t get me wrong – just because it’s a remake doesn’t mean I’m just bashing it for the sake of bashing it. It has some nice cinematography and the minimal locations work well – it’s the script that needs work. Its 83-minute running time (with credits) does it no favors either. I wish this remake had asked the right questions and took greater risk but that isn’t the case. 8 years later – if you really want to see something that will blow your mind and senses then pick up the original Martyrs and give this one a pass.

 

Martyrs

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Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Contrast and sharpness

Depth: Martyrs doesn’t strike one has having that much depth, with the exception of a few exterior shots. The majority of the film is kept inside and in enclosed spaces.

Black Levels: Black levels seldom crushed. Compression artifacts were also kept at a minimum.

Color Reproduction: Certain parts of the film are nice and colorful – generally the outside environments – but the palette mutes up a bit once we’re inside the house or an enclosure of some sort. Banding was never a problem.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are nice and natural with bits of patchiness to illustrate injury.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and artifacts were not a problem.

Martyrs

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Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Martyrs has an aggressive demo-worthy soundtrack. It’s predominately a dialogue driven film punctuated with some horror beats. For such a little and self-contained film – they did well on the final mix – the lossless TrueHD track is phenomenal.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer channel went crazy on this Blu-ray. There are plenty of scenes employing low-end bass. Lucie’s shotgun made the house rumble.

Surround Sound Presentation: The depth to the rear channels gave certain scenes a creepy factor of 10. There’s one scene of a person getting shot and from the moment of impact, to the buckshot hit, to the blood splatter – the way it shifted from rear to the front was damn cool.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are fine.

Martyrs

Extras

There is only one special feature included on this Blu-ray and it’s a “first look” featurette that runs for less than 10 minutes. It is presented in high definition.

  • Martyrs: First Look (HD)

 

 

Martyrs

Summary 

To say that the remake of Martyrs would be a waste of time is an understatement. It brings nothing new, fresh or exciting, to the table and that’s unfortunate. The only thing that it has going for it is that it is written by Mark L. Smith (The Revenant) but that doesn’t even matter. The video and audio are terrific but the one self-serving special feature included is not worth the trouble. It’s typical talking heads fluff. Avoid this remake like the plague and go check out the original French flick now!

 

 

 

Martyrs is released on Blu-ray & DVD February 2nd!

ORDER NOW!

Martyrs

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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