What comes after death? To answer this question was mainly the goal of what seemed like a cult that took girls from their homes, locked them in a basement and tortured them. Martyrs, out of all the films I have watched so far, is the most horrifying film I have ever seen. This torture horror made it feel all too real. It was too dark and too disturbing that sitting through the film made me feel like I needed a shower after. Every single scene made my skin crawl and made me sick to my stomach. It is a film that is definitely difficult to watch. The hopeless and nihilistic tone of the film discourages the viewers to enjoy its painful scenes. It is gory and shocking but, honestly speaking, it is also not easy to look away.
As a viewer, it was not hard to identify with Anna who appears to be the only compassionate character in the film – like Anna, you just wanted to stop the brutality. Because the film successfully conveys to the audience the pain that each of the characters feel in the film, we, as the audience find ourselves wincing for the tortured girls. In this film where it is generally filled with torture, savagery and horror, there is now a shock from the moment when an act of tenderness, or an offer of a kind human contact is shown. With the film mainly dominated by brutal scenes, the rare incident of caring for in the film surprises the viewers, which is rather sad and disturbing.
What is horrific and terrifying in this film is not the mere act of torture towards innocent girls, but the torturers belief that what they are doing is right – that they are merely experimenters who are bound to uncovering something extremely wonderful. And as viewers, we also find ourselves desperate to know what the torturers will uncover. At the same time, it is horrifying because the events, although horrible, are taken and portrayed into an utterly believable extremes. Even though we find the film difficult and too painful to watch, there is some sort of an act of enduring sitting through it and suffering as we watch it to satisfy our curiosity as to what exactly is it that the Martyrs see after death. Though we pity, and feel for the tortured, we cannot deny that we, ourselves, also want to know the answer, to which we find ourselves frustrated after the ending did not really reveal anything as to what the Martyr saw.