Alexander Boucher’s review published on Letterboxd :
Blimey. And I thought my 31 days of horror challenge would be fun!
I'm really not a fan of modern gore movies - if i'm going to watch one it has to be old, goofy and not legitimately horrible. And Martyrs is different to the standard torture film, in that it's self aware and clearly trying to make a point.
But listen. There are only so many films I can take made by men that attempt to illustrate misogyny by being, erm, pretty bloody misogynistic. I get what this film is trying to say, but a woman being tortured for an hour is still a woman being tortured for an hour - I don't really care if there's some dude on the other side of the camera inhaling deeply and whispering "ahh.....cinema".
This film will beat you down with its brutality, but I find it too bleak and too damn nihilistic to take home much from it. Whatever point its trying to make is overshadowed by its own morbid nastiness. It may be well put together, and there are some moments that leave us to reflect just why we watch these movies in the first place, but I can't help but find this all just a bit glib. I'm all for horror movies with messages, and in fact a lot of my favourite horrors do interestingly discuss attitudes towards gender (THE VVITCH YOU KNOW I'M TALKIN BOUT YOU). But Martyrs is muddied by brutality to the point where all I know is that i'm done watching movies like this and would much rather some nice spooky ghost stories with the rest of my month. I don't need another male director torturing women to make his movie look deep.