Martyrs is billed as being "One of the most ferocious horror films ever made" with good reason. It's pretty damned ferocious.
Once you understand how they define a martyr, that being someone who has gone through such an unthinkable amount of pain and suffering that they literally release their souls and see God, you know to expect that a film about making martyrs is going to be downright horrifying.
The story is told primarily in the victim's point of view, although once in a while we get some snippet of useful information when the tormentors chat amongst themselves. The emotions of confusion, haplessness, helplessness, and yes, even rage, are translated beautifully to the screen and it is almost painful to watch what the candidates for martyrdom endure.
The F/X team on this one really pulled out the stops, as did the prop people and set designers. The actors... entirely believable. Overall, I found it to be an amazing, if greatly disturbing, film.
It is a French film with English subtitles. I'm sure that much was lost in translation as the story can be a little confusing through the first hour or so.
However, once things begin to reveal themselves, it comes together nicely. Being a European film, the pacing is very different from standard American horror fare, so it does seem slow, even lagging, at times between the brutal bits. but with a little patience, it's all worthwhile in the end.
This film is most definitely not for the squeamish though.
Film Information: Martyrs