If there is a single thing that I am known for both here on the Internet, and in person it would have to be my passion for French horror films. While I dig the classics like George Franju’s masterpiece “Eyes Without a Face,” there is still one era that connects with me more; The New French Extremity Movement.
What makes me feel such a strong connection to these series of films? Well, spending a lot of my time in film school writing film theory really caused me to narrow down a certain group of films that I wanted to dig deeper in. I instantly said French Extreme films because of their amazing gender role commentary. These films always had a very strong female protagonist trying to find their role in society, which was often not seen in many other films.
It was fun to sit-down and view a large part of the era to notice the similarities between each film. Of course though this era is mostly remembered for what is known as the “Fab Five,” which consists of five French extreme films: High Tension, Martyrs, Inside, Frontier(S) and Them. (I truly believe that Trouble Everyday should take Them’s place, but it is cool)
When I heard the news that Pascal Laugier’s masterful film Martyrs was getting a remake I instantly became worried. The hunch that I had was that the film was going to change a lot of the important aspects of the original to make it more appealing to an American audience. After viewing the film, I didn’t think that my prediction was going to be this accurate, but WOW!
Filmmakers Kevin and Michael Goetz and screenwriter Mark L. Smith truly changed every aspect of the original that made it such an important and prominent film in the community for eight-years. It totally ruins the film and the themes that made me such a fan of the original. I know that I should be looking at the film with a clear-state of mind, but with remakes it is such a hard thing to do. I don’t want to give away what changes were made, but every time one happened you would hear me say “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD” in my best Chris Farley voice.
Do I think though that the film will connect with new audience members? Sure, but you need to remember your core audience that is forking up the cash to watch it: the hardcore fans. I feel like Smith is giving the middle finger to the fans and saying I am going to do what I want even though it may piss you off. Well, I guess I have one thing to say to you; screw ya…
I have to say though the film is still quite gory with some moments throughout that will make you say narly. I guess this is really one of the lone positives of the film when connecting it back to the original. It just makes me frustrated that they are still able to make the film gory, but they have to change another part because it may offend audience members. If you are going to ruin the film at least ruin it all the way instead of giving it a slight hope of being alright.
Besides that though the film is pretty awful, simply because it got everything wrong that was special about the original. If I could give a word of advice to the executives making the calls today is to listen to what the fans want, and not what the general audience needs.
Only reason why I say this is because when the word-of-mouth gets out about how awful this remake truly is then it is going to spread to the mainstream audience who won’t be forking their cash over like the fans. I know that this is a hard thing to ask, but when films like The Hills Have Eyes get it done right it makes me feel like why can’t others follow.