Some of you have been asking what happened to Reasonable Remakes this week, but do not worry! The column is not gone, in fact it is more alive than ever, we just wanted to give you something special this week. You see, recently it came to our intention that certain people in Hollywood think remaking the cult horror film Martyrs is a good idea. Columnist Justin Proper (and the rest of the sane people of Earth, we hope) disagrees.
Please enjoy this special one-off edition of Reasonable Remakes and be sure to return next week for more informed ideas on how we can better our cinematic past!
This has prevented me from delivering a proper Reasonable Remake for the week. What I have instead is a column about a movie that absolutely should not be remade, but at this rate will be: Martyrs. I’ll tell you right now that this will have lots of spoilers for the original film (that you should see). If you don’t want the movie’s twists ruined for you then skip ahead to the comment section and just let me know how awesome I am. Otherwise please enjoy this special Unreasonable Remake edition of Reasonable Remakes.
Remaking foreign films for American audiences is a staple for Hollywood studios. They sit in their golden towers and say to each other “Ha ha! Why bother paying someone to write us a new and original story when we can just rip off this guy’s work? It’s not like anyone in America saw it anyways, they wont read subtitles!”. Maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but the bottom line is foreign movies have a better chance of getting remade than getting real exposure in the states. Sometimes the result is a film that is amazing in it’s own right (The Magnificent Seven, The Departed), but most of the time the result is a less than stellar film that seems to have entirely missed the point of the original.
Following in the trend Hollywood has recently decided to take an amazing movie that has an extremely unsettling story and remake it, and the results are going to be disastrous. This movie is Martyrs and remaking it is completely unreasonable.
Martyrs is a 2008 film from Canada. I don’t want to call it a horror so much as a psychological thriller (there’s lots of gore, but that doesn’t mean it should be called strictly a horror film). The film is about a pair of girls, Lucie and Anna, that were abused as children coming back for revenge on their captors years later. This sounds like your average torture/revenge movie, but that is only the first act of the film. After they take care of their captors (and their family) with a shotgun the movie really starts. Shortly after the massacre at the house Lucie is attacked by a grotesque creature and has her back flayed with a knife. Eventually everyone realizes that the creature is just in the Lucie’s head, and she goes crazy and kills herself (a pretty sane reaction all things considering). The Anna then discovers that there is a woman being tortured in the basement of the house, and she tries to help the disfigured and mentally scarred woman recover. As with her friend though, this woman decides that it would be better for her if she was dead, so she tries to kill herself.
I said “tries” because some people bust in to the house and blow her head off with a shotgun, then take Anna hostage. They explain to Anna that they are a cult that tries to produce “martyrs” (get it?) out of women by torturing them until they give up on life and become a witness to the afterlife so they can then tell the cultists what the next world is like. So far though they fail all the time, just creating “victims”. The cultists take Anna to their torture-torium and proceed to torture her until she’s pretty well tortured. After deciding that Anna is pretty good at being tortured the cult takes it to the next level and skins her alive. This causes Anna to reach a transcendent state, and allows her to see in to the afterlife. She tells the leader of the cult what she saw, and then the cult leader kills herself (this seems to be a recurring theme). That’s it. Roll credits.
Martyrs is a movie that makes you think. It’s not just some mindless gore-fest torture porn flick, it’s really psychological and makes you actually feel feelings. It’s extremely unsettling and the reason it works so well is because it doesn’t have that Hollywood hopeful ending. But, as usual, Hollywood sees it as an opportunity to make a quick buck, and will ruin any artistic integrity Martyrs had in the process. How do I know they’ll ruin it? It’s being made by the studio that brought you the Twilight films. Not only that, the producer wants Kristen “weird face” Stewart to star. The director hates this idea, but that really doesn’t matter because the producer has final say. I’m not saying Kristen Stewart is a terrible actress (ok, I’m saying that a little bit) because she’s ok in certain situations (Adventureland). Martyrs is not one of those situations, however. We’ve seen Stewart try to play an emotionally distraught character, will pretty awkward and dull results.
Even if somehow K-Stew doesn’t end up starring the Martyrs remake is doomed to suck because the director said he wants it to end with a glimmer of hope. Martyrs can’t end with hope. The whole point of the movie is the loss of hope. There’s so much suicide and torture in the original that hope watched it, then killed itself. Not only that, but I really don’t think American audiences with sit through a movie that depicts kids getting killed with a shotgun, multiple women severely beaten and tortured, or a girl completely skinned alive. I’m guessing that Lucie wont kill herself, they wont find the tortured woman in the basement, and Anna will escape the cultists. This undoes everything the original built and completely destroys Martyrs.
Justin Proper will be spending the next few days digging his secret lair out from under 18 feet of snow. You can follow him on Twitter here.