Once a month, Kelly dares Jessica to watch a film surrounding the monthly theme. These challenges are meant to scare, or unsettle, Jessica, and broaden her horror horizons.
I had originally chosen Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Night (1995) for Jess to watch, a leftover from March, but, she decided to watch it during black history month (yay!). So, although she shouldn't be punished, I am going to anyways! Let's Scare Jessica to Death has all lead up to this moment: it's time for Jess to watch Martyrs (2008). I think she is ready for it and I think it will deeply affect her. Martyrs is often a transformative experience for first time viewers. Jess: clear your mind, shut off the lights, and prepare for MARTYRS.
Well it finally happened. The movie that I had been building up in my mind since Kelly told me about it so many years ago, the movie that I have read about in Alex West's book Films of the New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity, and listened to podcast episodes about (Faculty of Horror). Over the past few years I have become a fan of New French Extremity and had been building myself up with having seen RAW, Ils (Them), Inside, and Trouble Every Day. I know I have a few more to see, but Martyrs was the film that was high on my list of "can I take it?" -- and I did. I was captivated by this film within the first five minutes of it and did not breathe nor move until the final credits rolled. I just stared at my computer screen trying to process everything I had just seen. I wanted to cry and be held, but at the same time didn't want to be touched at all. I just wanted to stare off thinking about everything I had 'witnessed'. People are right when they say that after watching this movie it "fucks you up", but I would say that it happens in a positive way - it really makes you think about humanity, cruelty, knowledge and our obsession with death and the afterlife. After a night of processing Martyrs, I will say that I loved it. These are the films in the horror genre that ignites my passion for it - these films make me walk away changed and thinking differently. Will I watch it again? Yes, but not right away. Do I recommend it for others to watch? YES! But with the same warning Kelly gave me - you will walk away forever changed.