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French horror hit 'Martyrs' will undergo an American exorcism

November 15, 2010 |  7:10 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Cineastes and hardcore horror fans are already familiar with the French film "Martyrs," Pascal Laugier's dark and violent tale centering on two teenage girls who are not what they appear to be.

Now broader American audiences could become familiar with the movie too.

Producers on the Hollywood remake have just hired a director: Daniel Stamm, the filmmaker behind this summer's horror hit "The Last Exorcism," will shape the film for an English-language audience. (Oh, yes, the movie comes from the producers of "Twilight.")

As most horror-crazy types could tell you, Laugier's 2008 original was a hit in Europe and a cult success here. It tells of Lucie and Anna, orphans who establish a friendship, until one of them inexplicably goes on a murderous rampage to avenge what may or may not have been earlier incidents of child abuse. The movie was well received for not only its stylish tone but its exploration of the themes of guilt and repression.

We'll have more Tuesday from Stamm, one of the horror world's up-and-coming stars (he's also directing the next movie in M. Night Shyamalan's "Night Chronicles"). In the meantime, here's what he has to say about how "Martyrs" can be translated for a new audience.

"Martyrs is very nihilistic," he told 24 Frames. "The American approach [that I'm looking at] would go through all that darkness but then give a glimmer of hope. You don't have to shoot yourself when it's over."

Stamm did dismiss the Internet rumor that Kristen Stewart could be starring in the remake, laughing and quizzically saying that it's "the first time I've heard that."

As for the movie's story, Stamm says that its appeal lies in how it defies expectations.

"Every time you think you know where it's going, it goes somewhere else. It plays on things that are familiar — like two friends who can't be separated, kind of a Forrest Gump and Jenny situation. But then it takes a turn, and in doing so asks interesting quesitons. 'If you have a best friend in the world and she goes crazy, how much do you owe this friend to go down with them?' It's much more than a horror film."

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Pascal Laugier's 'Martyrs." Credit: Canal+.


Comments () | Archives (9)

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"Martyrs is very nihilistic... The American approach [that I'm looking at] would go through all that darkness but then give a glimmer of hope. You don't have to shoot yourself when it's over."

So what exactly will the point of the remake actually be? Having a "glimmer of hope" at the end of the movie would be akin to turning Requiem for a Dream into a comedy.

Wait: "Requiem for a Dream" wasn't a comedy?

Why does Hollywood continually ruin world cinema? Why is there no original thought in tinsel town? Instead of remaking films, why don't they create something original?


This is almost as bad as David Gordon Green declaring that he would remake Suspiria into "some classy shiat" rather than a "low budget Italian gore film".

I wonder if Stamm has seen Martyrs... Green obviously missed Suspiria.

Just like the remake of 'Let The Right One In.' (Which I heard was horrible and I refused to see it). Im a foreign film purist and i absolutely, adamantly REFUSE to see any of the American remakes, as they have this knack and sense of taking away the essence of the original by 'americanizing' it and giving it a happy ending. American films have to keep reiterating that there is a 'light at the end of the tunnel' to make everything OK, which I find insulting and akin to propaganda. :) Then again, I feel that the majority of American film audiences (save for the 5-10% that includes us posters) are not on the same level as European audiences, which is why they have to 'dumb' them down and make them more palatable for American sensibilities. Im shaking my baguette in anger!! :D

Martyrs is one the most hardcore, hard hitting and bleakest horror movies ever made. I have always felt that remaking it is a waste of time as I felt that the American version would soften the blow of this very scarring movie. How right I was. Get soft American producers (the Twilight producers), get a soft director (the guy who did The Last Exorcism) and give the movie hopefull ending. That is the easiest way to screw up a great horror film. If fact, having a "hopeful ending" will defeat the purpose of making this movie in the first place. (Those who have seen the movie will know what I mean)

I agree with what everyone has said so far. This is a crime to this brilliant film. I'm actually very surprised Pascal agreed to sell the rights. Producer from Twilight!?.....Please.

I actually really enjoyed the remake for Let The Right One In. Both LTROI and Let Me In are great films. I'd say Let Me In is a remake that truly Americanizes the film while also doing the original material justice.

Remaking Martyrs with a "glimmer of hope," however, is a gargantuan mistake, and ruins the main point of the film.


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