Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Martyrs and Ten Dead Men stuff...

...the two aren't connected.

Been too busy to write up another Cannes diary this week, but I will get there by next year, I promise.

If anyone is a member of LoveFilm and has seen Ten Dead Men we could really do with some reviews on there. As always, you don't have to like the film, please be honest. It's just at the moment we only have one poor and badly written review and it would be nice to get some balance.

Aside from LoveFilm, we're doing okay for customer reviews. On Amazon they're 100% positive (so to be fair I should be asking people to go on Amazon and give us some bad reviews), and Play and IMDB are pretty balanced now. It's given me a pretty good idea of how the film splits audiences into groups.

Group 1 are the people who aren't used to seeing low budget films and get inexplicably angry at people who even try to make films when they don't have billions of dollars. I'd say this accounts for about 50% of the audience.

Group 2 are the people who don't mind that it's low budget, enjoy the action but are put off by the voice-over and structure - there's a lesson here but it's a lesson I choose not to take on board. I'm still glad we attempted something a bit different with the film and I'm not sure I'd be able to live with myself if I had written some kind of sweary cockney rant as a few people have suggested.

Group 3 are the people who get on board with the whole thing and do seems to genuinely enjoy it - I'd say stages 2 and 3 account for 25% each.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the response and with how well the film has been doing. I do finally feel like the whole process is finished now, which is both a relief and a bit strange as it has been such a huge part of my life for the last three years. Even when I wasn't working on it (which I haven't been for most of the time I've been writing this blog), it was still there in the background and I was still talking about it. I guess that's what I'm missing really and what I'm looking for - something else to talk about.So I'm going to talk about films I've seen instead.

So last week I finally got around to watching Martyrs, another film from the French new wave that includes Inside, Switchblade Romance and Frontière(s) (all of which I blogged about here). I had high expectations, although most of the things I had heard about the film were to do with how extreme the violence in the film was rather than the film itself. I'd heard of hardened horror fans not being able to watch and in some cases even fainting. I don't know what this says about me, but I didn't find the violence too bad. Two disclaimers here 1) I was watching in the comfort of my own home and although I tried to recreate the effect I can see that watching something like this in a cinema where you can't turn away or take a break is very different and 2) when I say it wasn't that bad I really mean I thought the violence in Inside was for me much harder to take, but it's still about ten times more brutal that most mainstream horror films. And to be honest there was a point about an hour in when I knew the next half hour was going to be really unpleasant, but at least watching at home I could see from the DVD player display that it was only going to be another half an hour.

But that's not the point - I'm not a hardcore gore fan particularly and I don't want to put people off. What's great about Martyrs, just like the other French films I've mentioned, is that it is quite simply an amazing film. It film looks great, the performances are flawless and most of all the script and structure are almost groundbreaking. Martyrs does a great job of turning a corner whenever you think you know what it is or where it's going. They're not plot twists exactly, just abrupt turns or sidesteps that fit perfectly within the story. The characters have a depth to them that becomes important in the story itself - a story that deals with religion and faith and how we deal with suffering. And that's what's ultimately so refereshing about it - it's a horror film about something. When you're watching annoying pretty people getting picked off by CGI in PG-rated modern 'horror' it's easy to forget that horror can occasionally be a proper genre.

It's also properly scary in places - to the point where I really didn't want to turn any of the lights out afterwards. Here's the trailer, but if you're interested I advise just going out and getting it. Although preferably not from HMV as it's just below us in the charts at the moment!


Anonymous said...

The people of group one intrigue me. I find their reactions in explicable and familiar. We had the same reaction to the Dead By Dawn show ie. how dare you do this sort of thing on stage? And that was from colleagues.

Chris Regan said...

I don't really get it, but I see it everywhere, especially on the net. We got off lightly - look at the reactions to some of Uwe Boll's films. People seem to feel that you're somehow violating their rights by making something that isn't exactly what they personally want. I believe art should make people angry sometimes, but not for that reason.