Harrowing due to the subversion of genre expectations. Laugier is as concerned with the victims as he is with the violence. "Martyrs" doesn't set out to make you cringe -- it wants you to truly feel loss; the mental, physical and spiritual obliteration of a sympathetic being. The empathy unsettles, not the cruelty. Successfully provocative and powerful on those grounds in a way the likes of Haneke can honestly envy.