Martyr’s Lane has all the makings of a truly creepy and terrifying horror flick, however, it takes a bit too long to get there.
Martyr’s Lane is an interesting horror movie that has all of the makings for a really good and creepy movie, but unfortunately has a very slow build up, to a decent twist of an ending. Due to the pacing issues, this movie might be a struggle to watch. However, if you enjoy dramas with a bit of horror flare, this one might be for you.
In this movie young Leah is doing everything that she can to get closer to her mother, who is distant and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming. She has clearly been through some kind of trauma that is pieced together throughout the movie. Leah becomes friends with another young girl who happens to be a ghost. The visits are frequent and she helps her with the mystery of why her mother is the way she is.
What Works With Martyr’s Lane
Personally, any horror movie with children in it is terrifying to me. Put some creepy kids in there and I will be hiding under the covers as I watch it. This movie has one creepy ghost child, and one semi creepy alive child, checking off that box. The musical score helps to create that same ambiance, and is a welcome addition to the film.
There are several jump scares, which are a great way to keep viewers interested as the story itself could possibly put them to sleep. It isn’t that the plot is not interesting, it is more that it is a very slow build up to something captivating enough. That said, the ending is phenomenal and the last thirty minutes or so are very edge of your seat thriller-esque.
Kiera Thompson, who plays Leah, does a great job with what she is given, and really carries the movie on her shoulders for the most part. Her chemistry with Sienna Sayer, the little ghost girl, helps to bring their moments together to life.
What Doesn’t Work With Martyr’s Lane
As I said above, this movie drags quite a bit. It is only an hour and a half, so perhaps it would have been better as a short film. Everything that happens comes together in the end, which was the point of what felt like very slow moments, however, there were just too many of them with glimpses of a captivating story few and far between.
While not at the top of my list of horror flicks, Martyr’s Lane is a still a very intriguing watch. The final few moments really make up for the slowness of the movie, when everything is revealed. This movie is, however, more drama than horror, so if you are going into it looking for something truly terrifying, you will be disappointed. It might also be triggering for anyone who has lost a child, as the dead girl does get more detailed as the movie goes on.
About Martyr’s Lane
Young Leah (Kiera Thompson) lives in a vicarage with her family. It’s a busy environment during the days, buzzing with people and activity. At night, it becomes an entirely other place. Dimly lit, deathly quiet, empty, large spaces filled with melancholic energies.
Every now and then, Leah’s awoken by her mother’s screams, echoes of unspoken traumas that continue to breathe inside her. Leah’s been trying to connect with her better, but she knows that something unnameable stands between them.
One night, a spectral child (Sienna Sayer) appears at her window. Fragile, inquisitive, bearing feathered wings on her back. They form a friendship and the visits become regular. A game is initiated, where Leah is given a nightly task, each bringing new layers of perilous understanding. Of herself, of her mother, and of the dark things that separate them.
Martyr’s Lane is playing at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Hollywood Critics Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.