Hello fellow horror fans!
My name's Tony, and I'm here to appeal to a specific group of movie-goers with whom I am quite familiar. But before I get into that, let me show you something badass.
DAMN! She likes her murderers EXTRA well done!
If you haven't seen Inside (2007) and fountains of gore are your thing, you NEED to check out this French gem! Inside is arguably the best of the French Extreme movement from the mid-to-late 2000's! Now, as I write this, I know there will be two types of people who read it. The first type will see that crazy flamethrower scene and gush over it for a minute before thinking, "Holy shit! I NEED to see this wacky gore-fest NOW!" They'll go to their local movie store, (I'm not the only one who still rents movies, right?!) grab the unrated copy, and go for a roller-coaster ride of brutality for 90 awesome minutes.
Then there's the second type. They'll also love what they're seeing, but something will jump out at them. Specifically, the word French. To these horror lovers, the very thought of having to read subtitles while watching a flick makes them shudder. A feeling of dread washes over them as they wonder how bad the dubs will be this time around. I can see where you're coming from, ladies and gents. I used to be like you too, braving the deadly, often laughable dubbed versions of otherwise amazing movies and wishing there was just some way for the real acting to shine through. That's not to say some dubs aren't great in a so-good-it's-bad kind of way, but let's face facts here. There's just something off about watching an actor's lips move out of sync with their screams (uh, I mean dialogue). In the process of changing to an anglicized voice, the characters in a film lose part of their natural charm. You're no longer watching an actor giving their body and soul to a project; you're now witnessing a divorce of spirit from body. Welcome to the world of dubs, friend. Population: You.
In some cases, horror fans will even shy away form foreign flicks entirely just to avoid the scourge of terrible voice-overs, and this is the worst thing for a blossoming love: to limit your horizons. Without further ado, please allow me to make a case for subtitles and why those Type 2's should make the switch. Instead of breaking out recently-Google'd facts about the benefits of literacy (Obviously you're literate, or you wouldn't be reading this post!), I'm going to present you with 5 foreign films you NEED to watch with subtitles.
#1: Battle Royale (2000)
If you haven't heard of this Japanese action attack on the senses, drop EVERYTHING and go watch it! Battle Royale is Kinji Fukasaku's adaptation of a novel about a dystopian society where the Japanese government kidnaps a class of middle-school students and puts them on an island where they have 3 days to slice, dice, shoot, and stab each other to death until only one student is left. If they try to escape, or if more than one student is alive at the end of the time limit, explosive bomb collars around their necks will blast 'em into oblivion!
This movie ROCKS because it has the perfect mix of great cinematography, an awesome premise, and TONS of brutal violence! It stars the legendary Beat Takeshi (Outrage, Kikujiro, Takeshi's Castle) and numerous young actors, including Chiaki Kuriyama (Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill)! But what really makes the movie is the fantastic acting from all the cast members. I've seen this one about ten million times, and I've only watched the dubbed version once. This is the perfect example of a great flick being severely dampened by poor voice-overs. Battle Royale will rattle your core, but only if you get the FULL performance, including the original voices.
#2: I Saw The Devil (2010)
We now venture to Korea for I Saw The Devil, director Jee-woon Kim's tale of one man's quest for dark and bloody revenge against the serial murderer who decapitated his pregnant wife. This is my go-to film when I need an example of believable acting, awesome writing, and cringe worthy violence. Byung-hun Lee stars as Secret Agent Soo-Hyeon Kim, pitted against the well-versed and menacing killer, Kyung-chul, played by Min-sik Choi (the lead actor in Oldboy) as they engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. The brutality of the film is offset by the emotional precision brought forward by Lee and his cohorts. As often as you feel your spine tingle from the barbarity, you'll also feel your heart ache for Agent Kim as he deals with the loss of his wife in a way which can only be described as twisted, yet almost just. The original acting is outstanding, so don't squander it with subtitles!
#3: Frontier(s) (2007)
Speaking of brutality, who ordered an extra helping of gore? If you love it as much as I do, Frontier(s) is the movie for you! This is another entry in the French Extreme Movement of the 2000's, and it's basically a sadistic thrill-ride from the perspective of a group of fugitives who are taken hostage and torn apart by Neo-Nazis on their farm. One of the better slashers to come from France, and certainly an achievement in kinetic horror film-making from director Xavier Gens. The whole flick is awesome, but the table saw scene in particular has to be my favorite overall moment. Never piss off a French woman in chains, man. I'm going to stop saying "NO SUBTITLES" at the bottom of each movie. You get the idea. Now kick back and see the marvels I have left for you!
#4: Martyrs (2008)
There are SO MANY awesome French flicks!!! Et je ne parle même pas français (And I don't even speak French)!! If you've seen this, you know it's one of the most fucked up movies out there. Your limits will be tested with this movie. This movie is the poster child of extreme modern horror for a reason. The effects are wicked, there's blood and guts for days, and the story is oh so diabolical. A must-see for all self-respecting fans of the truly depraved. Director Pascal Laugier brings forth brutal vengeance, mysteries of the great beyond, and violence beyond recognition. Don't forget your barf bag, folks.
#5: Inside (2007)
How could I possibly neglect to mention the first movie I referenced?! Inside is a pregnant woman's nightmare brought to horrific fruition. A young woman (played by Alysson Paradis) who recently lost her husband in a car accident and is nine months pregnant is the victim of a terrifying home invasion by a woman (Béatrice Dalle) who wants to take her child with a giant pair of steel scissors. The bloodbath begins as the woman in black (No, not THAT one!) starts wrecking shop, killing all the people who try to save the poor pregnant girl until only she can save herself. OR CAN SHE?!! There's only one way to find out, ladies and gentlemen, and that's to watch the damn movie! PLEASE watch it in the original audio! The English voice just doesn't convey the pure terror on the screen like the native tongues of the actors themselves! Also just watch the film because the ending is probably the most shocking of any film I've seen in the last few years. Let's just say most of the house just got a new paint job. The color? A sanguine crimson.
Okay, that's the end of my soapbox rant in favor of subtitles, but I seriously hope you Type 2's consider what I've shown you and give them a try! You wouldn't murder teenagers with a faulty kitchen knife, would you?! DON'T watch your movies with faulty voices.