Being a horror fan since the age of 8, I have watched countless American horror films, with only a portion of them standing out in terms of plot, characters, suspense or gore. I feel as though American horror seems to continually go down the route of rehashed storylines and remakes of classics, which is why I have touted my love of foreign horror. From The Devil’s Backbone, Shaun of the Dead, The Babadook and the amazing [REC] franchise, foreign horror is where it’s at!
There is an abundance of foreign horror to enjoy and it’s great to see it continue to grow in popularity. It is now becoming a better alternative to the same old, same old we horror fans are used to seeing. So, I wanted to highlight some in particular that I really enjoyed! Now, by no means is this a complete list, but rather just some nods to great horror that always deserves a recommendation.
1. The Loved Ones (2009)
The Loved Ones is a tale of Brent, who deals with a family tragedy, by getting high and checking out. But, when a fellow classmate, Lola, asks him to the dance, to which he declines, Brent soon learns that turning down a girl can be a tortuous experience.
Although I was late to the party, so to speak, with this film, I really enjoyed the nice twists and turns I didn’t see coming, which are always great moments in horror. There is a feeling of uneasiness, which adds to the intrigue. Even with Lola being completely sinister and evil throughout this film, you still feel a shred of sympathy for her. Trust me when I say you will not want to turn down this trip to the prom because watching Lola and her diabolical plan to make Brent her prom date does make it a night to remember!
2. The Reef (2010)
When a group of friends charter a boat on vacation, they assume it will be good times on the open sea. But, when their boat starts to sink, they are forced to make a decision: stay with the sinking ship or try and swim for help. With part of the group deciding to take their chances on swimming to safety, they soon realizes it won’t be a smooth journey when they end up being stalked by a great white shark.
I’m a sucker for a creature feature, a bigger sucker for a creature feature in the water, and an even bigger sucker for a creature feature with a shark! I ended up watching this on Netflix and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The directing is great and the acting is solid. The Reef was filmed in 5 weeks with the use of real sharks with no CGI and that makes all the difference.
Because of this, The Reef lends itself to a great level of suspense that seems to be missing in a lot of shark-based movies. There is constant fear from the characters, and as a viewer you feel it with them. The combination of suspense and the fact it’s based on a true story makes this another great example of why you should stay out of the water.
3. Frontier(s) (2007)
French thieves running from a robbery stumble upon an inn where they hope to seek refuge. But what they get is caught up in a twisted and bloody cat and mouse game of survival. Part of 8 Films to Die For, Frontier(s) is a French macabre film with underlining notations of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
At times paired with fellow French film Martyrs, Frontier(s) plays more into political issues of the characters being French Arab facing Neo Nazis. The blood, guts and gore are present and unflinching in the delivery. Much like [REC], Frontier(s) really benefits from its subtitles, which add a compounding suspense to the film. I really wasn’t sure what type of movie I was be getting into, but what I got was a well-crafted and unnerving film that will always remain on my list of best foreign horror.
4. Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014)
Rarely do sequels ever live up to the original, let alone surpass it, but this did just that! Picking up where the original left off finds Martin recovering in a hospital from killing his girlfriend and chainsawing off his own arm. Upon waking in his hospital bed, he finds one arm handcuffed to the bed and other arm, well it’s been reattached, but it’s not the standard issue arm; in fact, it’s Colonel Herzog’s arm, and the diabolical leader would like it back! Armed (yes, pun intended) with the knowledge he is the prime suspect for all the bloodshed, Martin escapes, knowing the Nazi Zombies will be after him. The best way to describe this flick is gruesome fun!
Most sequels water down from the original and you end up with a flat sequel. But, Dead Snow 2 infused its sequel with Nos and let it go. The gore, characters and situations are amped to the highest degrees and, unlike the original, this sequel forgoes the subtitles, which doesn’t limit anyone from watching this flick. A great element to this sequel is that Martin doesn’t fight alone and enlists the help of a rag tag bunch of misfits to help end the Nazi zombies once and for all. This dynamic adds some memorable scenes and great comic relief. I will say that the epic clash of Martin vs. Nazi zombies is a balls out gorefest that will put a smile on any horror fan’s face.
5. Black Water (2007)
It’s the tale of a young husband, wife and her sister who take a Blackwater Barry Tour through the Mangrove swamps. During this idyllic trip, the trio are attacked and later stalked by a crocodile.
Based on a true story, this Australian creature feature takes the viewers on a hellish journey of survival. As I stated before, I am a sucker for a creature feature, and one that takes place in the water is right up my alley; so I had high hopes for this film and it didn’t disappoint. It stays on point and delivers suspense and action throughout. The special effects are well crafted and really add to the overall viewing experience.
Although rarely listed on great creature feature lists, Black Water deserves its place on one.
6. Troll Hunter (2010)
Just based off the title alone, it could steer some people away, and that is understandable. Even I wasn’t to keen on seeing this one, but I had a friend send me a copy raving about it, so I figured I would live dangerously and give it a view, and I’m really glad I did! Although found footage continues to saturate the horror genre, every once in awhile you get one that is worth noticing and Troll Hunter is just that film! This 2010 Norwegian gem follows a group of filmmakers who are investigating a rash of bear attacks when they come across a hunter who claims to be an actual troll hunter.
The group, thinking this hunter is utterly mad, decide to follow him on his hunting adventures and get the shock of their lives. Following the typical layout of a found footage-style film, what makes Troll Hunter different is its use of entertaining characters and monster story telling with a twist. The one aspect that truly sets it apart from other films in this subgenre is the special effects. I was expecting the off camera action and slight views of creatures that you normally find, but Troll Hunter gives you full on creature feature action and the effects are top notch.
This is a well-rounded fun film and although it is subtitled, do not let that steer you away, because the subtitles make it even more fun of a hunt.
Written by EvilQueenB
If you want more bloody updates, horrorble news and to connect with industry professionals & fans, become a London Horror Society member today for FREE!