Over the years, filmmakers around the world have mastered the horror genre and produced brilliant and terrifying cinematic experiences for horror junkies who love a good jump scare or enough gore to make them squirm. The horror genre is more popular than ever, and it gives us a safe space to face our darkest fears from the comfort of our own homes (preferably behind a pillow). There’s no doubt that exploring horror on a global scale broadens the genre’s representation and can bring even more joy to horror fans. Here’s just a small sampling of some of the best non-English international horror films.
1998 legendary Japanese horror film Ringu is about a cursed videotape that seems to haunt and kill anyone who watches it. After seeing the grainy tape, a young journalist embarks on a mission to uncover her origins to save herself and anyone who sees her. Ringu was a hugely influential film of its time, based on a 1991 novel by Koji Suzuki, and the adaptation was such a hit that it sparked a wave of sequels. Ringu 2 and 0 were made in Japan, as well as the fantastic American remake, the ringwhich was followed by two sequels, though nothing tops the particularly dark dread of that first film.
Ringuit is The hit popularized J-horror internationally and was a massive box office success, winning an Oscar for Most Popular Film in 1999, as well as director Hideo Nakata picking up four more awards for this debut of a new wave of horror. We can greatly thank Ringu for the popularity of Asian cinema (especially horror) that has grown over the past two decades.
6 The orphanage
This Spanish-language horror classic was released in theaters at the end of 2007 and was the feature debut of Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona. The orphanage follows Laura, who brings her husband and son, Simón, to an old orphanage in hopes of turning it into a home for children with special needs. This film teems with horror and will give you guaranteed chills when, after an argument with Laura, Simón disappears and his search reveals dark and disturbing secrets about the orphanage’s past.
The orphanage is superbly atmospheric but also hugely emotional, as we watch a mother try to save her family from the nightmare she has unwittingly dragged them into. The film was extremely successful and won several Barcelona Film Awards, including Best New Director. It’s part of a big wave of Spanish horror that director and producer Guillermo del Toro helped kick off.
For lovers of supernatural horror, Paco Plaza’s Spanish horror film, Speedwell, is a must-have watch. It was released in 2017 and instantly received amazing and terrified reviews. The film follows a teenage girl who tries to summon spirits with a Ouija board during a solar eclipse with her friends, but in true horror movie fashion, it doesn’t go as planned and she becomes possessed. . It is reported that the film is actually loosely based on true events from the 1991 Vallecas case, where Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro mysteriously died after using a Ouija board.
When Speedwell was first released on Netflix, fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the film, with one saying the film was too scary to finish and warning of the biting experience that followed watching. of the movie. However, despite being terrified, fans were going crazy for the film, and it remains one of the great horror successes of recent years.
Raw is a 2016 French horror film, directed by Julia Ducournau, which follows a young vegetarian girl in her first year of veterinary school. When she tastes meat for the first time, she develops a disturbing and unstoppable craving for flesh.
The film tackles some truly unsettling and disturbing themes and explores the most fundamental aspects of humanity, although it also won critical acclaim for the successful blend of horror and teen drama. Concerning bloodlust, murder, and cannibalism, as well as a story about individuality, identity, and the dangers and consequences of teenage independence, Raw takes it to a new level of psychological and body horror movies, which makes it not only scary but also important. The film was adored by fans, but also drew controversy for its extremely graphic content.
3 Train to Busan
Horror fans will know that there have been countless brilliant zombie movies over time, although the Korean zombie movie Train to Busan, directed by Yeon Sand-ho, broke viewing records in 2016 and undoubtedly created another truly horrifying take on the genre. On a fast-moving train, a zombie apocalypse erupts in the city beyond, threatening the safety of passengers as they try to survive and worry about their next stop.
The film became a huge hit and collected a total of $98.5 million at the worldwide box office, becoming the highest-grossing Korean film of the year. The direction and cinematography also received positive reviews from viewers for its truly terrifying claustrophobic sequences and white-knuckle tension. Train to Busan deserved all the praise it received, and an American remake of the now classic zombie film has been confirmed, titled The last train to New York.
2 The Devil’s Backbone
2001 Spanish horror film The Devil’s Backbone, by the aforementioned Guillermo del Toro, is set during the Civil War and follows 12-year-old Carlos, who, after the execution of his father, is sent to an orphanage. As he makes a horrific discovery, Carlos uncovers a series of tragic secrets about the school.
As Carlos grapples with the supernatural terror before him as well as his nation’s civil unrest, the film surrounding it becomes extremely unsettling and was one of the first great horror films of this new century. Now, The Devil’s Backbone is considered a classic ghost story, which has aged well and still remains Guillermo del Toro’s best horror film.
Directed by Can Evrenol, Baskin is a 2015 Turkish horror film centering on a group of police officers as they respond to a late night call and unwittingly wander through hell. They find themselves in a place where they are condemned and punished for their sins in this twisted and disturbing tale with an intentionally disorienting narrative that allows the viewer no sense of reality as they are drawn into the horror.
With terrifying scenes of sadistic torture and bloody images, Baskin is a gross delight for horror fans and certainly not for those who are gross. The film excels in ways that are both extremely obscure and downright grotesque, and has won several awards at several festivals. It unfairly remains one of the least popular international horror films, but it’s a masterpiece for anyone in search of crazy nightmares.
Another in a seemingly endless lineup of excellent South Korean shows on Netflix, The Silent Sea intensely captures current anxieties.
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