Foreign Horror is oftentimes intimidating, but can be well worth it if you can find a good place to start. Here are some of the best Foreign Horrors you can watch.
Honorable Mentions: Under the Shadow (Iran), The Host (South Korea), I Saw the Devil (South Korea), Martyrs (France)
10. Audition (1999)
A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all. Directed by Takashi Miike and set in Japan, Audition paints a beautiful picture … only to shred it to pieces in incredibly violent fashion. A happyish beginning is swiftly followed by a heartbreaking tale of what true love really means.
9. Funny Games (1997)
Two violent young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic “games” with one another for their own amusement. Directed by Michael Haneke and set in Austria, Funny Games puts the fun in a family vacation! A true reminder that sometimes the most horrifying things can come from within a safe environment.
8. Battle Royale (2000)
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku and set in Japan, this survival movie adds a disheartening twist to the genre, through the use of children. A wide range of performances gives Battle Royale an incredibly bleak outlook on humanity and a true test of the human spirit.
7. Housebound (2014)
A young woman is forced to return to her childhood home after being placed under house arrest, where she suspects that something evil may be lurking. Directed by Gerard Johnstone and set in New Zealand, Housebound nicely contrasts a clear and present danger with the dangers that lurk deep within ones mind. Plus the cover art is a thing of beauty.
6. [REC] (2007)
A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying. Directed by Jaume Balaguero and set in Spain, [REC] came on the early stages of the recent found footage craze and does a great job of spiraling into an out of control nightmare. Many have heard of / seen Quarantine, which is the shot-for-shot remake of [REC], so if you enjoyed that one then you’d enjoy the original just as much.
5. Dead Snow (2009)
A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies. Directed by Tommy Wirkola and set in Norway, Dead Snow is a ridiculous, silly, nazi zombie slashing goof-fest that provides a breath of comedic air to any fan of the genre. If you saw nazi zombies and are still reading, this is clearly a movie for you.
4. The Wailing (2016)
A stranger arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter. Directed by Hong-jin Na and set in South Korea, The Wailing was one of the many hit movies to come out in 2016 (and frankly was a bit swept under the rug by all of th other fantastic films). A strong lead performance leaves you on the edge of your seat until the films conclusion, in which point you’re left wanting more.
3. El Orfanato (The Orphanage) (2007)
A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend. Directed by J.A. Bayona and set in Spain, The Orphange is a sad story full of mystery, abuse, and one of the scariest children you’ll every lay your eyes on. It also involves a childhood game that, when played alone in the dark, provides a whole new experience.
2. Let the Right One In (2009)
Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl. Directed by Tomas Alfredson and set in Sweden, Let the Right One In is a beautifully crafted tale of love, independence, and coming of age. The story is told through two brilliant leads – Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, and follows the moral dilemma of a child giving their trust to someone that cares about them. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and a must watch for any fan of the genre.
1. Train to Busan (2016)
While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan. Directed by Sang-ho Yeon and set in South Korea, TtB marks the second (!) South Korean Horror from 2016 on this list. The strongest point of this movie comes from its character development, and ability to portray a wide array of emotions – all the while taking place on a train. An unexpected villain arises and instantly becomes one of the most detestable and frustrating people in any horror movie. This is a must watch, drop everything your doing now and turn it on, kind of movie.