There’s something a little scarier about these movies!
In 2020, Bong Joon-Ho’s Korean Masterpiece Parasite made history by winning the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, shining a spotlight on what horror fans everywhere already knew – that foreign horror is something special.
From J-Horror to New French Extremity, it seems that horror from outside the western world has a unique way of not only terrifying audiences but also ingraining it in our brains so deeply that no American blockbuster ever quite hits as hard.
The Oscar-winning Parasite follows two families, the Kims and the Parks. The Kim family are in low-paying jobs and living in a basement apartment, whilst the Park family is extremely wealthy and lives in a beautiful modern home. In a bid to earn more money, the Kim family scheme to each get a job working for the Parks - father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) as a chauffeur, mother Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin) as the housekeeper, daughter Ki-jung (Park So-dam) as an art teacher for the Park’s young son, and son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik) as an English tutor for their daughter.
Based on the original 1991 novel by Koji Suzuki, Ringu follows journalist Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) as she mourns the death of her niece. When she discovers that three of her niece's friends also passed away on the same night, she investigates further and is led to a mysterious videotape. Soon she believes she has been afflicted with the same curse that killed her niece. Reiko must decrypt the messages in the tape to find their origin, and save her life.
News reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso) are following a local fire service in Barcelona's they attend a call to an old woman who is trapped in her apartment complex. What starts as a seemingly innocuous incident rapidly escalates when the woman becomes aggressive and attacks one of the officers. Before they know it, Angela, Pablo, and the building residents are quarantined inside with no information and sickness that is spreading rapidly and turning people to mindless killers.
When Laura Garcia Rodriguez (Belen Rueda) returns to the orphanage she grew up in with her husband and her adopted son Simon (Roger Princep), she has big plans to reopen the building as a facility for disabled children. Simon one day tells Laura that he has made a friend – a boy named Tomas (Oscar Casas) who wears a mask made from a sackcloth.
After an argument that results in a shocking confession, Simon goes missing and Laura must look to her own childhood and figures from her past to get him back and figure out the true identity of his seemingly imaginary friend. El Orfanato is a haunting tale that explores the trauma of motherhood, and mistakes made that can never be taken back.
Part of the New French Extremity movement, Martyrs is a grueling psychological thriller that follows Lucie (Mylene Jampanoi) and Anna (Morjana Alaoui), two girls who met in an orphanage as children. Lucie ended up in the orphanage after escaping a family who kept her imprisoned and tortured her for over a year. Fifteen years later, Lucie takes revenge on the family she believes responsible, much to the horror of Anna.
12-year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a regular target for bullies at school, which leads him to spend his free time imagining the ways he might someday get revenge. When he meets his new neighbor Eli (Lina Leandersson), a young girl his age, Oskar finally has a friend who encourages him to stand up for himself. Eli has a secret though, and what seems like a harmless fantasy to Oskar might be more like a violent necessity to Eli.
The Wailing starts off with a trope we have seen many times before – a policeman, Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won), is investigating a series of mysterious deaths in his small village that appear to have been caused by the arrival of a stranger. It appears that the stranger had an infection that causes people to become violent, and there are even reports of people being spotted eating raw meat.
This Danish thriller from Christian Tafdrup follows a family of three – Bjorn (Morten Burian), Louise (Sisdel Siem Koch), and their young daughter Agnes (Liva Forsberg) - as they vacation in Tuscany. There, they meet another family of three – Patrick (Fedja van Huet), Karin (Karina Smulders), and their young son Abel (Marius Damslev) – and immediately hit it off. When Patrick invites Bjorn and his family to go and stay with them in their remote house in the Netherlands a few weeks later, what could possibly go wrong?
When five police officers respond to an urgent call in a local village, they find themselves inadvertently thrown into the closest situation to hell on earth. Despite being warned not to, they enter an abandoned building to find catatonic victims submitting themselves to extreme violence, as well as all manner of horrific visions. Soon, they are fighting for their lives and their sanity.
Shot in reverse order, Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible follows a plot for revenge by friends Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel) for the brutal assault and murder of the woman they love – Alex (Monica Bellucci). The film opens with the two of them entering a nightclub and viciously attacking the man they believe to be responsible. However, as the film plays out, heart-breaking truths are revealed.
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