The Horror Honeys: Foreign films that don't suck...

Foreign films that don't suck...

A Supernatural Honey list by Suzanne

For the last few weeks, I've been discussing Spanish films, mostly bad ones, followed up by what is essentially, a love letter to Pan's Labyrinth. This week, I'd really like to touch on some of my favorite foreign language films. I would assume that hardcore horror fans are familiar with these, but just in case you don't seek out subtitles, here is a group of films I strongly suggest you become familiar with.

Japan - Audition (Ôdishon - 1999) If you think dating is hard and, let's face it, it is, you'll think twice about signing up for eHarmony after watching this. 

A widower holds an audition to find a new wife. He meets a beautiful girl who is not quite what she seems. Obsession and revenge are the driving forces here as Asmai, played by the stunning Eihi Shiina, takes her anger out on those who have wronged her.  

Finding out what Asami has done to her former tormentors is bad enough, but when she drugs and tortures Aoyama, if you don't have to watch through splayed fingers, you're a better person than I.

Directed by Japanese horror master Takeshi Miike, Audition reaches the pinnacle of brutality and torture. It's also heartbreaking and beautiful to look at.

France - Inside (À l'intérieur - 2007) Another widowed character, Sarah, on the verge of giving birth, is isolated at her home on Christmas Eve. A mysterious woman shows up, trying to gain entry to the house. What ensues is a roller coaster ride of terror as the woman attempts to steal the baby from Sarah's womb.

Inside is not only brutal and bloody, it's also psychologically terrifying. I've never had any kids, nor do I have any interest, but I know how fierce that maternal bond can be. The idea that a stranger would try and take away the one thing you have left, in your own home, is terrifying.

Everyone has such a hard on for Martyrs, but for my French fix, I'll take Inside any day. You will never look at scissors the same way again.

Sweden - Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in - 2008) Oskar, a lonely boy, living with his mom, bullied at school, dreams of one day exacting revenge. He meets Eli, also lonely, but for a different reason. Eli is a vampire. 

The relationship that develops between them is innocent and beautiful. They fulfill each other's needs, protecting one another. Oskar gets his revenge through Eli and Eli finally gets the comfort and understanding she needs with Oskar.

The one issue I have with this movie is that they don't really flesh out Eli's backstory, since Eli isn't actually a girl. This is something that, unless you've read the book, you don't really get from the story.

Korea - I Saw the Devil (Akmareul boatda - 2010) A serial killer, who murders for human flesh, kills the daughter of a former cop. Her fiancé, a secret agent, vows to find him and get revenge for his girl and their unborn child.

I saw this film at a screening just before it came out and it scared the shit out of me. It's part crime drama, part thriller and all the horrors. 

As with most Asian horror, the graphic violence and gore is very much in your face. While I don't think I've seen many films more brutal, it doesn't feel like it's just for shock value. 

Spain - The Devil's Backbone (El espinazo del diablo - 2001) After Carlos' father dies in the Spanish Civil War, he is left in an orphanage. He quickly discovers the orphanage is haunted. While he tries to uncover the origin of the haunting, he finds he has more to fear from the living than the dead.

If you read my piece on Pan's Labyrinth, I don't have to reiterate my love for Guillermo del Toro. This was my introduction to his work and it's a movie I never tire of watching. I get all the feels while watching this film and it's genuinely creepy and unsettling.

While this list isn't necessarily in any order of relevance, this movie would be number one. Not only on this list, but of my all-time favorite films, where it reigns in my top 5.

Honorable mentions go to The Orphange (2007), Battle Royale (2000), Suicide Club (2001), Them (2006)