10 Foreign Horror Movies That Deserve More Recognition
Looking for something different to give you the creeps? These foreign horror films are really worth your time.
Are you tired of the same old scares from Hollywood? Well, you might want to give foreign cinema a try. These foreign horror gems might not have had the spotlight they deserve, but they're sure to leave an impression.
The Orphanage (2007) — Spain
Brought to us by Spanish director J.A. Bayona, The Orphanage combines traditional ghost story elements with deep emotional undertones. The story follows a woman who returns to her childhood orphanage, only to find her son communicating with an invisible new friend.
This movie serves up a gripping story that is packed with suspense and some seriously creepy stuff. What makes it truly awesome is how it manages to balance scares with a touching storyline.
Let the Right One In (2008) — Sweden
This Swedish masterpiece by Tomas Alfredson redefines the vampire genre. Let the Right One In is set in the snowy suburbs of Stockholm and tells the tale of a lonely boy who befriends a vampire child.
It's a horror film, yes, but it's also a heartbreaking story of friendship and love. The film effortlessly combines elements of horror, romance, and drama.
The Host (2006) — South-Korea
Ever heard of Parasite? Well, the same genius, Bong Joon-ho, directed The Host. This movie kicks off with a massive creature snatching a little girl in Seoul. The beast emerges from the Han River, causing chaos, and her family goes on a risky mission to save her.
The Host is a fantastic example of how South Korea is shaking up the horror genre.
Cronos (1993) — Mexico
No list of foreign horror movies would be complete without Cronos, a classic from Mexico by none other than Guillermo del Toro. Cronos is Del Toro's debut and a unique spin on vampire lore. The protagonist, Jesús, discovers a bizarre mechanical object that rejuvenates him but at a bloody price.
This film isn't just about the horror of vampirism; it's about human desperation and the dark sides that emerge when power is at stake.
Audition (1999) — Japan
If you thought Japanese horror was just about ghostly apparitions, think again. Audition, directed by Takashi Miike, turns a seemingly innocent situation into a horrifying nightmare.
The plot revolves around a widower who, in search of a new wife, arranges a series of auditions. The movie starts off like a romantic drama but don't be fooled. It slowly descends into a horrifying and stomach-churning sequence of events.
Audition is a masterful blend of psychological horror and shocking imagery. A must-watch for those who dare to step outside the conventional horror boundaries.
#Alive (2020) — South-Korea
Released during the pandemic, #Alive resonated with audiences globally. Directed by Cho Il-hyung and written by Matt Naylor, this modern tale revolves around a young guy stuck in his apartment during a zombie outbreak.
With limited resources, he battles loneliness and zombies until a neighbor becomes his lifeline. This film is gripping, timely, and definitely a must-watch.
The Vanishing (1988) — Netherlands-France
In The Vanishing, a man's wife, Saskia, vanishes into thin air at a gas station, and three years later, he meets a guy who claims to know what happened. Creepy, right? The whole movie is like a slow burn, building up anxiety and keeping you glued to your seat, wondering what happened to Saskia.
And when the truth comes out, we bet it will be a hard gut punch for you. It's one of those mystery movies that ends in a way you won't be able to shake off.
The Devil's Backbone (2001) — Spain-Mexico
The Devil's Backbone is another movie directed by Guillermo del Toro, so you know it's going to be good. The story is set during the Spanish Civil War and follows a young boy, Carlos, who ends up in a remote orphanage.
Things get spooky when he starts seeing ghosts and hearing whispers about a missing kid named Santi.
Add in a treasure hunt for hidden gold, a murderous groundskeeper, and a vengeful ghost, and you've got yourself a great horror to watch. Let’s just say this movie doesn't just hand out happy endings.
Cure (1997) — Japan
This Japanese film blurs the lines between psychological thriller and horror. It follows a detective baffled by a series of identical murders, each committed by different people who can't remember doing it.
This movie became a big deal in Japan and abroad, setting the stage for the boom in Japanese horror in the early 2000s. It's super atmospheric and leaves you feeling uneasy long after it's over.
The Day of the Beast (1995) — Spain
This one's from Spain and is directed by Álex de la Iglesia. It's a wild ride featuring a priest, a metalhead, and a scam artist teaming up to stop the birth of the Antichrist. It's a horror-comedy, a mix that often gets some side-eye, but it works brilliantly here.