Nightmares tap into our subconscious and scare us based on our feelings, which is why fear knows no language barriers. So, while the world's cultures are blaringly different, our terrors are universal. The world of foreign horror cinema is also extensive and terrifying, and a plethora of American scary movies have actually been remakes of international flicks, including The Ring, The Grudge and Let the Right One In. And the usual consensus is that the original is scarier.
Go beyond our national borders and check out what frightens the rest of the world. Here are the top five scariest foreign films.
Horror maverick Guillermo del Toro taps the past to create one of his spookiest movies ever. Set during the final days of the Spanish Civil War,Devil's Backbone
is a Gothic ghost story that takes place in an orphanage. It serves as a comment on the politics of war and focuses on the dark side of childhood. Children can be endlessly creepy, especially when they make friends with ghosts and try to solve murders. Its haunting tone and 1930s setting leaves the viewer feeling unsettled.4. I Saw the Devil (South Korea 2010)
A crime thriller about vengeance and morality,I Saw the Devil
can be described asSilence of the Lambs
. Soo-hyun is a secret service agent searching for the serial killer who murdered his fiancé, and he uses plenty of brutality in the process. We see our "hero" committing heinous crimes and slowly descend into madness. Its fast pace and slick feel keeps you holding on for what's next.
Keep reading for three more scary foreign films.3. Dead Snow (Norway 2009)
It's the classic tale of a weekend jaunt gone awry. A group of students go for some fun in the mountains only to be interrupted by Nazi zombies. Yes, Nazi zombies.Dead Snow
has the audacious courage to combine two of scariest types of villains, and an obvious bloodbath ensues. It runs in the vein of the slap-stick horror style of movies likeEvil Dead
. It's funny, yet gruesome. The lesson here is to never steal treasure from dead Nazis.2. Audition (Japan 1999)Audition
is an unsettling tale of obsession. A lonely widower wants to get back out there and decides to skip Tinder and instead hold a fake casting call for a new girlfriend. He falls for a seemingly quiet, enchanting girl who turns out to be a twisted, menacing psychopath. Never-endingly creepy,Audition
can be hard to stomach and fits nicely into the torture porn genre. After a series of mysterious turns, the tension finally hits the brink. When you find out what's in the sack, you'll wish you hadn't.1. Martyrs (France 2008)
is like plummeting deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. It starts off with the simple story a young girl finally escaping from being held captive and viciously tortured. She goes off to an orphanage and years later seeks revenge on her imprisoners. Eventually a much more sinister, darker plot reveals itself.Martyrs
is a psychological mind screw that is so intricate, it will not cease to shock you. It has apparitions, cults, torture and enough carnage to leave you disturbed for years to come.
Follow Amanda Moutinho on Twitter at @amandamoutinho.
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