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5 Dark and Disturbing Modern Foreign Horror Films

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Disturbing Foreign Horror

There’s something about foreign horror that really has the ability to get under your skin. Perhaps the unfamiliar faces of the actors better create a sense of realism. Maybe it’s the added focus on the dialogue from reading the subtitles. We’ve listed some of our favorite foreign horror films before, but this time we’re going to look at the truly dark and disturbing. Love them or hate them, they have an impeccable way of stabbing you in the gut and twisting the blade.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to focus on modern foreign horror films here (my apologies to Cannibal Holocaust and Thriller: En Grym Film).

Here’s my top 5.

Calvaire – aka The Ordeal (Belgium, 2004)

Think of it as a cross between Misery and Deliverance; that should give you some idea of why it’s on this list. In the film, a lounge singer – on the way to his next gig – runs into some car trouble and is rescued by a lonely aspiring comedian. The longer he’s stuck waiting for a non-existent car repair, the more he’s subject to the fantasies of his unhinged host. Mix in an assortment of deranged locals, a sprinkle of delusion, and a splash of bestiality and he’s got a real problem on his hands.

Calvaire carries a dark sense of hopelessness that simmers to a boil over the course of the film. Every interaction between our protagonist and… anyone, really… creates a growing discomfort that’s just inescapable. There isn’t a lot of violence, but it is psychologically terrifying.

Baskin (Turkey, 2015)

 

We’ve talked about Baskin before on iHorror, so if you haven’t watched it, let this be a reminder that you might want to. In Baskin, a squad of unsuspecting cops goes through a trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a Black Mass in an abandoned building. Accompanied by some imagery that will definitely stick with you, their journey is a bleak descent into darkness, madness and torture. Every gruesome visual culminates in their encounter with the character of Father in a viscerally horrific sequence of depravity and trauma.

A Serbian Film (Serbia, 2010)

 

This is one you may already be familiar with, but you might not have watched it. Hell, I don’t blame you, it’s a challenging film. The plot focuses on an aging porn star who agrees to participate in an “art film” in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film. It’s subversive, divisive, and it’s been banned in Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Norway, with a temporary ban from screening in Brazil.

Among the details that add nuance to any film, the cultural affects of the sociopolitical context are probably the most palpable in the darkest films. Director Srđan Spasojević has explained that A Serbian Film is “a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government… It’s about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do. You have to feel the violence to know what it’s about.”

Martyrs (France, 2008)

Martyrs follows a young woman’s quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child. This leads her and a friend on a terrifying journey into a living hell. They are subject to experiments designed to inflict systematic acts of torture upon young women in the belief that their suffering will result in a transcendental insight into the world beyond this one. If you’re not big on torture in horror movies maybe avoid… well, most of this list… but in particular, avoid Martyrs. It takes physical torture to another level.

Martyrs has been associated with the New French Extremity movement (along with Haute Tension, Frontiere(s), Ils, and Inside) which demonstrates a “crossover between sexual decadence, bestial violence and troubling psychosis”. I could cover several of the New French Extremity movement films, but in the interest of a diverse list, I’ll advise you check them out if you’re in the market for something particularly dark.

Secuestrados – aka Kidnapped (Spain, 2010)

Three hooded criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage and forcing the father to empty his credit cards. The premise is simple, but the execution is incredible. Secuestrados is composed of 12 long shots so you don’t ever leave the action; there’s no quick cuts to distract or release the tension. There’s a bit of a slow build, but the ending packs a punch.

I’d like to add an honorable mention for I Saw the Devil and Irréversible. The former is one I have already discussed at length. As for Irréversible, I have a hard time categorizing it as a horror film. That being said, it is dark as hell and probably one of the harshest films you’ll ever see.

What top 5 foreign films would be on your list? Tell us in the comments!

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Melissa Barrera Says Her ‘Scream’ Contract Never Included a Third Movie

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The Scream franchise has done a major overhaul to its original script for Scream VII after its two main leads departed production. Jenna Ortega who played Tara Carpenter left because she was overly booked and blessed while her co-star Melissa Barrera was fired after making political comments on social media.

But Barrera isn’t regretting any of it. In fact, she is happy where the character arc left off. She played Samantha Carpenter, the latest focus of the Ghostface killer.

Barrera did an exclusive interview with Collider. During their talk, the 33-year-old says she fulfilled her contract and her character Samantha’s arc finished at a good spot, even though it was meant to be a trilogy.

“I feel like the ending of [ Scream VI ] was a very good ending, and so I don’t feel like ‘Ugh, I got left in the middle.’ No, I think people, the fans, were wanting a third movie to continue that arc, and apparently, the plan was a trilogy, even though I was only contracted for two movies.

So, I did my two movies, and I’m fine. I’m good with that. I got two – that’s more than most people get. When you’re on a TV show, and it gets canceled, you can’t harp on things, you gotta move on.

That’s the nature of this industry too, I get excited for the next job, I get excited for the next skin I get to put on. It’s exciting to create a different character. So yeah, I feel good. I did what I set out to do. It was always meant to be two movies for me, ’cause that was my contract, and so everything is perfect.”

The entire production of the original seventh entry has moved on from the Carpenter’s storyline. With a new director and new script, production will resume, including the return of Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox.

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Read Reviews For ‘Abigail’ The Latest From Radio Silence

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The review embargo has lifted for the vampire horror movie Abigail and the reviews are abundantly positive. 

Matt BettinelliOlpin and Tyler Gillett of Radio Silence are getting early praise for their latest horror movie which opens on April 19. Unless you’re Barbie or Oppenheimer the name of the game in Hollywood is about what kind of box office numbers you pull on opening weekend and how much they drop thereafter. Abigail could be this year’s sleeper. 

Radio Silence is no stranger to opening big, their Scream reboot and sequel packed fans into seats on their respective opening dates. The duo are currently working on another reboot, that of 1981’s Kurt Russel cult favorite Escape From New York

Abigail

Now that ticket sales for GodzillaxKong, Dune 2, and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire have gathered patina, Abigail could knock A24’s current powerhouse Civil War from the top spot, especially if ticket buyers base their purchase off reviews. If it is successful, it could be temporary, since Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s action comedy The Fall Guy opens on May 3, just two weeks later.

We have gathered pull quotes (good & bad) from some genre critics on Rotten Tomatoes (score for Abigail currently sits at 85%) to give you an indicator of how they are skewing ahead of its release this weekend. First, the good:

“Abigail is a fun, bloody ride. It also has the most lovable ensemble of morally grey characters this year. The film introduces a new favorite monster into the genre and gives her room to take the biggest swings possible. I lived!” — Sharai Bohannon: A Nightmare On Fierce Street Podcast

“The standout is Weir, commanding the screen despite her small stature and effortlessly switching from apparently helpless, terrified child to savage predator with a mordant sense of humor.” — Michael Gingold: Rue Morgue Magazine

“‘Abigail’ sets the bar as the most fun you can have with a horror movie of the year. In other words, “Abigail” is horror on pointe.” — BJ Colangelo: Slashfilm

“In what may become one of the greatest vampire movies of all time, Abigail provides an extremely bloody, fun, humorous & fresh take on the subgenre.” — Jordan Williams: Screen Rant

“Radio Silence have proven themselves as one of the most exciting, and crucially, fun, voices in the horror genre and Abigail takes this to the next level.” — Rosie Fletcher: Den of Geek

Now, the not-so-good:

“It’s not badly made, just uninspired and played out.” — Simon Abrams: RogerEbert.com

A ‘Ready or Not’ redux running on half the steam, this one-location misfire has plenty of parts that work but its namesake isn’t among them.” –Alison Foreman: indieWire

Let us know if you are planning to see Abigail. If or when you do, give us your hot take in the comments.

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Ernie Hudson To Star In ‘Oswald: Down The Rabbit Hole’

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Ernie Hudson

This is some exciting news! Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters 1984, The Crow 1994) is set to star in the upcoming horror film titled Oswald: Down The Rabbit Hole. Hudson is set to play the character Oswald Jebediah Coleman who is a brilliant animator that is locked away in a terrifying magical prison. No release date has been announced yet. Check out the announcement trailer and more about the film below.

ANNOUNCEMENT TRAILER FOR OSWALD: DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

The film follows the story of “Art and some of his closest friends as they help track down his long-lost family lineage. When they find and explore his Great-Grandpa Oswald’s abandoned home, they encounter a magical TV that teleports them to a place lost in time, shrouded by dark Hollywood Magic. The group finds that they are not alone when they discover Oswald’s come-to-life cartoon Rabbit, a dark entity that decides their souls are it’s for the taking. Art and his friends must work together to escape their magical prison before the Rabbit gets to them first.”

First Look Image at Oswald: Down the Rabbit Hole

Ernie Hudson stated that “I am excited to work with everyone on this production. It’s an incredibly creative and smart project.”

Director Stewart also added “I had a very specific vision for Oswald’s character and knew I wanted Ernie for this role from the start, as I’ve always admired iconic cinematic legacy. Ernie is going to bring Oswald’s unique and vengeful spirit to life in the best way possible.”

First Look Image at Oswald: Down the Rabbit Hole

Lilton Stewart III and Lucinda Bruce are teaming up to write and direct the film. It stars actors Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters 1984, The Crow 1994), Topher Hall (Single Drunk Female 2022), and Yasha Rayzberg (A Rainbow in the Dark 2021). Mana Animation Studio is helping produce the animation, Tandem Post House for post-production, and VFX supervisor Bob Homami is also helping. The budget for the film currently sits at $4.5M.

Official Teaser Poster for Oswald: Down the Rabbit Hole

This is one of many classic childhood stories that are being turned into horror films. This list includes Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey 2, Bambi: The Reckoning, Mickey’s Mouse Trap, The Return of Steamboat Willie, and many more. Are you more interested in the film now that Ernie Hudson is attached to star in it? Let us know in the comments below.

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