|Scene from "Shaun of the Dead" courtesy|
A lot of sites and critics categorize these two wonderful films as horror, but I can't do it. Just because they have some disturbing imagery doesn't make them horror films. But I wanted to include them because they are two of my favorite foreign films of the last five years and I didn't want any complaints about not adding them to the list. See? I have my reasons for doing things.
|Pan's Labyrinth (2006) |
This is really more of an adult-level fairy tale directed, again, by Guillermo del Toro. Ofelia is the stepdaughter of a sadistic military man in 1944 fascist-ruled Spain. She begins to escape into a fantasy world where a mysterious creature begins to give her tasks, which, upon her accomplishment, will ensure her entry into royalty as a princess. The story is vivid with beautiful imagery and wonderful performances, specifically from its young star, Ivana Baquero. As terrifying as some of the scenes are, I still can't call it a horror film. It's just too magical for me. And I adore the ending.
|Let the Right One In (2008) |
This Swedish film was recently remade into a pretty good American movie called Let Me In, but the original is just so damn good. The film centers around a young boy named Oscar, feeling like an outcast, and a friendship with his neighbor Eli, a beautiful young girl who just happens to be a vampire. There's obviously plenty of themes of revenge, murder, and all the other "vampire storylines," but at its core, Let the Right One In is a movie about young love and finding a companion through difficult times. It never scared me - it made me harken back to my first crush in middle school. Is that creepy?
So, while I'll never be the one who tells you that foreign films are always better than American ones, in the realm of horror, it becomes a much more fueled argument.