A look into Foreign Horror: Spanish Language and French top 5 Films; Wikipedia describes horror films as this. A horror film is one that seeks to elicit fear in its audience for entertainment purposes. Horror films additionally aim to evoke viewers’ nightmares, revulsions and terror of the unknown or the macabre. Initially inspired by literature from authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. Horror, in my personal opinion, is the ultimate film genre when done right.

    The United States has been severely lacking when it comes to horror in recent years, churning out films aimed at teenagers and making the scares way too predictable. In an earlier article, I visited China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand checking out some of their best horror films. Today, I’m not going to visit as many countries, but we are going to look at France and Spanish Language films. I’m not limiting the Spanish language films to just Spain either.

    We’ll kick it off looking at five great Spanish language films. As with the Asian market films, I’ll give some details, a synopsis and then my personal take on each film. Some spoilers may come, but I’ll do my best to keep them to a minimum.

    5. Somos lo que hay aka We Are What We Are (2010)
    Not Rated – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals, the hunting and putting the all-important meat on the table. These newfound responsibilities are even more daunting, however, when you live in the city and happen to be a family of cannibals.

    We’re kicking off with the Mexican film We are What We Are. A rather divisive film, people either love this movie or they hate it. I personally love this film, as well as the 2013 remake, and I’m not ashamed to admit that a good cannibal film is a guilty pleasure of mine. While this film has it’s issues, like having a pretty low budget, it is a gritty and grisly horror flick that dives into this cannibal families trials. If you’re in the mood for a cannibal flick, give this one a chance.

    4. El orfanato aka The Orphanage (2007) Rated R – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

    So the Orphanage is less of an in your face horror movie and rather a drama with supernatural elements put into it. That said, it works pretty well and gives the film a rather different feeling to it than most films on my list. It’s nothing stunning, but in the world of horror films, it easily stands a shoulder above the regular flotsam that the genre tends to churn out. At that, it’s no terrible film and could be recommended if you’re looking for a relatively intelligent and well composed supernatural horror-type film. Just don’t expect bloodbaths and constant shocks.

    3. El hoyo aka The Platform (2019) Rated TV-MA – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: A mysterious place, an indescribable prison, a deep hole. An unknown number of levels. Two inmates living on each level. A descending platform containing food for all of them. An inhuman fight for survival, but also an opportunity for solidarity.

    The Platform is a very atmospheric horror movie, the setting just working to create an unsettling feeling in the audience. You find yourself feeling for the characters and things just get strange and bizarre as the film goes on. It’s got some twists and turns but it mostly is a straight forward movie with a killer premise. One of the better horror movies I’ve seen come out in the last few years.

    2. La Llorona (2019) Not Rated – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: An aging paranoid war criminal, protected by his faithful wife, faces death while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.

    A slow-burn political drama that merges the real-life horrors of the Guatemalan genocide with one of Latin America’s most famous folktales, La Llorona (also called The Weeping Woman) is a story about the ghosts of the past bleeding into the present to right the wrongs. La Llorona makes for a gripping story about the voids that never fill and scars that never heal, and also serves as a chilling metaphor of the blood-soaked history of Guatemala that’s still crying for closure. Not a film for all and certainly not for those expecting something alone the lines of the terrible Hollywood take on the Latin American fable, this Guatemalan feature is a political drama pierced with thin lines of horror & fantasy.

    1. [Rec] (2007) Rated R – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: A young TV reporter and her cameraman cover the night shift at the local fire station. After receiving a call from an old lady trapped in her house, they reach her building to hear horrifying screams which begin a long nightmare and a uniquely dramatic TV report.

    I love Rec and all of it’s sequels. There are four in total and while I am not going to go into the other three, the first film is one of the best ‘found footage’ style horror movies I have ever seen. This is the kind of movie that you go to the cinema and watch, and then haunts you for weeks. Not that it will make you afraid of the dark or it will make you question your vision of life, but parts of it will stay with you. This is the kind of movie that is all about the experience, the feelings you experience while inside it, the atmosphere. This is the kind of movie you wish you hadn’t seen because then you’d be able to experience it again for the first time. Rec is a very short movie, at 78 minutes, but it delivers on the scares and horrors in that short time frame. Experience it for yourself.

    Thus ends our exploration of some great Spanish language horror films. Sure, some of them are not the scariest things ever made, but the movies work and that’s what matters to me.

    With that said, we’re going to take a jaunt to France, which is home to some of the most disgusting and unsettling horror films I have ever had the pleasure to bear witness to.  Fair warning now, most of these films are not for the weak of heart or people with weak stomachs. They will be disturbing to a fair few of you.

    5. La nuit a dévoré le monde aka The Night Eats the World (2018)
    Rated TV-14 – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: After waking up in an apartment where only the night before a party was raging, Sam is forced to come to grips with reality: He is now alone and the living dead have invaded the streets of Paris. Petrified with fear, Sam is going to have to barricade himself inside the building and organize his survival. But is he really the sole survivor?

    A friend introduced this film to me one day when we were discussing zombie movies and I hadn’t seen it. Boy am I glad he recommended it to me. This is one of the best zombie movies in recent years, hands down. The main character runs the gambit of emotions and his struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse really draws you in. It may only be rated TV-14 but don’t let that discourage you from seeking out and watching this gem. You won’t regret it.

    4. À l’intérieur aka Inside (2007) Rated R – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.

    Most of the current iteration of French horror films have not received the word of mouth that this film has. Inside is a damn brutal film. It pushes limits and boundaries to the breaking point, but that’s what you have to do to shock an audience these days. The less I say about the movie, the more powerful the experience will be. So if you’re brave enough, go out and find this film.

    3. Grave aka Raw (2016) Rated R – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: A young woman, studying to be a vet, develops a craving for human flesh.

    Raw is.. unsettling to say the least. While nowhere near as brutal as Inside is, it is still a powerful and sometimes disgusting piece of film. This is a dark, cruel and disturbing horror film which gets even unbearable, but everything that take place works for the sake of a truly inspiring screenplay which provides amazingly well-written characters and also runs as a clever allegory about the awaking of sexuality in a repressed environment. Raw may just make you never look at a steak the same way again.

    2. Haute Tension aka High Tension (2003) Rated R – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a quiet weekend at Alexia’s parents’ secluded farmhouse. But on the night of their arrival, the girls’ idyllic getaway turns into an endless night of horror.

    High Tension, aka Switchblade Romance is the movie real horror movie fans have been waiting for. It’s a bloody, merciless, no-humor and no-holds-barred homage to the classic slasher pics of the 70s, and yet it surpasses almost every movie it draws its inspiration from. We get an unstoppable but definitely human killer because of his obviously being human and because he makes some undeniably smart decisions and operates in a continuously logical, inescapable way. Like all good horror films, there is a killer twist that you won’t see coming. Sit back, relax, and wait.. what was that noise? Look over your shoulder as you watch this movie, you never know if someone is watching..

    1. Martyrs (2008) Rated R – Foreign Horror

    Synopsis: A young woman’s quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

    Oh where in the hell do I even begin with this one. Martyrs is a brutal, horrifying masterpiece. There is no sugarcoating that. It is easily one of the saddest horror films I’ve ever seen while at the same time being one of the most disturbing. You feel for the protagonists. You understand them and you sympathize with them. But when the rug gets yanked out from under you, and believe me it will, the film takes a dark and terrifying turn that is utterly believable. I could easily see some dark stuff like this being real. There is one particular scene, and I am not going to give it away, that may make you reach for the trash bin as you lose your lunch. Watch at your own risk and discretion.

    Thank you all for coming along with me on this journey. It’s been an absolute pleasure bringing you these 10 films and I hope you’re brave enough to check them all out. Especially the French ones, I cannot stress enough how brutal the majority of those films are. I’ve seen a lot of gore and disgusting things in my day, but those films are on another level. Enjoy, ladies and gentlemen.