Usually, when I think of action or horror films, I always think of the Hollywood powerhouse. I think of successful film series like Die Hard or The Paranormal Activity franchise. However, I’ve been broadening my horizons recently and developed a great interest in action and horror films coming from film industries outside of Hollywood. Here is a list of my personal top five favourite foreign, action and horror films which I definitely recommend to all you fellow readers out there.
5.) HARDCORE HENRY
Directed by Llya Vicktorovich Naishuller, Hardcore Henry tells the simple story of a man who is brought back to life by his wife and hunts down the same group of criminals who abduct his wife later on in the plot. Whilst the narrative seems simple, like any other typical action film, the first person perspective and action sequences make this a film which is not one to miss.
With brilliant chase scenes and stunning shootouts, Hardcore Henry will keep you gripped from the beginning to the end. It also stars the wonderful Sharlto Copley, which is another major positive point to this brilliant film.
4.) TROLL HUNTER
From the title, I would have expected this film to be something like Sharknado, or Shark Exorcist (we never talk about those films), but it was far from it. As comedic as it is action packed, Troll Hunter is a Norwegian dark fantasy film which tells the story of a group of students who are attempting to shoot a documentary about a suspected bear poacher.
They eventually find out that this apparent bear poacher, is hunting something much bigger and more dangerous. The narrative develops even more when they find out that this poacher is a licensed Troll Hunter. The students follow this hunter along his travels and document the many encounters he has with his dangerous enemies.
Troll Hunter is an excellent dark comedy, that uses a found footage choice of filmmaking which complements well with the tension in the film. For a moderately low budget film, the special effects are pretty amazing as well.
However, the best part about this brilliant film, is that the actual previous Norwegian Prime Minister makes an appearance at the end of the film. I have no idea how they were able to cast him but it truly shows that politicians can be fun people after all.
3.) THE WAILING
This terrifying Korean horror film tells the story of a Police detective who is investigating a mysterious sickness which is spreading around a small village. This sickness occurs when a mysterious stranger arrives. The case soon gets personal, when the infection begins to affect the detective’s daughter.
This complex and very dark narrative entices the audience. Whilst it is a very bleak film, it is definitely one film not to miss. The many horrific scenes which you will see will leave jaws dropped aplenty.
Instead of relying on typical dull jump scares, this film performs very well in developing tension and it actually uses a strong story to keep the audience interested instead of just relying on overused jump scares.
2.) THE RAID
Directed by Gareth Huw Evans, this acclaimed Indonesian action film was made on a moderately low budget and was able to achieve a successful box office. This puts modern American action films to shame, like Ben Hur (2016) or 47 Ronin (2013). The Raid tells the story of a SWAT team who get trapped in a terrifying tower block.
Whilst the story sounds simple and very conventional for an action film, the brilliant film making and astounding action sequences contribute to making this a masterful film. The fast pace story line will keep you glued to the screen making you wonder, what is going to happen next?
The fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed as well. Each fight scene also results in unpredictable conclusions, which the audience will not expect (no spoilers).
Whilst some reviewers criticised it for a lack of character depth, this does not reflect this entertaining and heart stopping action phenomenon.
1.) TRAIN TO BUSAN
Now for the film which takes it to the top. Yes the film, which conquers all recent foreign action and horror films. The film is the icing on the metaphorical cake. It is the one, the only, the ‘Train to Busan.’
This film has everything. Literally, everything. You have drama, action, horror, character development and even comedy, despite this being a very dark and bleak film. The film tells the story of a father and daughter who have been disconnected from each other for a long time. As the father takes his daughter on a train so that she can be reunited with her mother, terror strikes when a violent infection spreads across the city, turning innocent people into mindless rampaging zombies. The father, daughter and other passengers must survive against the merciless monsters, who are tearing apart the train.
The brilliant performance from all the actors do not just make this another typical violent, zombie film. They make this an emotionally charged zombie film where you develop a strong attraction to nearly all of the characters.
Before I saw this film, I was really bored with typical zombie films. Each film relied too much on violence and not enough on a strong narrative. This film does the complete opposite.
Another brilliant thing about this production, is that there are hardly any guns used. Instead of using shotguns or bats wrapped in barbed wire, the characters use their own fists to fight off the horde of zombies. This works well with the grittiness of the film.
Overall, I’d say that this is definitely the number one current foreign horror and action film to watch. It has everything and by the end of it, you’ll be wanting to watch more as well.