If you’re a fan of scary movies, you’re probably no stranger to zombie films. The genre has been a mainstream in American horror for decades and with recent additions like Zombieland and the small screen’s The Walking Dead, the topic of zombies is only increasing in popularity. English-language cinema isn’t the only one capitalizing off of the audience’s love for the undead, with the film industry worldwide showing off its spookiest portrayals of the flesh-eaters.
If you’re searching for your next undead gorefest, look no further. Foreign-language zombie flicks give all the guts, blood, and scares that any horror lover could ever ask for.
Director: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza
[REC] differs from most zombie films as it does not focus on a worldwide outbreak or apocalypse scenario. Instead, the entirety of the movie takes place in a singular apartment complex, putting the audience next to case zero of a zombie epidemic. [REC] follows news reporter, Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), as she covers a group of firefighters on an emergency assignment in a local apartment. The simple news story turns into terror when the complex is quarantined with a contagious cannibalistic virus.
[REC] is known not only for its place in the zombie genre, but also for its role in popularizing found-footage movies in modern cinema. The film’s success led to a franchise of sequels, as well as an American remake, Quarantine.
Train to Busan
Country: South Korea
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
One of the most iconic zombie movies of recent years, Train to Busan won critical acclaim for its contained story and fast-paced action. A father, Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), and his young daughter, Su-an (Kim Su-an), board a packed train headed to Busan. Unnoticed to the passengers, a woman infected by a man-made virus has stowed away onboard. As the train speeds through South Korea, Seok-woon, his daughter, and the remaining travelers must survive the trapped train full of zombies.
If you enjoy Train to Busan, the standalone sequel, Peninsula, was released last year.
The Night Eats The World
Director: Dominique rocher
Though it is set in an undead-filled France, The Night Eats The World isn’t what you would expect from a typical zombie flick. The movie isn’t necessarily meant to be scary, but rather a slow-burn character piece. It is less about a zombie apocalypse and more about what a zombie apocalypse will do to a person.
Seemingly the sole survivor of an undead outbreak, Sam (Danielsen Lie) lives alone in an abandoned apartment. While cannibalistic creatures roam the streets, Sam remains safe and sound in his barricaded building. Though physically he is untouched, the trauma of the world takes its toll, and Sam questions how long he can remain in complete isolation.
Country: South Korea
Director: Cho Il-hyung
Another recent South Korean zombie movie, #Alive utilizes modern technology to tell its apocalyptic story. Like The Night Eats The World, the movie takes place almost entirely in the protagonist’s apartment. A young influencer, Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in), is trapped alone as the world is thrown into chaos. As the undead swarm the streets, Joon-woo’s previous reliance on social media betrays him when the internet shuts down. Faced with being truly alone for the first time, Joon-woo must survive not only zombies, but also isolation.
#Alive is actually based on the same script as the American film Alone, so if you’re looking for a similar movie, check that one out.
Director: Daniele Misischia
The story of Italian’s The End? is entertainingly simplistic, making it an easy watch to quench your thirst for the undead. On the way to an important meeting, a callous businessman (Alessandro Red) is trapped inside his office’s elevator. Aggravated by the interruption and unable to contact help, the man is unaware that the world outside has been turned upside down due to a zombie virus. The End? holds an easy-to-follow plot and a contained location, giving much of its focus to the sleek and stylistic cinematography used to show the protagonist’s view of whatever is outside the elevator.
Oh, and fair warning, you are going to spend the entire movie hoping the dickwad protagonist dies. But hey, that’s part of the fun.
What We Become
Director: Bo Mikkelson
A family of four’s idyllic summer is ruined when a viral outbreak spreads through their town. With their neighbors turning into flesh-eating monsters, their block is placed into an ultimately failed quarantine. As the virus rages outside, the household must test their emotional limits with tough decisions in the sake of survival.
What We Become is truly the story of family, and that emphasis is where the film absolutely shines.
Director: Robin aubert
Ravenous is equal parts drama and horror in its portrayal of a small-town dealing with the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. The story surrounds a patrolman, Bonin (Marc-Andre Grondin) who runs to the woods after zombies attack his town. While fleeing, Bonin connects with a possibly infected woman named Tania (Monia Chokri), as well as a little girl, Zoé (Charlotte St-Martin), who the pair pick up along the way.
Ravenous has been critically compared to George A. Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead due to its similar societal themes of survival.
Director: Tommy Wirkola
A horror-comedy of sorts, Dead Snow is, as this list’s title suggests, about zombies. The zombies just happen to be Nazis. Sure, it’s a bit of a silly idea, but what’s scarier than zombies? Nazi zombies, of course!
Dead Snow follows a party of medical students on a ski trip in the Norwegian mountains. Their vacation is interrupted after an army of the aforementioned World War II zombies attack the party, leaving a bloody trail through the Scandinavian snow.
One Cut of The Dead
Director: Shinichirou Ueda
A proud comedy and hilariously meta take on the genre, One Cut of The Dead is a low-budget feature perfect for fans of the iconic Shaun of The Dead.
In the first half of One Cut of The Dead, a film crew is shooting a B zombie movie in an abandoned warehouse. While in the middle of their shoot, fiction and reality begin to merge when the zombies come to life. With monsters on the loose and a movie to shoot, the cast and crew must comically fight for their lives. Without giving too much away, the second half of the film differs wildly from the first, featuring one of the most immersive plot twists in recent years.
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