“The film industry is out of ideas!”
“Ugh, when are they going to stop making the same stories over and over again?!”
“ANOTHER remake? Seriously?!”
These are often the complaints I see in comment sections of any new movie being churned out by the film industries’ blockbuster conveyer belt.
If we’re being honest, they are somewhat warranted issues for the most part when it comes to the movies that are marketed to us in theaters or even Video on Demand.
Meanwhile, for a fraction of the budget of your standard Hollywood blockbuster or streaming service watch, international indie filmmakers have been hard at work creating insanely fun genre cinema that oozes with charisma.
Sadly, some of it is lost in the shuffle or some audiences refuse to take the time to read subtitles or listen to accents that are foreign to them.
As a cinephile, I often try to hunt down these stunning pieces of art from all over the globe, and for the most part, it’s has been an incredible experience watching some truly special movies.
First Love (2019)
When it comes to making bonkers movies with twisted gore and standout vicious characters, director Takashi Miike just may be one of the best to ever do it.
The iconic filmmaker has directed over 100 movies in a variety of genres, and his 2019 feature was another gem to add to his gory stylistic resume.
Miike’s recent Yakuza thrill ride was the film equivalent to being on a rollercoaster with no brakes while being shot at by a firing squad, and I mean that in the best way possible.
If you’re looking for a fun watch that goes against just about every sensibility of a mainstream Hollywood studio film, then this is definitely the one for you.
This dark comedy on steroids had me laughing at insane characters, wincing at bloody carnage, and the climax was an utter sensory overload.
The Witch: Subversion (2018)
Country: South Korea
South Korean cinema has been on the rise with North American audiences in both the horror genre, as well as, mainstream dramas with the popularity of films like Train to Busan and last year’s Academy Award Best Picture winner Parasite.
While those movies were heavily praised (and rightfully so), I think one of the greatest action films of the past 10 years missed the deserving accolades and attention.
As a long time fan of genre hybrids, this horror-action-science fiction mix felt like everything I have ever wanted and so much more.
From the gruesome kills to the brutal villains, as a rated R film fan, I can’t think of any other recent movie that made me smile this big from beginning to end.
Part two of this cult classic is coming 2021 and after how this first one ended, it is tied with Train to Busan: Peninsula for the sequel I am most looking forward to seeing.
And with the way 2020 is going, I would happily skip forward to its release date immediately, if possible.
The Hole in the Ground (2019)
If you’ve been following this blog for the past couple weeks, then you may be aware of my love for film distribution company and all around vibe creators A24.
If you’re new to the blog and my fanatic ravings, then let me give you a brief introduction for this indie powerhouse.
Over the past 8 years, A24 has been behind the distribution of instant classics like: Moonlight, Room, The Killing of the Sacred Deer, and The Disaster Artist, which has given them some notable recognition and Academy Award buzz.
While among modern horror fans they have batted it out of the park with beautiful artistic game-changers such as Hereditary, Midsommar, The VVitch, In Fabric, The Lighthouse, and The Hole in the Ground.
This Irish slow burn is often lost in the shuffle when putting it up against the other A24 critic-loved heavyweights, but it is a stunning watch and gave me a truly unsettling visual experience.
The atmosphere of this movie truly pushes your mind into second-guessing every scene, as it unravels piece by piece into more strangeness throughout the story.
As mentioned before, it does move a bit slow, which wasn’t an issue for me due to the powerful acting and the rewarding haunting final scenes.
The Platform (2019)
Before the world turned into an absolute mess of a Black Mirror episode, with unpredictable twists coming with every news story, a surprise hit came to Netflix that had everyone talking.
No, I’m not talking about Tiger King…
The Spanish film by director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, marked his feature film directorial debut and this gripping sci-fi-horror worked on so many levels… sorry, I couldn’t help it.
Not only did the graphic violence and tense moments deliver in the most spine-tingling ways, the overall message of the film was a stunning parable on modern society, greed, and sacrifices made for the greater good.
If you’re a horror fan, I recommend it for the creep factor and if you’re not one, the film is probably a future Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
It fully exceeds the hype from the word of mouth fans, and I personally can’t wait to see what Gaztelu-Urrutia comes up with next.
The Hollywood mirage that action comedies and light-hearted remakes are the only films worth watching, is a fading illusion as we enter a digital age providing us with more access to great movies from across the globe.
Admittedly, some foreign films are hard to find if they aren’t on your streaming services, but in my experience, they are often worth the tiny price to rent.
Happy viewing and always watch with subtitles (please don’t dub foreign films) for the more authentic experience.