“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Those were the words of Bong-Joon Ho, the Director of Parasite. There are so many Foreign Language thrillers that are absolute gems. If you want to expand your horizons, this list is for you.
First They Killed My Father
The first entry to our list is brought to us by none other than Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie developed a very close relationship with Cambodia when she was shooting for Tomb Raider years ago. She took it upon herself to this historical thriller masterpiece. This movie might remind you of Steven Spielberg’s war drama masterpiece Empire Of The Sun. Not many movies have shown us the atrocities committed by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The entire movie happens from the perspective of a 7 year old named Loung. The story is captivating and horrifying at the same time.
Alive was shot in 2019. But the movie gained massive popularity partly because people were able to relate to it in 2020. The premise might sound rather familiar to you. A lone man is trapped in his apartment as the world outside engulfs itself in chaos. The only way he can communicate with the outside world is via a smartphone. Sound familiar? Alive is a gem. The fact that a zombie thriller could have so detailed character development arcs and plot lines moves us to tears.
The Invisible Guest
You think you know twists and turns? Wait till you see The Invisible Guest. Spain has a mysterious ability to give us incredible suspense thrillers. The invisible Guest happens to be the best of the lot. There are so many twists and turns it will make your head spin. A successful businessman is about to be tried in court for killing the woman he was having an affair with. His attorney decides to record his statement. What happens next will blow your mind.
People gaining the means to communicate across time is not a new thing. Movies like Deja Vu, The Lake House, and Frequency have all done it. But when you take that concept and add a psychopathic serial killer into the mix, things turn interesting. The Korean thriller master class come from Chung-Hyun Lee. Crafted with absolute precision, this movie will keep you on the edges of your seat for its entire runtime.
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Just Another Love Story
The Danish people are not know for their film making skills. But this movie might make you change your opinion. Just Another Love Story is a Danish Thriller that juggles with concepts of mistaken identity coupled with nail-biting suspense. After a car accident, a man named Jonas is mistaken by the daughter of an uber-rich father as her boyfriend. things escalate when Jonas assumes the identity and the woman starts gaining her memories. The actual boyfriend arrives as well and the plot thickens.
The Wolf’s Call
France excels in arthouse movies that challenge human perception. The French are not good at making formulaic blockbusters like Hollywood. But The wolf’s Call comes pretty close. The movie has a rather small budget but comes with a very big heart. A single sonar operator with exceptional hearing skills is the only thing standing between a nuclear submarine and the end of the world. The movie has solid acting, plenty of twists and turns, and a damn good story.
Quién te cantará
Thrillers do not mean the movie needs to have explosions and bullets flying every fifth minute. Thrillers can also be subtle. A thriller can also use drama and a good set of characters to rive the plot just as smoothly. In this Spanish drama thriller, a famous singer named Lila loses her memories and forgets how to perform. Violeta, a huge fan of Lila, is brought in to help restore her memories. But Violeta has her own plans for Lila. This movie explores the secret relationship between the star and the fan.
Houda Benyamina’s Divines is the epitome of arthouse thriller. The story takes place in France. Two young women work the streets of France as lowly shoplifters. But when the encounter a drug dealer named Rebecca, they up the ante and the entire game changes. Soon they find themselves with more money than they could have ever imagined. But everything comes at a price. Divines does not try hard to show us the consequences of a life of a hardened criminal. It uses subtlety and visual symbolism to convey the meaning. The movie is beautifully shot and written.
The Night Comes For Us
Enough with the suspense and drama thrillers. It is time to let in the big guns. if you are a fan of explosive action thrillers featuring tons of blood and gore, The Night Comes For Us is what you are seeking. The movie has a level of action choreography even Hollywood has not been able to reach yet. The story features Ito, a gangland enforcer, who has a change of heart and decides to stop following orders. The Triad family he works for does not take it lightly. They try to eliminate Ito. But Ito will not go down without a fight.
The Platform is basically Snowpiercer. The only difference is it takes place vertically instead of horizontally. A towering prison features a unique experiment at understanding socio-economic dynamics. Every floor in this prison has two inmates. A table of food is passed down from the top to the bottom. The people in the upper floors get first dibs. The people in the lowest floors get nothing at all. It is an interesting movie concept that hails from Spain.
Space Sweepers is a movie set in the far future. Humanity has taken to the stars. But it is not a fairy tale. Space Sweepers gives us a crushing take on how a future Earth and human society would look like. The protagonist is a bounty hunter that collects scraps from Earth’s orbit. he soon comes across a little girl with special abilities that can help restore a barren Earth to its former glory. Adventure ensues.
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And this little nugget of pure gold comes from India. For decades, Bollywood has been stereotyped. People in the States have been deceived into thinking that its all dance numbers and songs. Drishyam gives us a glimpse at how actual Indian film-making works. The story involves a man trying to hide a murder committed by his family members. And he uses every trick in the book to create an an army of alibis and fake evidences to help steer clear of the crime. The movie is loosely based on Keigo Higashino’s best-selling novel – The Devotion of Suspect X.