There’s no need to make an implication that American filmmakers are failures. That’s not true. Wes Craven, John Carpenter, James Wan, Darren Lynn Bousman, Ti West, and Adam Green are just a few of today’s genre specific visionaries, and they’re delivering the goods.
That said, foreign filmmakers seem to be on an entirely different page.
Perhaps foreign directors simply ignore American productions. That could potentially be a logical line of thought. Think for yourself, don’t follow in already established practice. Perhaps these guys just work with their own vision, refusing to allow any studio to impose. Or, perhaps, these guys around the world, who don’t necessarily leap into horror binges, are capable of manufacturing entirely new ideas.
I’m not certain of the recipe, but I know it works. It works especially well with Nordic filmmakers, who constantly release pics so far superior to half the rubbish fashioned by American filmmakers that I at times find myself embarrassed. You’d swear I soiled my tighty whities just gazing at my perplexed visage. But, at the end of the day, those are the Nordics for you; brilliant and innovative even if a bit secluded. We Americans could take a note, for sure. And as evidence, here’re 10 amazing Nordicfilms that should inspire just about every director, regardless of geographical location.
Cold Prey: I’ve long sung praise for the Cold Prey brand. Although I’ve yet to see the third film in the franchise (which functions as a prequel), the first two are riveting, frightening and an utter blast. If you’re a fan of the first two Halloween movies, Cold Prey is going to steal your heart. The setting is quite different, as are the characters and the villain, but Cold Prey and Cold Prey II feel like flawless reimaginings of John Carpenter’s beloved brainchild and its immediate sequel. Roar Uthaug’s series launch serves as a stellar reminder that slashers can still be quite jarring, still. It’s an unforgiving picture with characters that stick to the inner lining of the skull, and a massive villain that comes affixed with a thought provoking backstory. Fantastic visually, awesome writing, and an official introduction (for me, at least) to Ingrid Bolsø Berdal – who definitely floats my boat – Cold Prey is one of, if not the strongest slasher to hit the market since Scream.
Cold Prey II: I’ve already made the comparison to Halloween, but I’ll reiterate for you here, especially since Cold Prey II mirrors Halloween II on damn near every level imaginable. If you recall, Halloween II picks up right where Halloween left off. Laurie Strode has been put through Hell, and she’s beat to shit. So, naturally, it’s off to the hospital. But Michael Myers has always been prolific… and hard to kill. Naturally, he makes his way to the same hospital where he begins to once more unleash his violent fury, disposing of orderlies all the while hunting the headstrong heroine of the franchise. Drop specific names and that’s a brief synopsis that applies to Cold Prey II as well as Halloween II. But Cold Prey II never feels like an imitation of Halloween II. This one stands firm on its own and impresses on an amazing level. It’s one of the finest sequels you’ll find in the genre, loaded with gruesome death scenes, palpable tension, a near air-tight script and impressive performances.
Dead Snow: Outpost likely deserves credit for kick-starting the Nazi zombie craze (I could have missed something that arrived, but if I did, apparently it didn’t make tremendous waves), but it’s easy to argue that Dead Snow is the most popular of the bunch. It’s genuinely humorous, technically polished and entertaining through and through. The buildup to one insane finale is genius, and if you’ve been waiting for intriguing zombies, these are the breed that fit the bill. To give it to you straight, Dead Snow is a big winner because it’s effective in appealing to a very diverse group of fans. Those who dig horror comedies, zombies, gore and, or, seasonal flicks are likely to gravitate this standout Nordic effort.