5 Foreign Horror Movie Gems Hollywood Should Never Remake

Christopher Horton

Hollywood has a habit of preying upon indie film-makers. A literal succubus that comes like a thief in the night to steal away originality from our Indie artists, until there are reproduced as anemic shadows of their former works. It does this with foreign exports as well.  Either for audiences who literally cannot read, or for the directors who think they can create someone other director’s vision better. With more explosions.

I mean, I’m not bitter or anything.  Does that sound bitter? Snobbish?

I’m not one of those foreign movie cork-sniffers, or the film equivalent of your average hipster. I just know what I like.

There is the rare case that a slick Hollywood remake will benefit the original film. Sometimes, it can act almost as a companion piece (Let the Right One In) or just another perspective on the story (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

But then again, sometimes the remake isn’t so lucky. Sometimes, it should be left alone. There’s a reason that no one has tried to remake the Mona Lisa using one of the Kardashians as a model. It’s tasteless. And certainly not an improvement on the original.

Here is my list of 5 Foreign Horror Masterpieces that in my opinion, Hollywood should stay away from. If Micheal Bay’s production team is reading this, really…stay away.

In no particular order:

1. Martyrs (2008)

It’s no secret to the people that know me, but this is my favorite movie. Ever. That doesn’t mean that its a perfect movie by any stretch of the means. It is, however, perfectly fine the way it is.  I honestly cannot think of anything that could be added by an American remake. Well, they could add the English language. That’s about it.

In my research for this article, I have found that an American version of the film is currently under negotiations with Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism) at the helm and… this is the kicker…”Twilight”s” production company.

Stamm has said : ” Martyrs is very nihilistic. The American approach [that I’m looking at] would go through all that darkness but then give a glimmer of hope. You don’t have to shoot yourself when it’s over.”

If you need to walk away from the device youre reading this article on, and vomit. Then go ahead. I’ll wait for you. Moving right along…


2. Thale’ (2012)

This one came out of nowhere for me. I think it did for a lot of the people that saw it. Aleksander L. Nordaas’ film has a real “slow burn” quality to it, and the horror doesn’t really start until the film is nearly ending. Thale’ is one of those rare cases where total lack of budget might had been an advantage to the film-makers, in the fact that it makes them try different approaches (mostly in the well thought-out characters).

Thale’ is currently up for a sequel with Aleksander L. Nordaas still involved.

Which brings me to…

Thale Movie

3. Troll Hunter (2010)

Another gem that came out of left field, and gained popularity quickly.  It was a new spin on the “found footage” genre that’s been almost over-saturating the horror industry. It’s smartly written, and once again we have special effects made on a budget that gives it an air of originality. Shot in the beautiful mountains of Western Norway, the setting is almost a character within itself.  It’s full of mythology, fear, and even some off-beat humor.

This one, like Martyrs, is also up for the remake treatment. The rights were purchased by  director Chris Columbus’s company, 1492, along with CJ Entertainment & Media.

Which, hey..still better than Micheal Bay right? At least the trolls won’t have machine guns and Mech Suits.

Troll Hunter

4. Thirst (2009)

Park Chan-wook’s (Stoker, Oldboy) awesome take on the vampire mythos, is a fantastic film.  Our protagonist is usually complicated in Park Chan-wook’s films, and this one is no exception. A priest-turned vampire-turned adulterer is complex any day, here it’s exaggerated to the fullest extent.  Of all of the movies on this list, I feel that this one is the least likely to get a remake state-side. Its slow pace and themes would be a turn-off for most audiences in the USA .

However, I just recently saw the trailer for the American remake of “Oldboy”. Which means that anything is fair game.

Dear Micheal Bay: If you add giant robots to Thirst, you could probably make a fortune.

I’m not bitter!!!


5. Frontier(s) (2007)

Certainly one of the most popular of the “French Revolution” of horror (along with “High Tension”). Xavier Gens’ Frontier(s) is almost like running a marathon. You’re determined to get through it while it’s happening, and when it’s over you feel more relief than accomplishment. Filled with images that stick with you long after the credits roll, it’s certainly not a film to forget. It almost got it’s release here in America, being featured in the “8 Films to Die For” series, but was nixed for its NC-17 rating.

I guess that in the end, some films just stick with you in such a way, that they are almost a part of you. You don’t need someone reaching into you, and rearranging/replacing your parts. One change in plot, one bad choice in actors, one bad soundtrack piece and your favorite film gets ruined.

Oh well. Maybe I’m bitter after all.


What are some of your favorite films that you think an American remake would ruin? Better yet, which films could benefit?


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      1. Tiago July 16, 2013 at 6:37 am

        Remaking Martyrs would be as insane as remaking Let the Right One In, or REC, but they did it anyway.

      2. Christopher Horton July 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm

        I liked “Let me In”. However, the remake of REC was atrocious. i couldnt even finish it, so i to this day have no idea how it ends. I agree with Matyrs. The fact that they want to add a “glimmer of hope” really makes me mad. The whole point was to not have any hope at the end. Ill watch it when it comes out, but only because I will also watch gender re-assignment surgery. Its such a nightmare you cant look away.

      3. John W July 17, 2013 at 2:16 am

        The only I haven’t seen yet is Thale.

        You forgot “Inside” (“À l’intérieur”).

      4. Christopher Horton July 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        I agree with “Inside”. I didnt list it, because the whole movie seems like its not “remake ready”. I dont think most Americans would take the end of that movie very well…but then again, who knows?

      5. DancingBastard July 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm

        No love for R-Point (2004)? That scared me shitless.

      6. Andrea J March 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        Frontiers was basically a European equivalent of an American Hollywood movie. Imo Frontiers is not as amazing in that special way that Hollywood can’t copy like films like Martyrs or High Tension. Frontiers was basically the French equivalent of a gritty gory movie like Texas Chainsaw Massacre unrated or Hostel. Decent movies all of them but I don’t see what makes Frontiers so special.

      7. Amanda Marie February 10, 2015 at 5:02 am

        It was just announced the Martyrs was being remade. I can’t even explain how depressing this is.