When it comes to exploring the depths of horror, you really have to check out Latin American productions.
If you’re a horror fan, and you haven’t seen these, then you know nothing about real fear. As a child, I would binge-watch every single horror movie I could find. They creeped the hell out of me, but I loved the adrenaline rush. Name any classic you want, I've seen them all; the more I watched, the less they scared me. Later, I discovered that most of these mainstream films relied on what is known as “boo horror,” which basically means that what scares the audience is thanks to good editing rather than the story.
And well, let me tell you that, just when I was starting to get bored of this particular type of horror, I discovered a style that really got to me: Latin American movies. It might be because, as a Mexican, I can relate better to these stories, or because of their really disturbing plots, but the boo factor is definitely there. The thing about Latin American horror movies is that they don't rely on jump scares or outdated clichés. The reason why they're scary is the plot and the themes they explore. So, if you’re ready to be really scared, I dare you to watch these five films.
MEXICO: We Are What We Are (2011) Dir. Jorge Michel Grau
Perhaps one of the most disturbing films I’ve seen in the last few years, this film was described as one of the scariest Mexican films ever made. In the opening scene, a poor man dies from a heart attack in the middle of the street, so his grieving family has no choice but to figure things out and survive on their own now that the main provider gone. The problem is that they’re not an average family like you might’ve thought at first sight: they're a clan of cannibals fighting to see who’s going to become the new leader and provider.
URUGUAY: La casa muda (2010) Dir. Gustavo Hernández
Based on real events, the movie tells the story of Laura and her father Wilson, whose hope to renovate an old house is crushed by something they can’t explain. Playing with the sound of the situations and the score of the movie with the actual psychological and supernatural events of the story, Hernández creates a very eerie and frightening story about the last sixty-eight minutes (literally) Laura and her father spend in the house.
BRAZIL: This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967) Dir. José Mojica Marins
This might be an ancient film compared to the rest on the list, but the plot and the emotions it evokes in viewers make it one of the best horror films of all time. Considered a horror exploitation film (so expect much more than your average, mainstream horror film), it tells the story of a deranged man whose only dream is to find the perfect woman to impregnate her and continue his bloodline. However, his weird requirements are a bit of a problem. The weirdest of all? That his chosen mate be immune to fear. So, how will he find someone with that quality? He decides to abduct multiple women and submit them to all kinds of horrors. I’ll stop right there, so you rush home to see it.
ARGENTINA: Cold Sweat (2010) Dir. Adrián García Bogliano
A young man looks for his girlfriend, who mysteriously disappeared one day. Along with her best friend, they end up in a house where they’ll discover a horrible and disturbing secret that doesn't only involve the missing woman, but a series of horrors inflicted by a couple of old political extremists who want to take Argentina back to the horrors of the 70s dictatorship. Disclaimer, this might be too hard to watch, so do so at your own risk.
COLOMBIA: At the End of the Spectra (2006) Dir. Juan Felipe Orozco
If you are claustrophobic or agoraphobic, please stay away from this film because it’s going to take you on a journey of anxiety and unease. After a traumatic event, Vega decides to deal with her anxieties by leading a hermit life in her apartment. However, her retreat from the world will bring her into an unknown and sinister one she’ll have to face by herself.
There’s something about how Latin America brings the surreal and the supernatural into reality, merging the limits of fiction and our ordinary lives. And these movies show how comes to us naturally, making them some of the scariest and complex horror movies you’ll ever see.
Here are other movies you'll enjoy watching during the spooky season: