In the second part of our essential foreign slashers features, we take a look at some early Alexandra Aja, a Pakistani slasher plus Mexico’s take on A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The Pool (2001)
This German slasher was released just after the mini slasher revival of the late 90s, and starred one James McAvoy.
The basis of the story is a slasher is stalking a group of teenagers during a graduation pool party. Memorable for one truly great kill on a waterslide, The Pool builds up its characters, gives them agency and then begins slicing and dicing.
While The Pool’s finale feels slightly convoluted it does not take away from what is a solid 2000’s slasher that probably deserves more love.
High Tension (2003)
Alexandra Aja’s breakout horror hit, is closing in on its 20th anniversary, but still feels as fresh as when it was released all them years ago. When Marie and Alex travel to the French countryside to meet Alex’s parents, they are stalked by a killer who has a taste for the macabre.
While its twist polarises some viewers, Aja creates a stylish and downright nasty slasher that is unapologetic in its gore. The conclusion is downright chilling.
Hell’s Ground (2007)
Hell’s Ground is Pakistan’s stab at a slasher film with a dash of The Evil Dead.
Quite frankly, its pretty insane.
A group of friends are on the way to a concert are initially thwarted by a local community who have become twisted by something in the water. At this point, it feels like the film is going in the direction of the Evil Dead but it then takes a turn to become something resembling more of a slasher.
In the latter stages, the film attempts to make sense of the events, but Hell’s Ground is more fun when you disengage and just enjoy the madness.
Don’t Panic (1988)
Mexican slasher Don’t Panic gets browny points for simply having its own cheesy theme song.
On his 17th birthday, Michael unlocks an evil force from a ouija board. This is Mexico’s stab at A Nightmare on Elm Street, with hints of Freddy’s Revenge as the spirit known as Virgil begins killing everyone Michael cares about, whilst he starts to have some very strange dreams.
With some decent kills, Don’t Panic is plenty of fun and actually better than some of the later Nightmare sequels.
While Don’t Panic is Mexico’s answer to Freddy Krueger, how about Bollywood’s take?
Some scenes from Mahakaal feel completely lifted from Elm Street but at the same time, there are musical interludes to break up any tension. For example, the group of teenagers go to the beach following the death of one of their peers, which quickly turns into a musical number.
Mahakaal really needs to be seen to be believed. The film also does something interesting with its villain, the magician Shakaal which sets him apart from Freddy Krueger, despite their obvious resemblance.
Its bloated at 143 minutes, but definitely works as a one time watch.
Keep reading Bloody Flicks for our third Essential Foreign Slasher feature soon.