1. TROLLHUNTER (2010).
A group of Norwegian students set out to make a documentary about a series of mysterious bear killings. Initially, their suspicion rests on a local bear poacher, but they soon discover that something much more sinister is behind the killings. Despite finding itself in the found-footage genre, one which has exhausted itself in recent years due to the abundance of trite, insipid films making their way off the conveyor belt, Trollhunter is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise frustrating genre, not least because the audience are actually rewarded for their time spent watching. Moreover, it is proof that the Norwegian film industry is one which is burgeoning and churning out talent.
2. THE HOST (2006).
Several years after negligent military personnel have dumped hazardous chemicals into a South Korean river, a bloodthirsty creature emerges from the water and wreaks havoc upon residents. It is up to a local family to save their daughter after she is abducted by the creature. Bong Joon-ho (Mother, Snowpiercer, Memories Of Murder), along with Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) and Kim Jee-woon (I Saw The Devil, A Bittersweet Life), is, undoubtedly, at the forefront of South Korean cinema, tackling different genres effortlessly and introducing audiences worldwide to his uninhibited filmmaking vision.
3. SHIN GODZILLA (2016).
Panic begins to set in amongst government officials when a mysterious fountain of water erupts in a Japanese bay, causing many people to suspect volcanic activity. When a young executive attributes such activity to something much more dangerous — something alive, monstrous and truly fearsome — he is ridiculed, but is ultimately proven correct in his assessment. Seeing as Godzilla is a Japanese conception, but has seemingly been missing from their mainstream media in recent years, it is refreshing to see a resurgence of such a pop-culture icon in the world of monster movies. In Shin Godzilla, the gargantuan creature is back and as destructive as ever, continuing its reign of terror on the streets of Japan — where it belongs.
4. GRABBERS (2012).
Following the invasion of blood-sucking creatures from another planet, and having learned that said alien creatures are repulsed by alcohol, residents of an island off the coast of Ireland develop a rather unorthodox means of survival: staying drunk. Unfortunately, British monster movies have become something of a rarity in recent years, so I was immediately intrigued by the prospect of Grabbers, not least for its goofball take on the classic ‘alien invasion’ film. As well as staying true to the meat and bones of the genre, that of blood, guts and human sacrifice aplenty, it offers up something much more: a colourful array of characters and the right amount of British comedy for the film not to be taken too seriously.
5. THE DESCENT (2005).
When a group of female explorers descend into an untapped cave, they become trapped and are soon hunted by savage, meat-eating humanoids. The brainchild of Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers), The Descent dispenses with the comedy introduced in feature-length debut Dog Soldiers and leaves the audience with a veritable bloodbath, not relenting for a second in its pursuit of cinema at its most harrowing and violent and touching upon elements of claustrophobia and acrophobia to, quite simply, add to an already unflinching, unnerving level of tension.