Netflix's Halloween-themed slate of new originals is always chock full of thrills and chills, but this year, something is different. There's a huge movement of international shows and movies in the company's annual "Netflix and Chills" schedule, ranging from Korean zombie movies to a German period drama about rival breweries. There's also Mike Flanagan's The Haunting of Bly Manor and Rebecca, a new take on the book that inspired the Hitchcock classic starring Armie Hammer and Lily James. But, overwhelmingly, the list skews foreign.
Why is Netflix importing its scares this Halloween? The answer reveals a surprising truth about the future of both Netflix and horror itself.
First, there's something about the horror genre in particular that caters itself well to foreign productions. Horror is a genre that doesn't usually require the biggest budget. Yes, expensive special effects can be scary, but keeping a spooky monster hidden in the shadows is even scarier. Call it the Blair Witch effect: sometimes the scariest movies are the ones that look cheapest. Considering how international studios don't typically have Hollywood resources at hand, it's easy to see why so many filmmakers flock to horror.
Then, of course, there's the very nature of international content itself. To the American viewer, everything about a different society and culture is inherently unknown and therefore scary. If it's not in English, all the better. Plus, Horror is a language anyone can understand. So even if there are subtitles, a jumpscare will read the same in any country.
Netflix especially understands the value of international originals. Some of its biggest hits, like Dark and Money Heist, aren't American. Conversely, Netflix's global scale means a series like Nailed It can start with an American version before spawning Spanish, French, and German remakes that are all enjoyed globally (even back in the U.S.)
By investing in subtitles and dubbing at a scale rarely seen before in the entertainment industry, Netflix can create a global viewing phenomenon with a movie or series originating from any country, putting all sorts of global markets at the same level as Hollywood and bringing new cultures and talent to the forefront of the entertainment industry. Horror, with its built-in fan base and low budgets, is a perfect starting point as Netflix continues to expand on a strategy that's already working.
In 2020, Netflix has outdone itself with its selection of spooky foreign content. October 2 brings The Binding, a family-centric Italian horror film depicting a haunting curse, and the latest in Scandi horror, Norwegian thriller Cadaver, premieres on October 22. Here are some other terrifying shows and movies, international and not, arriving on Netflix soon:
- The Paramedic - September 16 - Spanish
- Ratched - September 18 - American
- La Révolution - October - French
- Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood - October 1 - German
- To the Lake - October 7 - Russian
- The Haunting of Bly Manor - October 9 - American
- Rebecca - October 21 - British
- Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight - October 28 - Polish
- His House - October 30 - British
- The Day of the Lord - October 30 - Spanish