Netflix meets all your foreign murder needs

image via Netflix

I don’t know about you, but watching a series in another language sure makes me feel sophisticated and worldly. Also, watching shows with subtitles reminds me that I have a terrible dual screening problem.

Here’s what I’ve watched to date, ranked in order of most compelling and original to most painful Twin Peaks rip-off.


Dark

I love multiple timeline stories so I thought this show was sweet, even though it took me forever to figure out who was who and understand who was doing what. Thankfully the red string murder board/timeline diagram was v. helpful. Watch it in the original German because the English dubbing is really distracting.

If you’re already a fan, check out the season 2 trailer here.


Elite

This pulpy Spanish high school drama was juicy, sexy and dare I say it, almost as fun as Riverdale. These teens are rich, bratty and full of secrets — it’s the best. I used to wonder what kind of adult person wanted to watch drama series about high school kids, turns out it’s me.

Carla is my spirit animal.


Shadow of Truth

This documentary from Israel still haunts me. Who murdered young Tair Rada in her middle school’s bathroom, and why?


The Chalet

A French series with only 6 episodes, set in a big ol’ cabin in the woods in a super small town with full of secrets – my favorite!! A group of friends reunite for a stay at a renovated chalet in a tiny mountain town where they grew up, but flashbacks reveal their memories of a family who strangely disappeared from the same chalet 20 years earlier. Then weird accidents keep happening and they’re cut off from help – classic!!

Even though it took me awhile to get through, I caught myself thinking about it often and I gave Stephen grief for not sacrificing his TV rights to let me finish my binge. Great for fans of Slasher and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Bonus points for the super delightful opening theme. Also; it’s the second show I’ve watched in the past year that had a character named Sandrine (Collateral).


Case

Apparently if you require a high does of weird Nordic misery, this is your drug. The first episode of this Icelandic series rips off Sarah Palmer’s meltdown scenes from the Twin Peaks pilot SO HARD. The dead girl’s name is Lára, for crying out loud. Except her death looks like an extra suspicious suicide, and it takes an extra obnoxious detective to find her true cause of death. (Spoiler alert: She wears the same sweater in every episode.) Gratuitous female nudity and abuse abounds in the first episode alone. Perhaps it’ll grow on me? (Spoiler alert: it did.)


Hotel Beau Séjour

This Belgian drama was an impulse watch that I quickly enjoyed, and it was probably my first foreign dead girl show on Netflix. The story puts an interesting spin on the tropes were used to by telling the story through the eyes of the dead victim, who is trapped in a ghostly form and only visible to those who were somehow involved in the mystery of her death.


The Break

This Belgian (Flemish?) series isn’t the worst, but it also wasn’t my favorite. It was slightly remarkable because the victim is a boy of color, but unremarkable in most other ways. A burned-out detective leaves the big city for his quiet hometown and finds murder on his first day, you know the drill. At least it got me through my winter staycation in 2016.


Out of Thin Air

I eagerly awaited Netflix’s release of this Icelandic documentary back in 2017, but due to some unknown delay it took several weeks to appear and kinda wasn’t worth the wait. It’s an interesting case, but be warned that I fell asleep each of the three times I sat down to watch this. Maybe you’ll have a better experience.


The Rain

I’m about to start this Danish drama in which a virus, carried by rain, has wiped out much of the population. It sounds more action than murder but I’ll find out for sure…


The Forest

A blonde girl goes missing in another tiny French town! This one I didn’t love but felt compelled to finish anyway because…research? Idk, but this show felt like the saddest, most humorless distilled Twin Peaks regurgitation I’ve seen to date, and a particularly egregious example of dead girl porn. No subtlety to be found. One of the characters was literally raised by wolves. Virginie is one of the most unprofessional local law enforcement character I’ve ever been asked to sympathize with. Really though, she’s terrible. Also, does every French show have characters named Julien and Thierry?

Feel free skip this one.


What are your favorite foreign Netflix series?? What should I watch next?

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