(Photo by Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The Best French Horror Movies

France has had a long history with horror that dates back to 1896, when Georges Meilies directed the original horror movie, The Haunted Castle. It had bats, and spooky skeletons! Jean Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher is one of the early horror masterpieces from the 1920s. And in the 1950s, France produced two of what many consider the greatest horror movies ever: Diabolique and Eyes Without a Face. Not to be outdone by the past, the aughts-bred New French Extremity movement set the new standard in brutality with the likes of Martyrs and Inside, continuing into Julia Ducournau’s 2016 Raw.

And now we’ve collected every French horror movie with a Fresh Tomatometer score, and ranked them in our guide to the Best French Horror Movies of All Time.


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#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 11.055%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gallic helmer Abel Ferry (not to be confused with Abel Ferrara) helmed this French-language gorefest. A group of twenty-something friends... [More]
Directed By: Abel Ferry

#19

Them (2007)
62%

#19
Adjusted Score: 62.995%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and tense from start to finish, the French horror film Them proves that a lack of gore doesn't mean a dearth of scares.
Synopsis: A young couple lead a happy, quiet life in the countryside. But little do they know they're being surrounded. When... [More]
Directed By: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

#18

Martyrs (2008)
64%

#18
Adjusted Score: 64.666%
Critics Consensus: A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.
Synopsis: Tells the story of Anna, once a missing little girl, found wandering a year later on a country road virtually... [More]
Directed By: Pascal Laugier

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 64.406%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Esther is an ambitious 30-year-old woman. One fateful night at a party, she seriously hurts her leg, however can't seem... [More]
Directed By: Marina de Van

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 68.537%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this story, a young nobleman with an unusually strong interest in horse-breeding is being prepared to marry the wealthy... [More]
Directed By: Walerian Borowczyk

#15

Climax (2019)
68%

#15
Adjusted Score: 75.322%
Critics Consensus: Challenging and rewarding in equal measure, Climax captures writer-director Gaspar Noé working near his technically brilliant and visually distinctive peak.
Synopsis: From director Gaspar Noé (Irreversible; Enter the Void; Love) comes a hypnotic, hallucinatory, and ultimately hair-raising depiction of a party... [More]
Directed By: Gaspar Noé

#14

They Came Back (2004)
78%

#14
Adjusted Score: 23.246%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The recently dead return to life in They Came Back, but they are surprisingly uninterested in feasting on the living.... [More]
Directed By: Robin Campillo

#13

Amer (2010)
79%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79.003%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Searing memories and carnal desires rule the mind of Ana (Marie Bos), a young woman in thrall to her own... [More]

#12
Adjusted Score: 17.582%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three kids who decide to skip school in order to explore an abandoned amusement park catch site of a woman... [More]

#11

Baxter (1990)
86%

#11
Adjusted Score: 49.612%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The French-filmed Baxter is based on the American novel Hell Hound. The title character is a bull terrier, who in... [More]

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 42.395%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A pregnant widow awaiting her ride to the hospital must fight for her life against a mysterious woman who comes... [More]

#9
Adjusted Score: 88.072%
Critics Consensus: The Night Eats the World finds a few unexplored corners in the crowded zombie genre, with a refreshing emphasis on atmosphere and character development.
Synopsis: After waking up in an apartment the night after a raging party, Sam comes face to face with his new... [More]
Directed By: Dominique Rocher

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 88.519%
Critics Consensus: Uncommonly restrained for a movie about a flesh-eating menace, Ravenous offers a satisfyingly nuanced entry in the crowded zombie apocalypse subgenre.
Synopsis: A group of people transform into zombies in a small Canadian town. Labeled the "hungry," they feast upon their loved... [More]
Directed By: Robin Aubert

#7

The Tenant (1976)
88%

#7
Adjusted Score: 90.914%
Critics Consensus: A rough-edged thriller that lacks the precision of Polanski's best work, but makes up for it with its skillful mounting of paranoia, dread, and dark themes.
Synopsis: Director Roman Polanski casts himself in the lead of the psychological thriller The Tenant. Trelkovsky (Polanski) rents an apartment in... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#6

Livide (Livid) (2012)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 37.652%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Inside co-directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo follow up their bloody and intense feature debut with this brooding, phantasmagorical horror... [More]

#5

Raw (2017)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99.803%
Critics Consensus: Raw's lurid violence and sexuality live up to its title, but they're anchored with an immersive atmosphere and deep symbolism that linger long after the provocative visuals fade.
Synopsis: Everyone in Justine's family is a vet. And a vegetarian. At sixteen she's a brilliant student starting out at veterinary... [More]
Directed By: Julia Ducournau

#4

Revenge (2018)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 98.17%
Critics Consensus: Revenge slices and dices genre tropes, working within an exploitation framework while adding a timely -- yet never less than viscerally thrilling -- feminist spin.
Synopsis: Jen (fearlessly embodied by Matilda Lutz, Rings) is enjoying a romantic getaway with her wealthy boyfriend which is suddenly disrupted... [More]
Directed By: Coralie Fargeat

#3
Adjusted Score: 102%
Critics Consensus: Cruel, dark, but undeniably effective, Diabolique is a suspense thriller as effective as Hitchcock's best work and with a brilliant twist ending.
Synopsis: The greatest film that Alfred Hitchcock never made, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique is set in a provincial boarding school run by... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 103.382%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was in 1959.
Synopsis: A brilliant but crazed surgeon resorts to horrifying measures to restore the beauty of his daughter's disfigured face.... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#1
Adjusted Score: 100.661%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This abstract video shows the adaptation of the Poe Story "The Fall of the house of Usher." Using slow motion,... [More]
Directed By: Jean Epstein

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