(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

High Lane (2009)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 12907%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Seasoned outdoorsman Fred (Nicolas Giraud) leads his girlfriend, Karine (Maud Wyler), and three other vacationing acquaintances up a treacherous mountain... [More]
Directed By: Abel Ferry

#19

Them (2006)
62%

#19
Adjusted Score: 62490%
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: Lucas (Michaël Cohen) and Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) live in an isolated house near Bucharest. On one rainy night in their... [More]
Directed By: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

#18

Martyrs (2008)
64%

#18
Adjusted Score: 64771%
Critics Consensus: A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.
Synopsis: A young woman's quest for revenge leads her down a path of depravity.... [More]
Directed By: Pascal Laugier

#17

In My Skin (2002)
64%

#17
Adjusted Score: 64650%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Parisian marketing professional, Esther (Marina de Van) has a gruesome secret. She's been obsessed with the damage she can... [More]
Directed By: Marina de Van

#16

The Beast (1975)
68%

#16
Adjusted Score: 68461%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A wealthy woman finds her fiancé dead after dreaming of an erotic encounter with a strange creature.... [More]
Directed By: Walerian Borowczyk

#15

Climax (2018)
68%

#15
Adjusted Score: 79057%
Critics Consensus: Challenging and rewarding in equal measure, Climax captures writer-director Gaspar Noé working near his technically brilliant and visually distinctive peak.
Synopsis: When members of a dance troupe are lured to an empty school, drug-laced sangria causes their jubilant rehearsal to descend... [More]
Directed By: Gaspar Noé

#14

They Came Back (2004)
78%

#14
Adjusted Score: 30920%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dead people emerge from their graves and reunite with loved ones in a provincial city.... [More]
Directed By: Robin Campillo

#13

Amer (2009)
79%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79297%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Ana's carnal desires define her life.... [More]

#12

Among the Living (2014)
80%

#12
Adjusted Score: 31337%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Teen troublemakers break into an abandoned film lot and witness a masked figure dragging a woman into an underground lair.... [More]

#11

Baxter (1989)
89%

#11
Adjusted Score: 37920%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A bull terrier observes the behavior of an old lady, a young couple and a troubled boy and adapts his... [More]
Directed By: Jérôme Boivin

#10

Inside (2007)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 52251%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scissor-wielding psychopath (Béatrice Dalle) terrorizes a pregnant widow (Alysson Paradis) on Christmas Eve.... [More]

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 87952%
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

The Ravenous (2017)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 88116%
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 village in Quebec is terrorized by a flesh-eating plague.... [More]
Directed By: Robin Aubert

#7

The Tenant (1976)
88%

#7
Adjusted Score: 89600%
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: In Paris, isolated Eastern European émigré Trelkovsky (Roman Polanski) rents an apartment in a spooky old building whose inhabitants regard... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#6

Livid (2011)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 42308%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lucie (Chloé Coulloud), Ben (Jérémy Kapone) and William (Félix Moati) search an old woman's home for a hidden treasure and... [More]

#5

Raw (2016)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 106581%
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: Stringent vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) encounters a decadent, merciless and dangerously seductive world during her first week at veterinary school.... [More]
Directed By: Julia Ducournau

#4

Revenge (2017)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100659%
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 is enjoying a romantic getaway with her wealthy boyfriend -- until his two sleazy friends arrive for an unannounced... [More]
Directed By: Coralie Fargeat

#3

Diabolique (1955)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101006%
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: In this classic of French suspense, the cruel and abusive headmaster of a boarding school, Michel Delassalle (Paul Meurisse), becomes... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 103069%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was when it was first released.
Synopsis: Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) is riddled with guilt after an accident that he caused disfigures the face of his daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#1
Adjusted Score: 100868%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man obsesses over his fear that his wife will die and be buried alive.... [More]
Directed By: Jean Epstein

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