(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: 12263%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A sadistic killer stalks a group of adventurous mountain climbers (Fanny Valette, Johan Libéreau, Raphaël Lenglet) in Croatia.... [More]
Directed By: Abel Ferry

#19

Them (2006)
62%

#19
Adjusted Score: 62227%
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: One evening in repeated telephone calls, vague voices begin a nightmare for Lucas (Michaël Cohen) and Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) in... [More]
Directed By: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

#18

Martyrs (2008)
64%

#18
Adjusted Score: 64864%
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: 64648%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A market researcher (Marina de Van) becomes increasingly obsessed with mutilating her own body to taste the flesh and blood.... [More]
Directed By: Marina de Van

#16

The Beast (1975)
67%

#16
Adjusted Score: 66113%
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: 77618%
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: 25404%
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: 79158%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Ana's carnal desires define her life.... [More]

#12

Among the Living (2014)
80%

#12
Adjusted Score: 21202%
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: 77800%
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: 46735%
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: 87596%
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 where a party was raging the night before, Sam is forced to come to... [More]
Directed By: Dominique Rocher

#8

The Ravenous (2017)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 87735%
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: 90623%
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: A Polish clerk (Roman Polanski) rents a Paris flat and begins to act like the former tenant, who committed suicide.... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#6

Livid (2011)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 45088%
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: 101412%
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: A stringent vegetarian (Garance Marillier) starts to develop a voracious appetite for human flesh after enduring a hazing ritual at... [More]
Directed By: Julia Ducournau

#4

Revenge (2017)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 99099%
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: A shocking act leaves a woman brutalized and left for dead by three sleazy men. Unfortunately for her assailants, she... [More]
Directed By: Coralie Fargeat

#3

Diabolique (1955)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102333%
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: A wife (Vera Clouzot) and a mistress (Simone Signoret) conspire to murder the brutal headmaster (Paul Meurisse) of a school... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 104151%
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 Paris surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) tries to fix his daughter's (Édith Scob) face with skin from kidnapped women.... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#1
Adjusted Score: 100947%
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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