19 Best French Horror Movies to Watch

Best French Horror Movies

Similar to horror films in the west, the best French horror movies have a long and illustrious history.

The genre has seen several notable changes, but it has always been a reflection of its time and the prevalent anxieties and illnesses that characterized it.

The French New Wave, often known as La Nouvelle Vague, replaced early noir with its twisted psychological undertones.

Here, we’ll rank the best French horror movies of all time. These cover the full spectrum from ferociously suspenseful to overt exploitation. In other words, get ready to feel frightened.

The following movies are the best French horror movies.

1. Marty’s (2008)

  • Director: Pascal Laugier
  • Cast: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin, Patricia Tulasne, Juliette Gosselin, and Xavier Dolan
  • IMDb Rating: 7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 39m

Young Lucie, who has been brutally mistreated, imprisoned, and traumatized since childhood, manages to escape her captors and makes friends with Anna, another hurt kid left behind in the orphanage.

Nearly 15 agonizing years later, Lucie decides to annihilate an entire family with a powerful, double-barrelled shotgun.

However, she has at last located her devilish tormentors and is plagued by terrifying visions of an emaciated creature.

However, nobody is certain whether this repulsive female monster is real or a product of troubled Lucie’s sick mind.

Anna discovers first-hand that certain tragedies require transcendence before enlightenment and salvation as the story of the deceased family remains unknown, and strangely persistent questions demand answers.

Anna, will you become a wonderful martyr? This is one of the best French horror moves.

2. Inside (2007)

  • Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
  • Cast: Alysson Paradis, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Claude Lulé, Dominique Frot, Nathalie Roussel, Beatrice Dalle, and François-Régis Marchasson
  • IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 22m

Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were involved in an automobile accident four months before Christmas, and Sarah and her unborn child were the sole survivors.

Sarah spends Christmas Eve alone at home, grieving the loss of her spouse and getting ready to go to the hospital the following morning for the delivery. A woman comes to Sarah’s door as dusk falls and asks to use the phone.

The woman explains that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way inside after she declines. When Sarah contacts the police, they arrive, check the house, and find the woman has gone, but they make a commitment to watch over Sarah all night.

However, Sarah locks herself in the restroom as the woman tries to abduct her unborn child. The odd woman tortures Sarah all night long and murders everybody who tries to aid her. This movie is one of the best French horror movies.

3. Climax (2018)

  • Director: Gaspar Noé
  • Cast: Sofia Boutella, Kiddy Smile, Romain Guillermic, Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull, Giselle Palmer, Souheila Yacoub, and Taylor Castle
  • IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 37

20 French urban dancers gather for a three-day rehearsal in a forested boarding school in the middle of the 1990s to perform one final dance. They then throw one last gathering in front of a huge sangria basin.

The atmosphere instantly gets electric, and for the span of the night, they will be held by a weird craziness. They don’t know who or why they were drugged, even if it appears evident to them that they were.

And as the music’s mesmerizing and increasingly electrifying rhythm numbs them, they find it increasingly difficult to fight off their neuroses and psychoses. While some people seem to be in paradise, the majority fall into damnation.

4. Raw (2016)

  • Director: Julia Ducournau
  • Cast: Ella Rumpf, Garance Marillier, Laurent Lucas, Rabah Nait Oufella, Bouli Lanners, Joana Preiss, and Marion Vernoux
  • IMDb Rating: 7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 39m

Justine enrolls as a freshman at the prestigious Saint-Exupéry Veterinary School. She was raised as a strict vegetarian.

Justine promptly enters a crazy new world of weird school rites and vicious initiation tests as soon as she leaves the family home, compelling her to rethink her steadfast herbivorous beliefs.

A rare and equally morbid yearning for meat will change Justine into a totally different entity as she falls further and deeper into a dark world of undiscovered animalistic impulses.

However, now that her bodily awakening is fully complete is there any use in suppressing her thirst for raw flesh? This movie is a great addition to our list of best French horror movies.

5. In My Skin (2002)

  • Director: Marina de Van
  • Cast: Laurent Lucas, Marina de Van, Léa Drucker, Thibault de Montalembert, Bernard Alane, Marc Rioulfol, and Dominique Reymond
  • IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 33m

The Parisian marketing consultant Esther is a successful young woman who appears content with her life until a severe laceration in her leg catches her attention. Esther is beautiful and has a loving boyfriend by her side.

Indeed, Esther hides a more compulsive self beneath this elaborate front. This compulsive self gradually develops an engrossing and equally compelling fascination with the taste of her flesh.

However, plunging further and further into an unknown world of self-mutilation and horrifying cannibalistic pleasure.

Esther’s ever-increasing fits of fetishistic self-consuming wrath will inevitably be seen by everyone, but especially by her anxious partner as the blind primeval instincts engulf her.

He is also helpless in the face of distressed Esther’s unfulfilled wants. How far must she shave to get to the truth?

6. Frontier (S) (2007)

  • Director: Xavier Gens
  • Cast: Aurélien Wiik, Karina Testa, Samuel Le Bihan, Estelle Lefébure, Patrick Ligardes, Maud Forget, and Chems Dahmani
  • IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 48m

Alex, Tom, Farid, the pregnant Yasmine, and Sami are robbers planning to escape from Paris to Amsterdam.

The criminals escaped with a bag full of looted money amid the riots in Paris that resulted from the election of a conservative candidate to the presidency of France.

Sami gets shot, causing the group to split up; Alex and Yasmine take Sami to the emergency room, while Tom and Farid take the money across the border.

Gilberte and Klaudia welcome Tom and Farid, provide them with a free room and some sex, and run a bed and breakfast close to the frontier.

To join them in the inn, they ring Alex and Yasmine, who are escaping Paris. However, they quickly learn that their hosts are a Nazi family commanded by the crazed patriarch Le Von Geisler, a former SS officer and Nazi war criminal.

The commander wants to use Yasmine as the broodmare to create a new Aryan master race. This film’s uniqueness made it on our best French horror movies list.

7. High Tension (2003)

  • Director: Alexandre Aja
  • Cast: Cécile de France, Maïwenn, Phillipe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun, Oana Pellea, Andrei Finti, Marco Claudiu Pascu, and Jean-Claude de Goros
  • IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 37m

Marie and Alexia, best friends and college students from France go to Alexia’s parents’ remote house to study in the hopes of having a quiet weekend.

But the girls aren’t aware that a psychotic, cruel killer prowls the neighborhood, slicing helpless victims for his sinister amusement.

Soon after, the enigmatic killer bursts into the pitch-black farmhouse in the middle of the night, starting a savage bloodbath. However, the insane man is holding the defenseless Alexia prisoner.

Marie is caught in a dangerous game of cat and mouse and must use every resource at her disposal to free her battered, bloody friend. But does this mean the horror is over? This movie is a good addition to our list of the best French horror movies.

8. Revenge (2017)

  • Director: Cholde Fargeat
  • Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Guillaume Bouchède, Vincent Colombe, Barbara Gateau, Jean-Louis Tribes, and Avant Strangel
  • IMDb Rating: 6.4/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 48

In his isolated minimalist house in the midst of the desert, the pompous, snobbish, and obscenely wealthy businessman Richard is anxious to spend time with his seductive unfaithful lover, Jen, before his annual hunting-gathering.

A romantic weekend in the vast wilderness quickly turns dangerous when Richard’s shady friends arrive unannounced one day earlier. Strong psychoactive substances, alcohol, and deadly weapons don’t combine well.

No man on earth can stop Jen now that she has been sexually raped and abandoned; armed to the teeth, she is plotting her deadly retaliation.

How heavenly is the juice of retaliation? This is another great addition to our list of best French horror movies.

9. Titane (2021)

  • Director: Julia Ducournau
  • Cast: Vincent Lindon, Agathe Rousselle, Garance Marillier, Laïs Salameh, Mars Cisse, Marin Judas, and Diong-Kéba Tacu
  • IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 48m

Alexia has been coping with a high-purity, healthcare titanium alloy implant that is firmly implanted to her skull ever since that terrible vehicle accident that almost took her life.

However, almost ten years later, after undergoing extensive cranioplasty, instead of being turned off by cars, Alexia has grown fetishistic in her fascination with them. She is now a silently horrible go-go dancer at below-ground auto shows.

The grieving father, fire chief Vincent, suddenly reconnects with his long-lost son, Adrien, who had been gone for ten years during the terrorizing spate of gruesome murders that have been plaguing the city. Yet humans evolve through time.

Who is the beaten-down stranger with a stern demeanor who clamors for a home in Vincent’s fragile heart? If you talk about one of the best French horror movies, this is one of them.

10. Mutants (2009)

  • Director: David Morlet
  • Cast: Hélène de Fougerolles, Francis Renaud, Dida Diafat, Marie-Sohna Condé, Nicholas Briançon, Luz Mando, and Driss Ramdi
  • IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 35m

A resourceful couple hides out in a remote abandoned building during the zombie apocalypse. The man is sick and progressively turning into the kind of horrible monster they are attempting to flee, and the woman is pregnant.

The bulk of people has been turned into brutal zombies by a virus. A young couple named Marco and Sonia is battling their way to a military facility while running from the “mutants.”

But when Marco contracts the disease during an attack, Sonia, who is expecting, is forced to battle her most formidable foe: the man she loves.

11. High Lane (2009)

  • Director: Abel Ferry
  • Cast: Johan Libéreau, Fanny Valette, Raphaël Lenglet, Maud Wyler, Nicolas Giraud, Guilhem Simon, and Justin Blanckaert
  • IMDb Rating: 5.6/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 30m

As teenagers, Fred, his fiancée Karine, and their friends Chloe, William, and Luke went on a climbing and hiking trip to Croatia.

Luke, who has a crush on Chloe and wants to be near to her, is persuaded to cross the trail by the expert climber Fred.

However, they discover that boulders block off the beginning location. As they continue their quest, they realize that the trail is more hazardous than they initially imagined because the rope bridge collapses right after they cross it.

Karine and Fred climb a mountain to aid their friends, but Fred gets hurt in a bear trap. Karine hauls their pals up using a rope, but they cannot locate Fred.

They quickly realize that their amusement has turned into a fight for survival is over when Chloe gets caught in a hole with another trap. This film will always make a list f the best French horror movies.

12. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Cast: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer, Jake Weber, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, and Kevin Zegers
  • IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 41m

An emergency warning about a plague that is sweeping the country is not something Milwaukee nurse Ana is paying attention to. She cuddles up with her husband after leaving work on the hottest day of the summer.

A young girl who lives next door intrudes into Ana’s bedroom and bites her husband, Louis, in the neck. As soon as Luis suffers a blood injury, he gets back up and tries to bite Ana.

Ana drives off while watching in terror as the city transforms into a virtual “hell zone,” and people start to eat one another until she wrecks her car.

Ana and a group of other survivors are saved by tough lawman Kenneth, and they decide to hide out at the nearby Crossroads mall.

There, they learn from news reports that the plague is transforming civilians into primitive, carnivorous cannibals with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.

The only way to defeat these bad guys is by shooting them in the head (which should terminate all brain activity).

When the infected start moving toward the mall in search of more survivors, the group decides to wait it out there until a rescue team can return and pick them up. However, problems soon arise.

13. Cold Skin (2017)

  • Director: Xavier Gens, Aura Garrido, Ray Stevenson, David Oakes, John Benfield, Ben Temple, and Iván González
  • Cast: Winslow M. Iwaki
  • IMDb Rating: 6/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 48m

In 1914, shortly after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand that would lead to World War I, a steamship approached a barren island near the Antarctic Circle, where a young man with no name was about to assume the position of weather observer.

He will live alone there for the next year until the emergence of his replacement, during which time his entire world will consist of a desolate cabin, trees, rocks, silence, and the surrounding sea.

The nameless guy learns during his first night in the cabin where he resides that weird beings close the cottage after meeting Gruner.

However, the island’s lighthouse keeper and realizing that the last weather observer passed away from typhus years earlier.

After surviving till the following day, the unnamed guy runs across Gruner once more. He was informed that a species of sea creatures that live nearby the island fears all types of light and comes out of the waters at night to destroy them.

Nameless man, who goes by the alias “Friend,” and Gruner spend the night watching for the humanoids and dispatching as many as we can. But Friend is astounded to learn that Gruner has an odd pet, a female sea humanoid.

The pet was previously deserted by her friends, who Gruner has violently tormented to keep at his side.

An increasingly dangerous situation where Friend by the Sea creatures will learn a mystery that will fundamentally alter everything will arise with each fresh night attack. If you enjoy horror movies, this is definitely one of the best French horror movies.

14. Land of the Dead (2005)

  • Director: George A. Romero
  • Cast: Asia Argento, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Simon Baker, Eugene Clark, Robert Joy, and Joanne Boland
  • IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 33m

Humanity has been overtaken by the living dead. The last survivors of the human race are coping with the situation inside a walled city. The wealthy reside in fortified buildings, while the underprivileged survive on the streets.

A gigantic tank dubbed Dead Reckoning that is being guarded by a team of individuals led by Riley is keeping them safe. Riley must save the city from Dead Reckoning.

However, as those who wander outside the city’s walls gradually develop new abilities and pose a much greater threat to humanity. Riley loses control of the tank to a crazy man who is determined to destroy it.

15. Silent Hill (2006)

  • Director: Christophe Gans
  • Cast: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holdie, Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, and Alive Krige
  • IMDb Rating: 6m5/10
  • Running Time: 2hr 5m

After the continuous sleepwalking episodes of Sharon, the young daughter of Rose Da Silva, the decision is made to take Sharon to the place only mentioned in her restless dreams–Silent Hill.

However, getting to Silent Hill is anything other than simple, and Rose instigates a high-speed chase with a police officer that ultimately results in a disaster for both of them.

When she wakes up, Sharon has disappeared, and Rose is at the entrance to the deserted, dream-like town of Silent Hill. As Rose begins the search for her daughter, she does not realize the terror and mystery surrounding her.

As Rose embarks on a hopeless hunt for her treasured daughter, she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into Silent Hill’s sinister past.

16. The Night Eats the World (2018)

  • Director: Dominique Rocher
  • Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Dennis Lavant, David Kammenos, Sigrid Bouaziz, Jean-Yves Cylly, and Nancy Murillo
  • IMDb Rating: 6/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 33m

Sam returns his videos to his ex-apartment girlfriend in Paris by going there. He is asked to go to a remote room to look for the box containing his tapes while she is throwing a party.

However, Sam passes out on a couch, and when he wakes up, the apartment’s walls and floors are covered with blood spots. He soon finds out that zombies killed everyone.

Sam locks himself in a secure apartment while searching the complex for supplies. Sam understands that the only live things in the world are the dead.

However, Sam continues to live, but he begins to miss his friends. He didn’t realize he was losing his mind until the day he met Sarah.

17. The Horde (2016)

  • Director: Jared Cohn
  • Cast: Costas Mandylor, Paul Logan, Bill Moseley, Vernon Wells, Matthew Willig, Nestor Serrano, and Don Wilson
  • IMDb Rating: 4.2/10
  • Running Time: 1br 28m

In the movie, John Crenshaw goes on a weekend nature photography adventure into the woods with his fiancée and her students.

A terrible monster besieges the group – a swarm of horrifyingly disfigured, mutated humans with an insatiable appetite for blood – turning what should be an instructive and enjoyable weekend into horror.

As things continue to get worse, Crenshaw ends up being their only chance of surviving. This is one of the best French horror movies.

18. Livid (2011)

  • Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
  • Cast: Chloé Coulloud, Felix Moati, Catherine Jacob, Jérémy Kapone, Beatrice Dalle, Chloé Marcq, and Marie-Claude Pietragalla
  • IMDb Rating: 5.2/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 37m

Young Lucie, who seasoned caregiver Mrs. Wilson is mentoring, will visit Mrs. Deborah Jessel, a once-respected ballet instructor who is now, sadly, confined to bed, unresponsive, and catatonic.

On her first day of training as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. Following a night at the bar, William and his friend Ben risk breaking into Mrs. Jessel’s abandoned and deserted mansion because there are rumors that a large treasure is hidden inside the once-famous classical dance academy.

Lucie will share all the little details with William. But before the evening is over, it will become abundantly evident that at first glance, it appears a fantastic opportunity for some quick cash is actually an enticing bait into a cunning and lethal trap.

19. Maniac (2012)

  • Director: Franck Khalfoun
  • Cast: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, America Olivo, Megan Duffy, Genevieve Alexandra, Brian Ames, and Genevieve Alexandra
  • IMDb Rating: 6.1/10
  • Running Time: 1hr 29m

The reparator mannequin shop that belonged to Frank’s mother is now owned by him. Frank, a psychopath serial killer with love for scalps, was mistreated by his mother as a young child.

However, he makes acquainted with the French photographer Anna after they first meet because she admires his restoration work on mannequins. Frank assists Anna as she borrows mannequins for an exhibition she is marketing.

On opening night (Jan Broberg), Frank kills Rita, Anna’s agent To find out what happened to Rita, Anna phones Frank, who then visits her flat.

Frank is still in her apartment, and she begins to worry that he might be a serial killer.

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