Hollywood has produced some of the most popular horror films known to thrill-seekers, from classics like
Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Exorcist to modern must-watch movies such as The Conjuring film franchise and Get Out. But there's literally a whole world of chills and thrills to be had beyond those made in the United States of America, and there are tons of international horror movies on Netflix. After all, a number American horror movies take inspiration from other culture's folklore (like 2019's The Curse of La Llorona), and several popular U.S. chill-fests from the '00s are remakes of Asian horror productions, which are considered by some to be even scarier. While it may be hard to find these films in U.S. theaters, cinephiles looking to get their heart rates up should know about Netflix's wide selection of international horror movies.
Horror films don't need to be in a language you understand to give you the shivers. Ominous music, creepy imagery, jump scares, ghosts, and monsters make the genre a universal language that horror fans across the globe are able to appreciate. Still, Netflix's closed captions do definitely help.
From Cannes Film Festival hits like
Train to Busan to Netflix Original teen scream films like Animas, here are some of the creepiest international horror films available to stream on the service right now. 1 'Train To Busan'
After being shown at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, this Korean zombie thriller got a U.S. theatrical release.
Train to Busan follows Seok-woo (Yoo Gong) and his daughter Soo-an (Su-an Kim) as they take the train from Seoul to Busan, where Su-an's mother lives. But what they don't realize before their journey begins is that a virus outbreak is turning people into flesh-eating zombies. All it takes is one infected person aboard, and the entire train finds itself in a catastrophic situation. 2 'The 3rd Eye'
After her parents die, Alia (Jessica Mila) decides to move from Bangkok back to Jakarta, into her childhood home with her teenage sister Abel (Bianca Hello). But Abel, who says she sees dead people in their house, is frightened and no longer wants to stay. In an attempt to understand her sister, and to see for herself, Alia asks psychic Mrs. Windu to open her third eye. Whether this solves any of their problems is another story.
What makes this Indonesian horror film is especially scary? It's supposedly based on true events.
In another Indonesian horror flick, Maira (Luna Maya) lives with her partner Aiden (Christian Sugiono), a doll maker and toy company owner, and their adopted daughter and Aiden's niece Vanya (Richelle Georgette Skornicki). But Vanya is still dealing with the loss of her birth mother. After playing a demonic game called Charlie Charlie Pencil to summon her late mother ,strange things begin to happen to her and Maira is terrorized by a doll named Sabrina.
4 'Krasue: Inhuman Kiss'
In a remote village in Thailand, teenage girl Sai (Phantira Pipityakorn) discovers that she's inherited the curse of Krasue. And so at night, her head detaches from her body in search for flesh and blood. The villagers become frightened by the death of their livestock, and so the Krasue hunt begins.
5 'The Secret: Suster Ngesot Urban Legend'
Kanaya (Nagita Slavina) returns to Indonesia after studying in Melbourne, Australia. But upon finding our her father married a woman her own age, she decides to leave again. But her plan leads her to an accident, which lands her in a haunted hospital where she is chased by the ghost of Suster Ngesot — a famous Indonesian "crawling" ghost of a dead nurse that lingers in old hospitals.
In the Philippines,
sukob is the belief that one should not get married within a year of an immediate family member's death, because it's bad luck. In this film, Sandy (Kris Aquino) and Dale (Wendell Ramos) go back home to the Philippines for their wedding. But during the ceremony, Sandy sees a ghostly flower girl appear, the lights go off, and her nose bleeds. Soon, her friends and relatives die one by one, but to her knowledge none of her husband's do. And so Sandy makes it her mission to uncover family secrets and find out what is going on. 7 'Ravenous'
In a small, remote village in upstate Quebec, locals have suddenly turned into zombies. The few survivors go into the woods, looking for more people who haven't been turned into flesh-eating monsters, then proceed to the city thinking that they can seek protection there. But their journey becomes hopeless when they discover what has taken place in the rest of the world.
After an epidemic spreads in Australia, Andy (Martin Freeman) travels by foot, and struggles to keep his baby girl Rosie (Marlee Jane McPherson-Dobbins) alive before the disease gets him next.
While camping out at a remote part of the woods by Crystal Lake, a group of teenagers discover someone is spying on them. When they try to find out who it is, horrific violence ensues in this Mexican film.
In this Chilean thriller, Diana (Daniela Ramírez) who is pregnant with another child becomes overwhelmed by her autistic son Martín (Matías Bassi). And so she hires a gifted caregiver named Luz (Aida Jabolin). But soon, she begins to suspect that the nanny has sinister intentions.
In this Spanish-French production, a blacksmith has successfully kept a demon in captivity while living a quiet, hermit-like life away from the townsfolk. But when an orphan girl unknowingly stumbles upon the demon's enclosure, she accidentally frees it and everything descends to chaos.
In this Spanish film, Álex's (Clare Durant) eerie supernatural visions occur more frequently, and become increasingly terrifying ,after her longtime friend Abraham (Iván Pellicer) gets a new girlfriend named Anchi (Chacha Huang). This leads to a series of strange events, including out-of-body experiences, and the mysterious death of Abraham's abusive dad.
13 'The Doll'
Anya (Shandy Aulia) and Daniel (Denny Sumargo) just moved into their new house in Bandung in this Malaysian movie. Daniel, who works in construction, decides to bring home a doll he finds from a tree while working. Anya, who is a a professional doll maker, happily welcomes the doll to their household. But later they learn that the toy was once owned by a little girl named Uci (Faiza Mahnur), who was brutally murdered along with her family. Strange supernatural events then begin to take place.
Lee Chung (Hyun Bin) is a Prince of Joseon, but he has been taken hostage to the Qing Dynasty in China. After over ten years of being imprisoned abroad, he is able to return to his country and kingdom after his brother Lee Young (Kim Tae-Woo) takes the throne. But going home isn't as comforting as he thought it would be as a zombie outbreak unfolds.
A group of kids explore an abandoned house in the hopes of winning a reality show contest. To win, they must prove that the stories of the evil Kuntilanak — a female vampiric ghost in Indonesian mythology who died while pregnant — is real. They soon discover that the ghost is very much real when it appears from an old mirror in the house, and it proceeds to haunt them.
16 'The Ritual'
In this British movie, a group of four college friends decide to go on a trip to the mountains, hiking in honor of the fifth member, who they tragically lost. But on the way back down, one of them gets a sprained ankle, and they decide to go through the woods. What they don't know is that a menacing presence awaits them there.
Fifteen-year-old Verónica (Sandra Escacena) is still mourning her father's death in this Spanish film, but because her mother's busy working away at a small local bar, she's responsible for her little twin sisters Irene (Claudia Placer) and Lucía (Bruna González), and her brother Antoñito (Iván Chavero). But in June 1991, when a rare solar eclipse happens, she decides to do something somewhat irresponsible and plays with a Ouija board with a couple of friends in the hopes of contacting her father. This little game then plunges her into the supernatural realm as demonic possessors itch to cross over from the other side and an evil entity begins to infect everyone around Verónica.
18 '23:59: The Haunting Hour'
This Singaporean horror film is an anthology of stories, a follow-up to 2011's 23:59. The narrator, Tommy (Fabian Loo) is a soldier serving his country's national service, but on weekends he posts horror stories on his blog. The first story is set in 1967, when two recruits (Noah Yap and Eric Lee) awaken a dark force from World War II, which leads to horrific consequences. The second story is set in the 1980s, in which a commander (Mark Lee) returns to Singapore after an overseas jungle training, unknowingly taking with him a vengeful animal spirit. The final story is Tommy's own reality, and deals with the monsters of social media.
From India, Harsh Tandon (Javed Jaaferi) is successful businessman, a workaholic, and an insomniac. This leads him to often see strange faces. As a psychiatrist suggests, he goes on a family vacation with his wife Shalini (Niki Walia), son Sam (Rishab Chadha), daughter Tanu (Meenakshi Dikshit), and his daughter's photographer boyfriend Rahul (Karan Aanand). But their car breaks down, and they are forced to stay in an out house owned by a suspicious person Dev (Vijay Raaz). After they settle down, they begin to experience strange things.
A young photographer named Tun (Ananda Everingham) and his girlfriend Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) discover mysterious shadows in their photographs ever since they fled from a tragic accident. As they investigate, they find that other photos contain the same shadows, and that Thun's best friends are also being haunted. Jane soon discovers that her boyfriend has not told her everything, and both of them learn the hard way that you can not escape your past. This Thai original was remade in 2008 starring Joshua Jackson.
21 'Horror Story'
Despite the rumors, seven youngsters decide it's a good idea to spend a night in an abandoned haunted hotel in this Bollywood film. On the night of their misadventure, it dawns on them too late that the rumors are true, and they realize they are not alone inside the hotel.
In this South Korean movie, Kim Byong-gook (Bae Seong-woo) works as section chief, but his colleagues don't like him much. Though he's believed to be a family man, one day, Byong-gook slaughters his whole family and then disappears. Detective Jong-hoon (Park Sung-woong) investigates the case, and also asking Kim's colleagues about possible clues, but they're all no help, with the exception of Lee Mi-rae (Go Ah-sung) who the detective suspects is hiding something from him. While watching the CCTV-Tapes, Jong-hoon discovers that Byong-gook entered the office building — but never came out again.
23 23. 'Dabbe: The Possession'
On her henna night before her wedding, Kübra (Elçin Atamgüç) is possessed by a demon, in this film from Turkey. She winds up stabbing her husband-to-be multiple times. Kübra‘s childhood friend from Kıbledere village, Ebru (Irmak Örnek), is a psychiatrist and wants to observe Kübra, and film her as exorcist Faruk (Ali Murat Özgen) tries to expel the demon from her. Ebru and Faruk reach the house where Kübra and her family live, and all hell breaks loose.
24 'Dabbe 5'
In a sequel, housewife Dilek (Nil Guünal) suddenly starts to feel a mysterious presence in a specific room in her house. Though her husband Omer (Ümit Bulent Dincer) refuses to agree with her, the situation grows worse. They find out that, an ancient paranormal creature called the Jinn, has cursed Dilek. They seek for a way to cure her, but instead they uncover a shocking event from Dilek's early life.
25 25. 'Dabbe 6'
After witnessing the death of her mother at the hands of supernatural forces, a young girl is terrorized by strange and terrible events. And so a doctor, who has treated another girl with a similar experience, is summoned by the rest of the family. But this only leads to the unraveling of a dark secret from their disturbing past.
These creepy films aren't even all of the creepy international selections available on Netflix. There are more foreign, genre-defying films, like scary Thai comedies and German thrillers. So when you're done putting these movies on your watch list, you should venture further out and look for other international shows and films to add to your rotation.