Whatever time of year it is, there’s something about that delicious thrill of fear you feel when you watch a well-crafted horror film. But what if you’ve already watched the best Stephen King movies and are looking for something a little more… exotic?
While Hollywood has always produced a robust catalog of horror films, it is far from the only film industry to dabble in the genre. So here are the best horror films from around the world that you can watch right now on Netflix.
1. Diary of an Exorcist – Zero (2016, Portuguese)
Written and directed by Renato Siqueira, Diary of an Exorcist – Zero claims to be based on true life events. It tells the story of Father Lucas Vidal as he recounts his experiences early in his career that led him to become one of the most celebrated exorcists in Latin America.
Diary of an Exorcist is a different take on the demon-possession genre. The chilling tale of a young Vidal and his various encounters with the unholy are skillfully revealed by the director. It’s a world where the devil is not only real but an ever-present threat. Vidal must hold on to his faith even as the forces of darkness take possession of the people closest to him.
2. A Dark Song (2016, English)
This film is the directorial debut of Irish/Welsh director Liam Gavin. A woman grieving the untimely death of her child turns to an occultist to contact her guardian angel through an elaborate ritual. If performed correctly, the woman will be able to right her past wrongs. But a single mistake would unleash the forces of the underworld.
The movie builds up the suspense as the mother and the occultist perform all manners of horrific acts in the name of the ritual. Most of the action takes place inside the woman’s home. The gory, disturbing tale finally winds up in the last twenty minutes with a surprisingly graceful ending.
3. Raw (2016, French)
Raw tells the tale of a young woman’s descent into cannibalism. But don’t expect a regular dumb horror movie take on the gory subject. The script for Raw is one of the smartest I’ve seen in recent times. Justine is a first-year veterinary student from a family of vegetarians. After being forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney, she finds herself developing a taste for meat, both animal and human.
The story unfolds as a metaphor for a girl coming of age. It trades over-the-top gore for a stylish and sexy direction style. You won’t get a lot of jump scares, but there’s definitely a lot of meat here for horror-movie aficionados to bite into.
4. Under the Shadow (2016, Persian)
If you like your horror with a dose of social commentary, look no further than Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow. A young mother is living alone in an apartment with her daughter in Iran in the 1980s. A bombing attack near her house causes cracks to appear in the ceiling. And then a hoard of evil spirits are unleashed on the house.
The movie is a slow-burner that carefully builds up the psychological horror faced by an isolated mother-daughter duo. You get to see how it’s not just the spirits, but the entire religiously oppressive fundamentalist society that is tormenting the characters of the movie.
5. The Wailing (2016, Korean, Japanese)
The life of an easy-going policeman, Jong-goo, in rural Korea is turned upside when residents of the village apparently begin to experience demonic possession. With more deaths occurring every day, Jong-goo runs haplessly from one horrific disaster to another trying to locate the source of the evil.
Directed in Na Hong-jin’s celebrated madcap style, The Wailing has you laughing one minute and shuddering in horror the next. There’s also a nice little mystery to keep you engrossed. The film stretches on a little too long towards the end, but the journey up to that point is entertaining.
6. Veronica (2017, Spanish)
Veronica made the news for audiences walking out of it halfway through out of sheer fright. Directed by Paco Plaza, the film is the story of a young girl trying to contact her father from beyond. Naturally, things go wrong, and soon enough horrific demons start making their presence felt.
The excellent direction and acting of the cast make this one of the scariest films on Netflix. The atmosphere of horror skillfully builds to a crescendo with each new demon sighting. And just in case you go to sleep telling yourself the movie was just fiction, remember the “Based on real events” banner that shows up in the film. Happy nightmares…
7. Train to Busan (2016, Korean)
Probably the most well-known film on this list. Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan caused quite a sensation when it was released in 2016. The passengers of a train on its way to Busan find themselves confronted with a zombie apocalypse. The movie follows the desperate attempts of the passengers to survive the apocalypse while keeping their loved ones safe.
The film features plenty of fast-paced action and also has a strong emotional core. If you’re still not convinced, Edgar Wright, who directed Shaun of the Dead, called Train to Busan the best zombie movie he has ever seen.
8. The Ravenous (2017, French)
Competing with Train to Busan for the title of “Best Zombie Horror Film of the Last Decade” is Robin Aubert’s The Ravenous. It tells the story of a small town in rural Quebec that has to deal with, you guessed it, a zombie outbreak.
Replete with excellent performances, cutting social commentary, and a boldly cinematic direction style, the movie won a slew of awards upon release. The Ravenous manages to be funny, scary, and philosophical in equal measure. This one is a must watch not just for horror fans, but for fans of good cinema in general.
Other Netflix Genres to Explore
While these are the best foreign horror films available right now, when it comes to Netflix you don’t need to stop with the horror genre. You can even explore secret Netflix genres without breaking a sweat.
Unfortunately, many of the shows and movies on Netflix are only accessible to viewers in certain regions of the world. To get around this problem, you can use a VPN to watch Netflix anywhere.
And if you’re really new to the streaming service check out our ultimate guide to Netflix.