10 Best Non-English-Language Horror Movies, According to Rotten Tomatoes (2023)

Many of horror's greatest triumphs have come in non-English-language pictures, and there is always something new to see fromforeign markets. Many non-English-language horror films are made scarier by theadditional cultural contexts that come with their countries of origin.

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From chilling ghost stories such as The Ring to horrifying zombie flicks likeTrain To Busan, the international horror never stops. Though there are a lot of classic chillers from around the world, some gained much higher scores on Rotten Tomatoes.


REC (2007) - 90%

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Generally considered one of the best found footage movies of all time,RECwent above and beyond its shaky camera contemporaries. A local TV reporter and a camera operator follow emergency response workers into a Madrid apartment building, only to be trapped inside with a horror beyond comprehension.

While a lot of viewers are turned off by the found footage phenomena,RECshowed that the gimmick could actually be scary. Essentially a zombie film,the movie uses its locations to perfection and delivers legitimate chills amongst its haunted house style jump scares. Not afraid to push things to extremely dark places, the film is a suspenseful and harrowing experience.

Hour Of The Wolf (1968) - 92%

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Legendary director Ingmar Bergman was a dabbler when it came to genres in his movies, and he even made a quick detour into pure horror with his filmHour of the Wolf. The film follows an artist who travels to a remote German island with his pregnant wife. While there, he begins a slow spiral into madness that leads him down a surreal rabbit hole.

Though not like most other horror films of its kind,Hour ofthe Wolf's surrealist logic is eerie. The tone of the film is typical Bergman, and the film slowly moves towardsits horrific finale. What it lacks in over-the-top scares, it makes up for it in a slowly creeping sense of dread that stays with the viewer long after the movie ends.

The Devil's Backbone (2001) - 92%

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Typically ranked among director Guillermo Del Toro's best films,The Devil's Backboneis a spooky ghost story with historical context. A young boy is sent to a creepy orphanage after his father is killed in the Spanish Civil War. Once there, he discovers that the orphanage has a dark secret and is haunted by a specter.

The Devil's Backboneis not a scare-a-minute movie, but it does an excellent job of building tension. Watching the main character uncover the mystery is enough to keep the viewer engaged between appearances from the film's creepy ghosts. As for the ghosts, the film takes the tired trope of creepy children and completely reinvents the chilling concept.

Suspiria (1977) - 93%

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Director Dario Argento's unique brand of horror was partially responsible for the much respected sub-genre known as Giallo, andSuspiriawas the culmination of his creative efforts. An American ballet student begins studying at a prestigious German dance school, only to find that it is a front for a sinister plot involving the supernatural and murder.

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Not necessarily the most tightly plotted film of all time, what the film lacks in structure it more than makes up for in Argento's filmmaking style. Flashy and beautiful to look at, the film adheres to a dream logic that pays off in the end. On top of the horrific slasher sequences, the film's score helps to ratchet up the tension.

Train To Busan (2016) - 94%

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The zombie film has been a played out sub-genre for years, butTrain to Busanproved that unconventional zombie films could still defy expectations. A busy father travels with his young daughter across South Korea on a bullet train. While onboard, a zombie virus breaks out and sends the passengers on a wild ride through a post apocalyptic landscape.

Like the classic George Romero zombie films, humans are still the biggest threat in a zombie apocalypse, andthe film is filled with gripping drama. With the world infested with fast moving zombies, there is a dark hopelessness to the journey that makes the film as heart wrenching as it is heart stopping.

Diabolique (1955) - 96%

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Diaboliqueis a rare horror film that truly proves the adage that less is more. When the wife and mistress of a school master conspire to kill him, the duo believes that they have the perfect alibi for the crime. Unfortunately for the killers, their guilt comes back to haunt them in the form of the dead man's ghost.

Slow moving and suspenseful, the film creeps up on the viewer with an increasing sense of impending doom. The grey and dreary visuals help to add to the haunted nature of the story, and everything builds to a truly shocking climax. While tame compared to modern horror films,Diaboliqueachieves a level of suspense that few films could muster.

The Ring (1998) - 97%

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Ghost stories have been a part of cinema since the beginning, but few films reinvented the haunting quite likeThe Ring. A reporter and her ex-husband get on the trail of a mysterious video tape that is said to kill anyone seven days after they watch it.

The Ring's power comes from its unflinching suspense, and the inevitability of its horror. The ghosts in the film are some of the most unique that have ever been seen in cinema, and the imagery burns into the viewers mind forever. In a testament to the power of the film, even the watered down American remake was a certified chiller.

Let The Right One In (2008) - 98%

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In a time when the vampire's creepy reputation had been somewhat tarnished,Let the Right One Inshowed they could still be scary. A young boy is bullied by his classmates and forms a relationship with a strange girl who helps him get revenge against those that wronged him.

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By focusing its story on two children, the film is made doubly spooky. The snowy landscapes of Scandinavia are the perfect backdrop for a blood soaked horror story, and the film is a beautiful glimpse into madness. Simplicity is key, andLet the Right One Inknew exactly where to go big with its nightmarish premise.

Eyes Without A Face (1960) - 98%

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Free from gore and free from jump scares,Eyes Without a Faceis nevertheless a terrifying journey. A surgeon accidentally leaves his young daughter disfigured, and decides to go to extreme lengths to get her a new face--even resorting to murder.

Coming as one of the most terrifying French films of all time,Eyes Without a Facehad a tremendous impact on horror cinema. Though she isn't a villain, Louise's expressionless face creepily foreshadows the masks of future slashers like Michael Myers. Using subtlety throughout, the film isn't overtly horrifying and is instead a creepy descent into murder and mayhem.

The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920) - 99%

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Standing as proof that film is ultimately a visual medium,The Cabinet of Dr. Caligariis one of the most terrifying silent films of all time. An evil hypnotist named Dr. Caligari uses a man under his sway to commit a series of crimes against the people that wronged him.

Though the film is thin in the plot department, it is filled with a rich tapestry of dreamlike imagery. The German Expressionist style of filmmaking included painted shadows and warped sets that give the entire film a stagefeel.Caligariwould forever shape the horror landscape, and would even inspire future filmmakers like Tim Burton to incorporate the Expressionist style into his movies.

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