The 12 Best Foreign Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now

Though there’s never a bad time to partake in a horror movie marathon, even lukewarm-to-the-genre audiences can’t resist indulging in a few cheap thrills once October rolls around. And while a 1,000th viewing of John Carpenter’s Halloween is probably—and rightly—on your to-do list, why not mix things up this year and see what terror looks like on the other side of the world. Here are 12 of our favorite foreign horror movies that can be found streaming on Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu right now.

Train to Busan (2016)

Whether it’s the CDC building in The Walking Dead or a California amusement park in Zombieland, the so-called “safe zone” is a well-worn trope in the zombie subgenre. In Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan, it’s—surprise!—the South Korean resort city of Busan that is rumored to be the one place that managed to keep the walking dead at bay. Fortunately, that happens to be just where absentee dad Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) and his young daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) are headed, so that Su-an can see her mom. But their uneventful train ride turns into an all-hell-hath-broken-loose scenario when a woman with a leg bite makes her way onto the train, then starts chomping down on her fellow passengers. There’s not a lot of room to run or places to hide on a bullet train, and Sang-ho uses the film’s claustrophobic setting to great effect in this South Korean masterpiece that manages to be both a terrifying horror film and a bittersweet (albeit blood-soaked) family drama.
Where to stream: Netflix

The Orphanage (2007)

Oscar-winning horror fiend Guillermo del Toro produced this unsettling Spanish thriller, which sees a woman named Laura (Belén Rueda) return to the now-shuttered orphanage where she grew up—with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and their adopted son Simón (Roger Príncep) in tow—to breathe new life into the institution that help other abandoned children and wannabe parents find each other. But it doesn’t take long for Simón to start acting out in increasingly bizarre ways. While his parents initially write his behavior off to his new surroundings, it quickly becomes clear—at least to the audience—that something is seriously amiss. Laura, determined to find out just what is going on inside the boy’s head, ends up being forced to confront some secrets from her past that she had long ago repressed. Like so many of del Toro’s other productions, The Orphanage strikes a unique balance between genuine drama and outright terror. And while creepy kids are right up there with scary masks as elements that can ratchet up the terror in any film, The Orphanage doubles down and gives us both—a creepy kid in a scary mask. Make it stop!
Where to stream: Hulu

Baskin (2015)

Turkish cinema is having a moment, and this surreal horror gem by director Can Evrenol is a perfect example of why. What begins as a familiar cop movie scene involving five officers swapping stories about their sexual conquests (one of which involves a chicken) quickly shifts gears when the group is called to assist a nearby squad in the notorious town of Inceagac. The officers make their way to an abandoned building where they (stupidly) split up then each proceed to experience their own version of hell. Just when the psychological torment seems to be too much to bear, the film shifts gears yet again. Truly, the less you know about Baskin (which translates to “police raid”) going in, the better. Just be prepared to expect the unexpected.
Where to stream: Hulu

Deep Red (1975)

On his way home from a bar in Rome, British pianist Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) witnesses the brutal murder of psychic Helga Ulmann (Macha Méril) and runs to help her, but he’s too late. An over-eager reporter photographs Marcus at the scene, and runs a story about the crime the next day which identifies Marcus as the key witness—a statement that piques the interest of the murderer. In the hands of another director, Deep Red, with its sometimes needlessly overcomplicated plot, could come off as laughable at times. But it’s a story that’s perfectly matched to the sensibilities of Italian giallo god Dario Argento. With his wild style and willingness to plumb the depths of depravity, Deep Red is the film that set the bar for just how far Argento is willing to go to squeeze a few screams out of his audience. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t take much. Whereas other Argento projects have dispensed with the need for any truly logical or compelling storytelling (bless you, Suspiria), Deep Red is the exception. Yet it also inspired the dozens of slasher films that followed it. And that famous exploding brain scene from David Cronenberg’s Scanners? It took a cue from Deep Red, too. (You’ll know the scene when you see it.)
Where to stream: Amazon Prime

Opera (1987)

If Deep Red leaves you jonesing for a little more Argento, Amazon Prime’s got a solid collection of titles: The Cat O’ Nine Tails (1971), Inferno (1980), Phenomena (1985), and Trauma (1994) for starters. But Opera should be your next stop. When understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) is elevated to the lead role of Lady Macbeth in an operatic performance of the famed Verdi production, it seems as if she’s on top of the world. Or at least she is until an unhinged assassin starts stalking her and knocking off the people around her in a variety of bizarre and revolting ways—while keeping Betty’s eyes pinned open so that she has to watch it all happen. The film is just as kinetic as Argento’s other movies, only here he gets to set much of the homicidal action within the lush four walls of an opera house, creating a setting that is perfectly suited to Argento’s dynamic style.
Where to stream: Amazon Prime

Verónica (2017)

After the untimely death of her father, Verónica (Sandra Escacena) is forced to grow up a bit too fast. With her mother working long hours to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of the teen and her three young siblings, Verónica is left to look after the kids. While the rest of her schoolmates are looking up at an eclipse, Verónica and some friends hold an impromptu séance in a disused part of their school, where they seem to conjure up an evil spirit that only has eyes for Verónica and sets about insinuating itself into her life and family. Paco Plaza’s Verónica made headlines in 2018, with many Netflix viewers reporting that they were too terrified to watch the movie all the way through. While that might be a bit of an oversell, the Spanish supernatural horror film does succeed in offering up sincere scares. They’re just not necessarily the kind where you’re going to need to have 911 on speed dial.
Where to stream: Netflix

High Tension (2005)

BFFs Marie (Cécile de France) and Alex (Maïwenn) have some serious cramming to do, so they leave the city and head for the quiet of the country to spend the weekend with Alex’s family. But once everyone heads off to bed, a serial killer comes knocking to violently murder Alex’s family then take off with the girls in his truck. The more time they spend being held hostage, the more we learn about the killer—and what led to the girls’ life-or-death predicament. Sticking the landing is one of the toughest tasks a horror director has, and where a lot of them fail. And while the overall effect of a film is usually based on the success of just how well it wraps itself up, High Tension—which was directed by Alexandre Aja before he made the jump to Hollywood—makes up for its rather messy and illogical conclusion (not to mention its bad dubbing) by scaring the hell out of you for the 60-plus minutes leading up to the twist ending.
Where to stream: Amazon Prime

The Ritual (2017)

Six months after the brutal murder of their friend, four university pals make a plan to celebrate his memory with a hiking trip through Sweden’s King’s Trail. Things get off to a rocky start when Dom (Sam Troughton) injures his knee, making it difficult for him to walk. In order to shorten their path back to civilization, Hutch (Robert James-Collier—best known as Downton Abbey’s dastardly Thomas Barrow) comes up with an alternate route … which takes the group deep into the forest, where they’re confronted with gutted animals, crudely drawn symbols on trees, and other ritualistic ephemera. Anyone who has seen The Blair Witch Project can probably guess that things don’t get much better the further the group presses on. The story is a somewhat familiar one, but the film—directed by David Bruckner—is a finely crafted, well-acted (Rafe Spall and Arsher Ali co-star), and genuinely creepy supernatural thriller.
Where to stream: Netflix

Évolution (2015)

Lucile Hadžihalilović plays with gender dynamics in fascinating, and terrifying, ways in Évolution. Part coming-of-age film, part morbid fairy tale, the story follows a young boy named Nicolas (Max Brebant) who lives with his mother (Julie-Marie Parmentier) on a remote island where the population is comprised of only women and young boys. Yet Nicolas is the only one who finds this odd, and begins to question why there are no men or young girls. As any serious horror fan knows, some questions are better left unasked so that they will remain unanswered. But that would leave us plot-less. The film moves at a glacial pace, which isn’t a bad thing, as it allows you to bask in the beauty of Hadžihalilović’s nature-documentary-like imagery and makes the buildup to the truth about what’s going on in this seemingly idyllic island that much more dramatic.
Where to stream: Hulu

The Canal (2014)

Dublin-born filmmaker Ivan Kavanagh channels an old-school haunted house feel with this inventive horror-mystery. The Man in the High Castle’s Rupert Evans stars as a film archivist who discovers that the home he shares with his wife and son was once the site of a gruesome murder in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, whatever dark spirits once inhabited the house—or its owners—seem to have resurrected themselves.
Where to stream: Amazon Prime

Ravenous (2017)

When zombies take over a rural town in upstate Quebec, the uninfected residents make their way into the woods in an attempt to find other survivors (and to fight off some flesh-eating corpses when the moment calls for it). Not to be confused with the awesomely bad Guy Pearce film of the same name from 1999, Robin Aubert’s allegorical zombie film (the zombies are a stand-in for political upheaval) has been compared to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead on more than one occasion, which is undoubtedly the highest compliment any zombie movie (or just plain movie) could ever get.
Where to stream: Netflix

Emelie (2016)

The psychotic babysitter is hardly a brand-new character invention, but it works well when done right because it taps into every parent’s worst nightmare: someone hurting their children. Dan (Chris Beetem) and Joyce Thompson (Susan Pourfar) head out for a night on the town, leaving their three children in the care of a seemingly sweet babysitter named Anna. Except Anna is actually Emelie (Sarah Bolger), a homicidal psychopath who is about as far away from Mary Poppins as you can get. While their parents are off chatting about having “the talk” with their teenage son, who they believe has been watching internet porn, the kids are back at home with Emelie who is showing them a sex tape their dad made with a woman who is not their mom. Yes, it’s twisted—but it’s anchored by great performances from Bolger and the youngsters who play the kids (Joshua Rush, Carly Adams, and Thomas Bair), which only makes it all the more effective.
Where to stream: Netflix


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