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 of American horror movies take inspiration from other culture's folklore (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 definitely help.
From award nominees like
Cargo 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. Love this list? to save these recs to your own watchlist and follow Create a Likewise account Bustle for more. You'll always know exactly what to watch next. 1 The 3rd Eye
After her parents pass away, 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 especially scary? It's supposedly based on true events. 2 The 3rd Eye 2 This sequel to takes Alia (Jessica Mila) to an orphanage where she’s working and tasked with helping a teen (Nabilah Ayu) who claims to hear a voice in the walls of the building. Alia’s younger sister Abel (Bianca Hello) and spiritual advisor Mrs. Windu (Citra Prima) are also back for this frightful film. And yes, Alia and Abel’s third eyes are still open for more chills in The 3rd Eye The 3rd Eye 2. 3 Suzanna Buried Alive
3rd Eye and Doll franchise director Rocky Soraya also helmed another scary flick called . The title sounds just as spine-tingling as one would imagine the premise. The spirit of a murdered pregnant woman named Suzzanna (Luna Maya) returns to the land of the living in order to avenge her death. Suzzanna Buried Alive
However, because of her “sundel bolong” status (a dead woman spirit), Suzzanna can’t murder her killers on her own. Instead, she can either will others to kill them or see to it that they kill one another. As a result, Suzzanna’s killers plot to send her spirit back to the underworld it came from for good.
4 Krasue: Inhuman Kiss
In a remote village in Thailand, teenage girl Sai (Phantira Pipityakorn) discovers she inherited the curse of Krasue. And so at night, her head detaches from her body in search of flesh and blood. The villagers become frightened by the death of their livestock, and the Krasue hunt begins. The
Thai romantic horror movie was entered for the Best International Feature Film category at the 92nd Academy Awards. Even though it didn’t win the award, it’s still worth watching for the supernatural thrills and romantic subplot. 5 Stree
Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor star in
this Hindi-language horror film based on an urban legend hailing from the Indian state of Karnataka. As the tale goes, a female spirit descends upon a small town once a year to abduct men who all live in fear of her. A young tailor doesn’t believe the stories until he encounters her himself. With equal parts horror and comedy, Stree also spawned two spiritual successors in 2021 and 2022, set in a shared universe: Roohi and Bhediya. 6 Under the Shadow
Set against the Iran-Iraq conflict in the 1980s,
follows a woman and her infant daughter who are being haunted by a mysterious spirit while her husband is at war. The film won acclaim for its script and features many hallmarks of a good horror film including a haunted house and erratic behavior from a child, and also dives into Persian “djinn” lore. Under the Shadow 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. 8 Cargo
After an epidemic grips 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.
is based on the 2013 short film, which was a Tropfest Australia finalist in 2013. It was nominated for five Australian Academy of Cinema of Television Arts Awards (think: Australia’s version of the Academy Awards) and two Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. Cargo 9 Living in Bondage: Breaking Free
The Nollywood supernatural movie features a young man named Nnamdi Okeke (Swanky J.K.A.) driven to material wealth and career success. He’s also guided by a powerful business magnate, but his hunger for power on his own accord leads him down a dark path.
is the sequel to 1992 Nigerian classic Living in Bondage: Breaking Free Living in Bondage. 10 Hospital
“Looking for your dead relatives might cost your life,” says a caption in the
trailer for . In the film, a group of visitors descends to an abandoned hospital to talk with the spirits of loved ones who have passed in Brody Chu’s 2020 Hospital Taiwanese horror. However, the hospital really isn’t empty, as supernatural forces also pay a visit to shake things up, corpse water and all. 11 Errementari
In this Spanish-French period piece, 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.
is based on Basque folklore Errementari The Smith and the Devil about a blacksmith who makes a deal with the devil. 12 Animas
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.
reported in 2019 that Consequence of Sound is “quite often” scary, especially at the beginning stages of the film, and adds that the story “moves at a breathless pace.” So, anyone searching for a breathtaking thriller to binge on Netflix is surely in luck with this movie. Animas 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 professional dollmaker, 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. 14 The Doll 2 picks up from its predecessor, but this time a brand new doll is wreaking chaos for a mother who uses it to communicate with her dead daughter. The results are just as terrifying, if not more so, than within The Doll 2 The Doll. The Doll 2 is the prequel to the third movie, . Sabrina
If you loved
The Doll and other movies such as The Boy, Chucky, and Annabelle franchises, The Doll series should scare you into a delighted frenzy. 15 Sabrina
In the Indonesian horror flick
, Maira (Luna Maya) lives with her partner Aiden (Christian Sugiono), a dollmaker 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. Sabrina 16 Kuntilanak
A group of kids explores 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 — are 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. 17 The Ritual
British movie, a group of four college friends (Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton) 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. 18 Verónica
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 an 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. 19 Eerie
An unexpected and gruesome death-by-suicide at a Catholic school rocks the all-female student body in this Filipino horror film. The students suspect that the abusive Mother is to blame until the clairvoyant guidance counselor connects with a spirit who has been haunting the school for years, uncovering a much darker history.
is chilling and, well, eerie, and perfect for your horror cravings. Eerie 20 U-Turn
An ambitious journalist’s (Kim Chiu) quest for reporting the news after a spate of suicides becomes treacherous in this
Filipino movie directed by Roderick Cabrido. Donna Suarez is dedicated to her job at Daily Journal Online and needs to know the reason behind a large number of unexplained deaths. Watch this 2020 chiller from beginning to end to find out if Suarez’s need to uncover the truth results in her demise. 21 Aurora
Another Filipino horror entry,
Aurora follows two sisters Leana and Rita who live on a remote island. A ship named “Aurora” crashes on their island and they offer aid to the survivors, but Rita’s ability to see dead people threatens their survival. Aurora is what The Lighthouse meets The Sixth Sense with a little bit of The Walking Dead thrown in would look like — aka your next movie night pick. 22 Pizza
This is one movie where a late pizza delivery would be the least of anyone’s problems. The 2014 Bollywood film
Pizza is a tale of a pizza delivery boy (Akshay Oberoi) who finds himself trapped in a house while making a routine run. Viewers may never look at a box of fresh, piping hot pie the same again after watching this movie. The Bollywood version on Netflix is a remake of the 2012 Indian-Tamil language movie of the same name. 23 Cadaver
nuclear disaster leads to an apocalyptic world where people are hungry, work is non-existent, and survival is at the forefront of everyone’s mind in this Norwegian horror drama. When one family seizes the opportunity to attend a play, with a meal to eat included, they are met with other fear-inducing obstacles to overcome. Cadaver features Vikings star Thorbjorn Harr and Thomas Gullestad of The 12th Man. 24 Dabbe: The Possession
On her henna night before her wedding, Kübra (Elçin Atamgüç) is possessed by a demon and 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 in this
film from Turkey. 25 Dabbe 5
the sequel to Dabbe: The Possession, 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 a way to cure her but instead uncover a shocking event from Dilek's early life.
These creepy films aren't even all of the spooky 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.
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This article was originally published on
Aug. 6, 2019