While most horror movies on Netflix are campy and yawn–inducing (I’m looking at you, The Babysitter), a new subset of the genre is gaining popularity: foreign–language horror. These select viewings are all highly rated by critics and audience members alike, and are guaranteed to make a chill creep down your spine.
(TW: intense gore)
This French film centers around vet student and avid vegetarian Justine. When forced to eat raw meat as part of a hazing ritual, she begins to crave human flesh and will stop at nothing to fulfill her desires. One reviewer describes the film as “a fascinating and intoxicating tale of cannibalism.” One caveat—you may want to watch this film on an empty stomach.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%
If you like zombies, this one’s for you. This Korean film follows a group of passengers on a train to—you guessed it—Busan. An infected woman boards the train and the virus spreads quickly throughout the cars, causing a feeding frenzy. The passengers’ only hope is to stay alive long enough to make it to their destination, where a safe zone has been established.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95%
This Persian film centers around The War of The Cities, a series of real–life air raids on Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait. After a missile hits the main character’s home, her superstitious neighbor warns her that the missile is cursed by a djinn, a demon–like creature in Islamic mythology. This film boasts outstanding ratings and is praised for touching on the “horrors of war and gender oppression,” not just jump scares and demons. While English audio is offered on Netflix, I recommend watching it in the original Persian for a more authentic experience. Even as an avid horror fan myself, I can definitively say that this is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99% (!)
Based on true events from the 1991 Vallecas case—the only police report in Spain that cites paranormal activity—this Spanish film is sure to make you sleep with a light on. Fifteen year-old Veronica is mourning the death of her father, so she does what any angsty teen would do— attempts to summon him via Ouija board. Unsurprisingly, this goes horribly wrong, and Veronica must fend off an evil demon while protecting her three young siblings.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88%
Although only one TV show made it on this list, it's well worth the watch. This Netflix–produced series is set in Korea’s medieval Joseon period, which spans sometime between the 1300–1800s. The show centers around the Crown Prince’s mission to investigate a mysterious plague and protect his corrupted kingdom (spoiler alert: it’s zombies, it's always zombies). With stunning cinematography and a multi–dimensional plot, this show has been extremely well–received, with one critic boasting, “Kingdom offers a period drama, a zombie show, and a tense atmosphere that will keep you watching until you’re done with this season.” If you're sick of The Walking Dead as much as I am, this is definitely a must–see.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 80%