30 French Horror Movies for November - Talk in French
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30 French Horror Movies for November

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Bonjour French learners, ca va bien? I hope you are doing well in this chilly month of November. So, what is your plan for Halloween?

For most people, Halloween means trick or treating, Halloween costume parties, or slumber parties packed with spooky tales and horror movies. Despite all the fun to be had, for French people, we do not celebrate Halloween (after all, when I was young we did not have it, and I am not so old!).

Instead, we celebrate “Toussaint” the day after; a deeper and solemn ritual of remembering the dead by visiting their tombs and offering some time with them. Anyhow I use this time of the year to introduce and celebrate horror, thriller, and suspense films.

In contemporary France, horror movies often take the form of a horror sub genre known as the “New French Extremity”. The term New French Extremity was first coined by James Quandt. This sub genre differentiates itself from more mainstream depictions of horror and suspense by incorporating perspectives showing the true extent of the brutality of man.

This genre has proved controversial because of the amount of sex, brutality, and violence within their films. However, the New French Extremity movement is regarded as stylish and inventive in nature, even if its extremities to often seem to serve as a deliberate assault upon the viewer!

Let’s take a look on the development of French horror-thriller cinematography as we delve in my new list of movies to watch and learn from this month.

Warning: These movies are full of explicit images of gore, sex, and violent acts which might not be suitable for all viewers.

If you want a different set of movies—a longer list for the entire year—then this FREE e-book 365 Days of French Movies would be perfect for you.


free French movies list e-book download pdf[/thrive_2step]

 

Day 1: Frontiere (Frontiers)

Directed and written by: Xavier Gens
Year: 2007

Frontiere (Frontiers)

Source: horrorphile

When a far-right candidate has been elected as the new French president, it sparks riots and protests, chaos in the cities. A group of young people see this as an opportunity to stage a robbery and make some money to improve their lot. However, their plan did not work out as expected, so they end up splitting up and going on the run. They plan to meet in a motel, but it turns out that the inn is run by a murderous Neo-Nazi family with a fetish for torture and death. In order to survive, they must become as brutal as their captors.

Although “Frontiere” received mix reviews from movie critics and moviegoers, it is still considered one of the most prominent contemporary French horror films due to its social commentary and critique of fascism.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 2: Livide (Livid)

Directed and written by: Alexandre Bustillo and Jul Fien Maury
Year: 2011

Livide (Livid)

Source: hmovie

“Livide” is a French gothic fantasy movie about Lucy, an in-house nurse assigned to look after Mrs. Jessel, an old woman in a coma who resides in a huge, deserted mansion. A rumour about the great wealth of the old woman has corrupted Lucy, enticing her, her boyfriend, and his friend to search for the hidden treasure that’s supposedly contained within one of the lonely mansion’s many locked rooms.

However, the mansion isn’t as deserted as the greedy intruders believed, and strange forces await within to repel the group…

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 3: Trouble Everyday

Directed by: Claire Denis
Written by: Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau
Year: 2001

Trouble Everyday

Source: premiere

Trouble Every Day garnered mixed reactions from critics because of its extreme combination of sex, blood, and death. Some called it a boring, cold, and a pointless film, while others praised its existentialist and unique take on the horror genre and gender roles.

An in-depth analysis of men’s dark side and how some of us let these baser instincts become dominant, the movie revolves around the parallel lives of two couples; each with a partner who suffers from a rare disease that causes them to become cannibalistic when aroused. The movie grows into a crescendo of sex, bloodshed, and death.

Shane, one of the sufferers decides to look for a cure. Will he finally find release, or will the evil desires consume his soul?

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 4: Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows)

Directed by: Louis Malle
Written by: Noel Calef, Louis Malle, and Roger Nimier
Year: 1958

ASCENSEUR_POUR_L'ECHAFAUD

Source: whynotejazz

A noir style film, Ascenseur pour l’echafaud shows how love can sometimes lead us down dangerous paths. Florence and Julien are illicit lovers. However, Florence is married to a wealthy industrialist and the only way for them to be together is by taking her husband out of the equation forever.

The two plan the murder precisely, making it look like suicide. Elaborate alibis, precautions, every aspect is carefully planned to the very last detail. How will the turn of events affect the relationship of the two? I think we can guess that things aren’t going to turn out as well as planned!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 5: Dans Ma Peau (In My Skin)

Directed and written by: Marina de Van
Year: 2004

Dans Ma Peau (In My Skin)

Source: allocine

Dans Ma Peau is a unique theme on its own compared to some of my previous suggestions. Its true horror does not lie in violence but on the consuming fascination of a woman with her body. The plot starts when Esther injures her leg at a party.

Esther’s life seems perfect. She has a loving boyfriend, is expecting a big promotion and a prestigious new client. However, all of these cease to become important when she discovers that she cannot feel any pain. Her body has a weird pain tolerance and she is ready to discover more about it even if it means self-mutilation.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 6: Haute Tension (High Tension / Switchblade Romance )

Directed by: Alexander Aja
Written by: Aexander Aja, Grégory Levasseur
Year: 2003

Haute Tension (High Tension Switchblade Romance )

Source: horrorphile

Two college friends, Marie and Alexa, go on a vacation at Alexa’s parent’s countryside home. While on vacation, they are disturbed by a serial killer. And so begins a horrific game of cat and mouse with the girls having to use every weapon at their disposal to survive the carnage. Bold and original, it is frequently cited as one of the best indie slasher movies of recent years.
The movie has two versions: the final versions released in the U.S. to secure an R rating, and the uncut version which includes the strong graphic violence of the original version of Haute Tension.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 7: Ils (Them)

Directed and written by: David Moreau and Xavier Palud
Year: 2006

Ils (Them)

Source: horror-movies

Supposedly based on true events, and feeling uncomfortably real throughout, this nerve-wracking slasher movie portrays a young middle-class couple’s decent into terror as mysterious hoodies invade their elegant home. Running at a short 70 minutes, the shocks come thick and fast, with the underlying suggestion that we have created a generation incapable of empathy being, perhaps, the most horrific aspect of all.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 8: À l’intérieur (Inside)

Directed by: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Written by: Alexandre Bustillo
Year: 2007

À l'intérieur (Inside)

Source: rato-movieposters

On Christmas Eve, a bereaved, heavily pregnant Sarah prepares for her delivery the following morning. As the night falls, a mysterious woman appears in her door asking to use her phone to call for help. The visitor turns out to be an insane stalker desperate for the baby.

Sarah manages to call the police, but can anyone help her against the monster inside her home? This is horror at its most brutal. Not always credible, but with some interesting ideas for those with (very) strong stomachs.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 9: Captifs (Caged)

Directed by: Yann Gozlan
Written by: Yan Gozlan and Guillaume Lemans
Year: 2010

Captifs (Caged)

Source: filmaffinity

Funded by the former French minister and first head of the UN Mission in Kosovo Bernard Kouchner, Captifs is about a group of medical aid workers in Kosovo kidnapped by a non-Slavic gang of organ traffickers. The French medical team is composed of Carole, Samir, and Dr. Matthias who are returning from Kosovo to Paris by truck.

When they reach a roadblock, they are greeted by a soldier warning them of mines up ahead. In a rush to reach their destination, the group uses an alternative path, and soon become lost. They are abducted and put in dirty cells where they are continuously fed. They do not know the real intention of their abductors until one of them is taken out. The film is set in the former Yugoslavia, and is partially based on true events.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 10: The Monk (2011)

Directed by: Dominik Moll
Written by: Matthew Lewis, Dominik Moll, and Anne-Louise Trividic
Year: 2011

The Monk (2011)

Source: cinemagia

An adaptation of the eponymous gothic novel of Matthew Lewis, The Monk is a chronicle of the life of Capucin Ambrosio. A French-Spanish thriller released on 2011 in both countries, the plot revolves around the life of a well-respected monk in Spain and his moral and spiritual downfall at the hands of the devil.

Capucin Ambrosio is an exceptional preacher raised in the monastery after being abandoned by his mother at the gates. One day, two strange men arrive. Valerio, a masked figure, expresses his desire to join the monastery, but the other monks refuse to accept him. Despite this, Ambrosio convinces them to accept him. However, Valerio is later revealed as a woman and starts to tempt Ambrosio towards corruption and spiritual death.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 11: Mutants

Directed by: David Morlet
Written by: Louis-Paul Desanges and David Morlet
Year: 2009

Mutants_AD_Schuber-vorab.qxd:Layout 1

Source: scary-movies

After an unknown virus reduces the world to flesh eating zombies, a young couple travel to seek refuge in a remote military base. Sonica is pregnant while Marco has been bitten by a mutant. Ultimately, they find an abandoned building to hide. However, Marco is slowly transforming into a mutant and is clearly becoming a threat not just to Sonia but to her unborn child as well.

At what point will Marco cease to be human? When does keeping someone alive for personal reasons become immoral? With as much drama as a horror movie, it asks some uncomfortable questions about our modern desire to cure all suffering.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 12: Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal (Don’t Deliver Us from Evil)

Directed and written by: Joël Séria
Year: 1971

Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal (Don't Deliver Us from Evil)

Source: subscene

One of the oldest movies in my list is “Don’t Deliver Us From Evil”. The plot involves two young convent girls, Lore and Anne, who, after entering a convent,vow to worship Satan. The girls love to play sadistic pranks like spying on the nuns, getting a classmate into trouble, reading pornographic novels, and even seducing a mentally challenged man then killing his beloved birds one by one to please their unholy master. Soon their allegiance to Satan causes them to be involved with arson and murder. The behaviour of the girls deteriorates as they deepen their pact with the Devil.

The movie “Don’t Deliver Us from Evil” was banned by the French authorities at its time of release because of the perceived blasphemy and anti-clerical tone of the film as well as its overall subversive nature. The movie was subsequently touted to the world as “The French Film Banned in France”, predictably attracting more people to watch the film. This is not a film for highly religious persons.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 13: Coup de Torchon (Clean Slate)

Directed by: Bertrand Tavernier
Written by: Bertrand Tavernier and Jean Aurenche
Year: 1981

Coup de Torchon (Clean Slate)

Source: cartelesmix

An award winning movie, Coup de Torchon is based on Jim Thompsons’s 1964 novel Pop. 1280. Coup de Torchon is a cynical thriller adapted to colonial West Africa rather than the American South setting in the book. Lucien is a pathetic police chief in the rural Senegal who cannot stand up for himself, and married to a cheating wife.

One day, the useless Lucien decides to embark on an apparently nonchalant, killing spree, murdering everyone who mistreated him. As the pile of bodies continues to grow, Lucien starts to have affairs with two women, and starts to craft a twisted logic for his wrongdoings. Funny and horrific by turn, this movie is an unsettling reminder about the subjective nature of morality.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 14:  Sheitan

Directed by: Kim Chapiron
Written by: Christian and Kim Chapiron
Year: 2006

sheitan

Source: postvazut2

A group of four young friends want to have some good time, so they decide to go out to a disco, get drunk, and look for excitement. Here, they run into the beautiful Eve who lures them to her house in the countryside, and once there, introduces them to her housekeeper, Joseph, whose wife is pregnant and staying upstairs. As the night deepens, they also gradually discover the real reason of their hosts’ warmth and generosity.

Sheitan is a surreal blend of comedy, horror, and thriller.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 15: La Horde (The Horde)

Directed by: Benjamin Rocher and Yannick Dahan
Written by: Arnaud Bordas, Yannick Dahan, Stephane Moissakis, and Benjamin Rocher.
Year: 2009

thehorde

Source: unobtainium13

Another distinctive French zombie movie emulating 28 days Later in the sense that the zombies are fast and agile. Yet this one is given a uniquely Gallic twist by its social commentary. The result is a fast-paced and engrossing ride.

As the apocalypse looms, warring groups of criminals, cops, and vigilantes are forced to join forces to survive, yet with limited resources and traditional prejudices coming to the fore, are the humans more of a threat to each other than the zombies are?

Available on Netflix: Yes or Amazon Instant Video

Day 16: Baise Moi (Rape Me / Fuck Me)

Directed and written by: Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi
Year: 2000

Baise Moi

Source: neogaf

Baise-moi is a highly controversial film which is not only banned once, but in almost four or more countries due to its explicit and sexually violent content which was deemed harmful by the authorities.

The movie revolves around two young women who feel that they are marginalised by society. As revenge, they go on a destructive rampage of breaking norms and killing men. The two women, Manu and Nadine, want revenge against men who have cruelly mistreated them and other women. When they meet each other, they begin a whirlwind of sex, murder and humiliation. Baise Moi attacks the bourgeoisie attitudes and gender inequality of society.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 17: Vertige (High Lane)

Directed by: Abel Ferry
Written by: Johanne Bernard and Louis-Paul Desanges
Year: 2009

Vertige (High Lane)

Source: ifcfilms

Fred, Karine (Fred’s girlfriend), Chloe, William and Luke decide to venture high up in the mountains in Croatia onto a trail that has been closed for repairs. The climb proves to be more perilous than they expect, but once they start the trail they will not be able to turn back. As they progress through their dangerous adventure, their fear turns to terror when they realise they are not alone, and the adventure begins to turn into a nightmare…

Available on Netflix: Yes or Amazon Instant Video

Day 18: La Meute (The Pack)

Directed and written by: Franck Richard
Year: 2010

La Meute (The Pack)

Source: flickfacts

On a lonely country road, a young female traveler, Charlotte is driving with her rusty old car. Along the road, Max hitchhikes for a ride and they both stop for a while to eat in an old restaurant with a horrific secret…

With cult written all over it, this downright strange mix of road-movie thriller and horror film, is similar to the Tarantino movie ‘From dusk till dawn’ in the gleeful and unapologetic way in which it abruptly switches genres. Not all film fans will ‘get it’ but for aficionados of cult moves, there’s plenty to enjoy in this feast of  weirdness.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 19: Les 7 jours du talion (7 Days)

Directed by: Daniel Grou
Written by: Patrick Senécal
Year: 2010

7 days

Source: argenteam

Surgeon and family man Bruno Hamel’s life is changed when his beloved daughter Jasmine is raped and murdered. Consumed by hated and anger, the doctor vows to kidnap the man and torture him to death, but is this justifiable revenge or a selfish act of pointless cruelty? A disturbing look at how the desire for retribution taints all concerned, 7 Days is an uncomfortable, yet unmissable film.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 20: Malefique

Directed and written by: Éric Valette
Year: 2002

Malefique

Source: darkcornerbooks

The movie is set in a cell occupied by four prisoners: Carrere, Marcus. Paquerette, and Lassalle. Each has committed vastly different crimes and has very different personalities. Unable to take the confines of their cells, they begin to believe that magic is the solution to their entrapment. But is this merely a sign of their insanity?

An unsettling Gothic nightmare that defies easy categorization, the film’s peculiar mix of humour and shocks will stay with you for days.

Available on Netflix: No Amazon Instant Video

Day 21: Peurs du noir (Fears of the Dark)

Directed by: Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire
Written by: Kerry Kramsky, Michel Pirus, Romain Slocombe, Blutch, Charles Burn, Pierre di Sciullo
Year: 2007

Peurs du noir (Fears of the Dark)

Source: ifcfilms

Are you afraid of the dark? How about fears concerning demonic possession, alienation, death, the unknown? These are only some of human fears that Peurs du noir explores. The film is an anthology of six horror stories in black-and-white animation by six talented graphic artists which explores, from different perspectives, the deep and ambiguous fears that we have of darkness.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 22: Ne te retourne pas (Don’t Look Back)

Directed by: Marina de Van
Written by: Marina de Van and Jacques Akchoti
Year: 2009

ne te retourne pas

Source: movieplace

Career woman, mother, wife—what woman doesn’t sometimes get tired of the endless roles they have to play? Photographer Jeanne experiences this dilemma and it is taking its toll on her life. Her house changes appearance, her husband becomes unrecognisable, even her looks transform: everything around her warps and changes as though she has become outside time and space.

Her erratic behaviour soon starts to confuse and worry her family, making her more distant to them. Is she losing her mind, is this some early form of dementia or there is some supernatural element involved in Jeanne’s torment?

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 23: Les revenants (The Returned / They Came Back)

Directed by: Robin Campillo
Written by: Robin Campillo and Brigitte Tijou
Year: 2004

les revenants film

Source: flavorwire

What will you do when the dead returns to life? This is the social quandary of a small French town when thousands of dead people inexplicably come back to life. However, in contrast to the common conception of zombies, these people comes back healthy and sound and simply want to re-integrate themselves with the normal people.

They seem fine at first, but they start to demonstrate increasingly unsettling behaviour. The living also need to cope with the social and emotional effects of the dead coming back to life. All in all, “Las revenants” bucks the common trend of zombie movies, and instead considers the age-old question of what does being alive mean?

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 24: Baby Blood (1990)

Directed by: Alain Robak
Written by: Alain Robak and Serge Cukier
Year: 1990

Baby Blood (1990)

Source: moviesdvdnewreleases

A snake-like parasite enters the body of Yanka, a circus performer who is pregnant from her abusive husband. The parasite transforms her foetus into a monstrous organism that feeds on blood, and is possessed of an evil intelligence that constantly communicates with her. Yanka goes from town to town to look for new victims to supply blood for the unborn creature.

“Baby blood” depicts how a mother reacts to the insatiable needs of her baby, the strong bond between the mother and child, and how there are moments when each mother loathes her unborn child.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 25: Sombre

Directed and written by: Philippe Grandrieux
Year: 1998

Sombre

Source: flickfacts

Two big events are happening at the same time. One makes children and children at heart to scream with joy, and one makes women scream in pain and fear. Jean Preys, a serial murderer preys on prostitutes; dragging them into the woods of France to torture and kill. Little does he know that he will meet a woman who will fall in love with him. A sparse and enigmatic film, it is too Avant Garde to be called a ‘horror’ in it’s typical sense, yet will nonetheless haunt you for days…

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 26: Vidocq

Directed by: Pitof
Written by: Eugene Francois Vidocq, Pitof, Jean-Christophe Grange
Year: 2001

Vidocq

Source: flickfacts

What is the truth behind Vidocq’s sudden disappearance? This is the central plot of the French movie, Vidocq. Set in 19th century Paris, a famous detective named Vidocq suddenly disappears while pursuing his arch-enemy, the Alchemist who is killing virgins to retain his youth.

Meanwhile, there is a young biographer who is convinced that Vidocq’s case is filled with inconsistencies which could prove that the detective might still be alive, and follows the footsteps of the detective to uncover his mysterious disappearance. However, a malign entity seems to be following the biographer as sudden and violent deaths start to occur around him.

Will he find Vidocq and answer the mystery of the sudden deaths around him? This high-budget special effects extravaganza can teach Hollywood a thing or two about excitement!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 27: Les rivières pourpres (The Crimson Rivers)

Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz
Written by: Jean-Christophe Grangé, Mathieu Kassovitz
Year: 2000

Les rivières pourpres (The Crimson Rivers)

Source: subscene

If you combine two of France’s best loved actors, Hollywood style thrills and spills, and an engrossing plot that’s reminiscent of the classic ‘Boys in Brazil’ then you have this exciting thriller with horror overtones.

At a top genetic science institute in the remote mountainside, someone is killing off the scientists. Two mismatched cops find themselves working together to solve the mystery, but are they ready for the horrific truths they will uncover?

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 28: La nuit des traquées (The Night of the Hunted)

Directed by: Jean Rollin
Written by: Jean Rollin
Year: 1980

La nuit des traquées (The Night of the Hunted)

Source: strangevice

On a cold gloomy night, a man notices a young woman wandering off the street. The woman can’t tell him where she has come from but keeps saying that someone is running after her. Without thinking of his own safety, the man decides to protect her from the people after her. He takes her to a local asylum, but realises that it may, in itself, contain greater horrors than the unnamed terror she was escaping.

Director Jean Rollin is famous for his vampire and gothic themed movies, but he deviates from this in his film “La nuit des traquees”. Deliberately slow-paced and unsettling, it looks at modern issues such as fascism and environmental damage from a unique perspective.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 29: Amer

Directed and written by: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Year: 2009

amer movie

Source: moviepilot

Even with a very low budget, Amer still nailed critical praise for both its cinematic techniques and content. Ana lives in the French Riviera. Hunted by her memories of her abused childhood and struggling with her burgeoning sexuality, Ana walk into her own fantasies trying to traverse her path to womanhood.

Amer revolves around the sexual development of Ana and her attempts to distinguish reality from fantasies, though as she progresses, it becomes harder to do. Where will her chaotic journey ultimately lead her to?

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 30: Les nuits rouges du bourreau de jade (Red Nights)

Directed and written by: Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud
Year: 2010

Les nuits rouges du bourreau de jade (Red Nights)

Source: horrorpedia

A French-Hongkong collaboration gives birth to another Eastern-Western Giallo. The film concerns an old Chinese legend about an elixir which can cause extreme pleasure or pain to those who drink it. A French woman flees to Hong Kong after killing her lover and stealing an old artifact he owns. While on the run, she meets a Taiwanese mobster and a sadistic killer who want to get hold of the precious poison inside the artifact.

Les nuits rouges du bourreau de jade (Red Nights) is a combination of mystery, thriller erotica, and horror film.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Conclusion:

As experienced Francophiles, you might already have found out the common elements among French horror-thriller movies. Either it is an old movie like “Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal” or a modern one like most of the films in the list, they all revolve around the most extreme aspects of humanity. Be scared, scream, and laugh with my November movie list as you explore the darkest reaches of the human mind and body in some of the most haunting and blood-curdling movies committed to film.

If you have any disagreements, suggestions, comments, or even violent reactions to my latest movie recommendations, let me know in the suggestion box, and I will try answer them. Merci!

Make sure to grab your FREE e-book 365 Days of French Movies! Click the photo below to get your copy!


free French movies list e-book download pdf[/thrive_2step]

About the Author Frederic Bibard

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +

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