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New French Extremity – French Extreme Films

Originating from that which is deemed “transgressive” or offensive, this new wave of extreme films does so under the origins of French film makers. Arriving from that, these films have fallen under the modern categorization of what some call “French Extreme” or “New French Extremity“. Not unlike certain modern horror films which take things to the next level, “French Extreme” films do so in their own stylistic ways. They are usually associated with a smaller handful of filmmakers. These filmmakers often create products that are similar in intensity, thus adding to the pool of French Extreme movies. The movie pool sub-genre also seems to stem from the 1990’s and 2000’s.


New French Extremity movies range the gamut between eroticism, psychosis, extreme violence and torture often presenting pieces of cinema that cross the lines of traditional taboos. This nature of “taking things further” is what drives such an interest in these creations.

Many times this class of films has been lumped into the larger category of “Extreme Cinema”, however these movies bear the distinction of films created primarily in the country of France. In contrast, extreme films originating from Asian origin have been categorized as CAT III.

Wikipedia has created a page that details more into the historical background of this genre segment

There is no hard and fast rules as to what falls into this subcategory however the result is usually associated with some degree of intensity. For instance the film “Irréversible” is known for its extended and hard-to-watch rape scene while the film “Martyrs” takes a direction of pain and torture.

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The pool of directors associated with these products varies though a few of the well known directors associated with creating movies of this classification include: Alexandre Aja, Gaspar Noé, Xavier Gens and Pascal Laugier.

We recommend these titles to horror fans who are looking for films that offer a deeper and darker hardcore approach to content.

For you convenience we have listed and reviewed most of the titles that have been labeled as “French extreme movies”. Since we expect new discoveries and new creations to emerge, this should only serve as a starting point. We will add to this list as new products appear.

Those who enjoy this style of film making are encouraged to explore the director’s other works in the event that they also provide similar experience.

A List of Recommended New French Extremity Films

(not in ranking order)

01- A NEW LIFE (La vie nouvelle) (2002) – Philippe Grandrieux

02- BAISE-MOI (Rape Me) (2000) – Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi

03- CARNE (1991) – Gaspar Noé

04- CALVAIRE (2004) – Fabrice Du Welz

05- DEMON LOVER (2002) – Olivier Assayas

06- ENTER THE VOID (2009) – Gaspar Noé

07- FRONTIERE(S) (Frontière(s) (2007) – Xavier Gens

08- HIGH TENSION (Haute Tension, Switchblade Romance) (2003) – Alexandre Aja

09- I STAND ALONE (Seul contre tous) (1998) – Gaspar Noé

10- IN MY SKIN (Dans ma peau) (2002) – Marina de Van

11- INSIDE (À l’intérieur) (2007) – Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury

12- IRRÉVERSIBLE (Irréversible)(2002) – Gaspar Noé

13- GLOWING EYES (La chatte à deux têtes, P**n Theater) (2002) – Jacques Nolot

14- MARTYRS (2008) – Pascal Laugier

15- THEM (Ils)(2006) – David Moreau, Xavier Palud

16- SECRET THINGS (Choses secrètes) (2002) – Jean-Claude Brisseau

17- SHEITAN (2006) – Kim Chapiron

18- TROUBLE EVERY DAY (2001) – Claire Denis



Additional List of New French Extremity Films – Perversive Titles

01- ANATOMY OF HELL (Anatomie de l’enfer) (2004) – Catherine Breillat

02- INTIMACY (2001) – Patrice Chéreau

03- FLANDERS (Flandres) (2006) – Bruno Dumont

04- MA MÈRE (2004) – Christophe Honoré

05- POLA X (1999) – Leos Carax

06- ROMANCE (1999) – Catherine Breillat

07- SOMBRE (1998) – Philippe Grandrieux

08- LE PORNOGRAPHE (2001) – Bertrand Bonello

We also encourage readers comments for other titles to include. Give us your thoughts on favorites or new discoveries.


  1. SteelScissorsInYourSkull

    Great list, it gives me a few movies I haven’t yet seen to look for.

    For those who haven’t seen the (original) Martyrs or Inside I highly recommend both. That’s what I want out of my horror, intensity!

    • wut year did the original martyrs come out & same question for the movie inide, please makes it a WHOLE LOT eazier on me


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