10 best Indian horror movies of all time, ranked

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The horror genre transcends borders and languages. Each distinct society around the world has its own mythologies and horror stories, many of which often revolve around their respective belief systems and culture. While America and the UK have created some of the greatest horror movies ever to be made, India also has a solid pedigree of horror titles that can rival anything in Western canon.

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India knows how to make a solid horror movie, and there are plenty of great ones for moviegoers keen to find them. They are the best of the best.


ten Paris (2018)

A woman wearing a brown outfit in Paris

A great directorial debut for Prosit Roy, originally from Kolkata, Bet is a fun supernatural horror film about a strange woman named Rukhsana, who may not be of this world. Containing elements of demonic horror, Bet concerns a satanic cult that sexually assaults and imbues kidnapped women with the offspring of an Islamic mythological demon named Ifrit.

It’s certainly a bizarre and disturbing story, but one unique in the horror genre and the film also features an excellent lead performance by Anushka Sharma as Rukhsana. It’s worth watching for anyone looking for a good demon-based horror movie.

9 9 (2019)

The Purple Indian Movie Poster 9

A fun mix of sci-fi and horror, 9 also contains touching elements concerning father-son relationships. The “9“The title refers to the number of days a passing comet will disrupt all forms of modern technology, including electricity and telephone service.

The movie is shot well and filled with good visual effects, but the real heart of the story lies in the father-son relationship between Dr Albert Lewis and eight-year-old Adam. It’s an inventive sci-fi horror film with a touching personal drama that’s well performed by Prithviraj Sukumaran and Master Alok.

8 1920 (2008)

A man and a woman standing together in 1920

Some of the best period horror movies include haunted houses and 1920 belongs to this subgenus. Released in 2008, the film is about a married couple who live in a haunted house.

The film is 140 extravagant minutes long, which is enough to insert plenty of supernatural scares and interesting character dynamics around the wedding. The film was a huge hit in its native India and spawned a franchise that now includes four films, speaking of its appetite as a mainstream horror flick.

7 The House Next Door (2017)

A man and a woman sitting in a car in The House Next Door

The House next is a paranormal horror film with many effective scares that have the ability to both surprise and destabilize. The story follows Krish and Lakshmi, a brain surgeon, and his wife, who become confused once a rebellious teenager and his stepmother move in next door.

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A series of disturbing paranormal events dock with the teenager, resulting in a battle between good and evil as Krish and Lakshmi attempt to rid their house of spirits. It’s a gripping old-fashioned ghost story, and it’s sure to delight anyone who enjoys good paranormal horror.

6 Kothanodi (2015)

Women overlooking a body of water in Kothanodi

2015 Kothanodi is based on Grandmother’s Tales, a very popular piece of Assamese literature that has been appreciated since its publication in 1911. The book is a collection of folk stories written by the Assamese poet, Lakshminath Bezbaroa.

It would have been quite difficult to adapt the book, given its legendary status in Assam. But thanks to good movies and inventive reimaginings of classic stories, Kothanodi turns out an attractive watch. While this is not just a horror movie, Kothanodi nevertheless contains a very difficult subject which is sure to disturb and destabilize.

5 Aamis (Raven) (2019)

A woman looks skyward at Ravening

Friends, English title: Voracious, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019, garnering very good reviews. The story follows a content pediatrician named Nirmali, who meets a doctorate. student studying Indian eating habits. The two quickly form a bond and soon begin to experiment with different types of meat. Soon after, Nirmali develops an obsession with trying human meat.

It’s a grotesque storyline that will satiate even the most critical horror fans, taking inspiration from the extreme 80s movies that were banned for their violence and depraved content.

4 Mahal (1949)

A man and a woman on the Mahal poster

Often credited as Bollywood’s first horror film, Mahal worth looking at simply for its historical significance. Released in 1949, the film stars Ashok Kumar as Hari Shankar, a man who experiences bizarre visions and events inside his new abandoned palace.

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The film draws on themes of reincarnation while presenting a tantalizing mystery that is filled with both fears and tempting questions. The film was extremely popular in its native India, making Gothic horror a popular genre and making Madhubala an icon of Hindi cinema.

3 Bhoot (2003)

A possessed woman in Bhoot

Taking a huge influence from The Exorcist, Bhoot is an interesting addition to the malicious demonic possession subgenre. This one concerns the married couple Vishal and Swati, who move into a haunted apartment and begin to suffer severe repercussions in the form of possession of Swati.

The film contains strong possession-based fears and is directed by an excellent performance by Urmila Matondkar (playing Swati), who won a Bollywood Movie Award for Best Actress. His disconcerting performance is sure to give the viewer chills.

2 13B: Fear has a new address (2009)

13B movie poster

Aside from the somewhat silly name, 13B: Fear has a new address is a fun, low budget Indian movie. The film looks fantastic despite its obvious lack of money, does wonders with inventive camera angles and beautiful framing.

Madhavan also proves to be a capable lead actor, portraying a man who watches his family’s future through a telenovela that plays exclusively on his TV. It mixes elements of J-horror with a unique storyline, resulting in an original horror film that is both gruesome and intellectually stimulating.

1 Tumbbad (2018)

A man holding a lantern in the horror film Tumbbad

Tumbbad premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, making it the first Indian film to be screened at the festival. This is a testament not only to the quality of the film, but also to the emergence of Indian horror as a popular genre of film outside the continent.

The mythical story concerns the people of Tumbbad, Maharashtra, who go against the orders of the goddess of prosperity and suffer a devastating curse. It’s a great Indian film with its roots in the country’s lore showing some truly exceptional cinematography and spooky fears, and it’s one of the country’s biggest horror exports.

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