Some of the scariest movies are made by Asian filmmakers, and horror is universal. The greatest ones are here.
American horror films have evolved and changed over time, from classical monsters to atomic-age creations to real-life horror and slasher murders. New trends began to emerge in the 1990s, when Hollywood discovered the horror films coming from Asia. Both Japanese and Korean horror films were remade in the United States at an alarming rate.
When it comes to remakes of Asian horror, Hollywood has a hard time getting the feel and atmosphere right. There is a lot more to Asian horror than the stringy-haired, demonic youngsters that most Americans are familiar with. Check out this list of the top Asian horror films of all time.”
Shawn S. Lealos updated this page on April 29, 2020. Asian horror is no exception to the rule when it comes to international film. There is a strong relationship between many of the best American horror films and those made abroad, and the breadth of the genre is astounding. There are ghost stories, violent thrillers, and mind-boggling mind-twisters to satisfy any horror fan’s cravings. If you haven’t already seen these five Asian horror films, you’re in for a real treat.
15. DARK WATER (2002)
You may forget about Jennifer Connelly’s role in the 2005 American adaptation. Look no further than Hideo Nakata’s 2002 original film for a truly frightening Asian horror thriller. Dark Water tells the story of a divorced mother who has relocate with her daughter to an old, run-down flat. She is haunted by a water-based spirit that urges her to defend her child at all costs.
14. PULSE (2001)
It’s a new take on the principles introduced in The Grudge in Pulse, which is known in Japan asKairo. Evil spirits that roam the Internet instead of spiteful spirits that appear in a videotape are now available for children to encounter. During the film, suicides continue to rise as the spirits begin to spread over the world via the World Wide Web, which the film hints at. As compared to other horror films, Pulse is a gradual burn that provides a disturbing look at societal collapse.
13. THE WAILING (2016)
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the movie The Wailing might be hard to see. 2016’s The Wailing is about a man who arrives from Japan with an illness that quickly spreads through the town he inhabits. A police officer who succumbs to the illness is subsequently followed by panic and death as the film explores what this all implies. Several Asian cinema prizes were given to the picture, and it was hailed as a tremendous critical success.
12. THE EYE 3 (2005)
Even though The Eye 3 was released in the United States, the Asian release was titled The Eye 10 and is just a sequel to the first two films in name only. It’s better than the first film in several aspects, and even better than the sequel. The Pang Brothers directed this film, which is a mix of Quentin Tarantino and Wes Craven, to a tee.
Some Asian high school students have come up with the brilliant idea of participating in a game of black magic in which they discover new ways to see ghosts. Instead of the tactics failing, they find themselves on the run from vengeful ghosts. With each passing scene, the film takes a step closer to crazy.
11. I SAW THE DEVIL (2010)
As a horror film with dark overtones and plenty of violence, I Saw the Devil stands out from the pack. Kim Soo-hyun (Byung-hun) is a National Intelligence Service agent who sets out to avenge the death and mutilation of his fiance. What begins as a vengeful act quickly spirals out of control, leaving a trail of blood in its wake. Several critics prizes were given to the picture for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered.
10. A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (2003)
The 2002 South Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters, which was remade by Hollywood asThe Uninvited, is superior in every way. To begin, a little girl is discharged from a mental institution and reunited with her father and younger sister at their house in the movie’s opening scene. When she sees her stepmother again, it’s not quite as joyous.
Her stepmother becomes Su-new mi’s focus as she begins to see her mother’s ghost and wonder whether there is more to her mother’s death than first thought. This is a twisted Asian horror film that is one of the best in its genre, and any further details would be a spoiler.
9. RINGU (1998)
When it comes to Hollywood remakes, Ringu is the one who got the ball rolling. When the film was remade as The Ring, it was not only one of the most popular Asian horror remakes, but it was also extremely frightening on its own. It was a novel that had been made into a Japanese television film before the original Asian horror picture.
Hideo Nakata’s 1998 film, starring a journalist who explores the mystery of a videotape that is said to kill anyone who plays it seven days later, involves a reporter. The malevolent ghost known as Sadako was a great hit, and the franchise now includes 12 films.
8. SHUTTER (2004)
A Thai horror film, Shutter, was released in 2004 and deals with weird visions observed in processed photographs. Immediately after a car accident in which they run over a young woman, Jane and Tun leave. As a result of this, Tun begins to see white shadows around people’s features in the images he takes.
People close to Tun begin to die and it looks like the vengeful ghost of Tun’s ex-girlfriend has resurfaced to seek retribution for her death. In 2008, Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor starred in a Hollywood version of the film.
7. JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (2002)
The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, was released by Hollywood in 2004 and received mixed reviews. Although it was a big hit in Japan and spawned two sequels, it couldn’t hold a candle to the gore and suspense of Ju-on: The Grudge. The film was technically the third in the series when it was released in 2002, but it was the first to be shown in a theater.
The film is based on the belief that a curse is left behind when a person dies in a jealous rage. At that spot, the curse repeats itself over and over again in subsequent generations. It was a huge hit in Japan, with nine films produced, and an American remake is scheduled for release in 2020.
6. THE EYE (2002)
As far as remakes of Asian horror films go, The Eye was one of the worst of the bunch. Alba was nominated for a Razzie, the movie was lambasted by critics, and the domestic box office took in just $31 million. Even more depressing is the fact that the Pang brothers’ original 2002 Asian horror film was a big success and was widely popular.
The Eye recounts the journey of a woman who has been blind since the age of two, as she undergoes a cornea transplant and is given her sight back. In spite of this, she has been able to discern ominous figures that prophesy the impending end of the world. Second and third films in the series, The Eye 2 and The Eye 10, were released.
5. AUDITION (1999)
Films like Ichi the Killer and Dead or Alive, which have become cult favorites in Japan, are among Takashi Miike’s many classics. As a result, Miike developed a film that was scary purely because of its actual plausibility, which he accomplished in 1999. Another tragic aspect of the story is that the victim was innocent and did not deserve what happened to him.
His son convinces a middle-aged widower to get back into dating after his wife’s death. A woman named Asami comes into contact with him and he develops feelings for her. Although he is shy and introverted, he sets up a false casting call to meet her and then proposes to her. When the girl turns out to be mentally ill and kidnaps him, his lies come back to haunt him.
4. UGETSU (1953)
When it comes to discovering foreign-language films, there’s nothing wrong with going back to the basics. Ugetsu, a 1953 Japanese horror film, is the pinnacle of Asian horror. Ugetsu, a ghost story set in Japan during theAzuchi–Momoyama period, was directed byKenji Mizoguchi.
A poor farmer leaves his family behind to protect them from pirates as he travels off to find his fortune during the Civil War. A haunted house depicts how a man’s desire for money and power over the love he already has may lead him down a terrible path when he encounters a ghost.
3. TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)
Take a look at Train to Busan if you think the zombie genre has run out of new ideas. Workaholic father and daughter go to Busan to celebrate her mother’s birthday in the film, which was released in South Korea in 2016.
A zombie outbreak erupts as soon as they get at the railway station and they find themselves fighting for their life as they travel to Busan. Zombies abound, but the film also features strong character development and social critique, making it one of the best zombie horror films in recent memory.
2. THE HOST (2006)
Giant monsters are sometimes all that’s needed for horror movie lovers. Bong Joon-2006 ho’s South Korean monster flick The Host introduced the world to a new huge monster in addition to the Japanese legend Godzilla. In this Asian horror film, a monster battled a group of survivor off the Han River, which should not be confused with the young adult Hollywood film of the same name.
Most of The Host is concerned with the relationships between members of an unhappy family who must band together in order to survive. Upon its debut, the picture was the biggest grossing South Korean film ever and took home the Best Film award at the 2007 Asian Film Awards for its efforts.
1. THIRST (2009)
“Old Boy,” “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” and “Lady Vengeance” are Park Chan-greatest wook’s works as a South Korean filmmaker, together with “Old Boy.” Before his English-language debut withStoker (2013), he made a horror film calledThirst in Asian cinema.
With a director like Chan-wook on board, this was to be anticipated to be a subverted vampire film. Catholic priest who fell in love with his friend’s wife and became a vampire after an unsuccessful medical experiment was the subject of the film. It’s unlike anything else Hollywood has attempted in the horror genre.