Oh, horror films. How many viewers have you kept up late at night? One of the most popular movie genres to date are horror films. Maybe it’s just human nature to scare ourselves at our wit's end. Maybe there are just a lot of guys out there looking to get a hug from their terrified gal.
Whatever the case, horror films are here to stay and in the history of cinema, there have been a ton of terrifying films out there. We’re all familiar with cult classics such as Alien, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Child’s Play, A Nightmare On Elm Street and so many others more. They’re pretty decent horror films but let’s be honest, when it comes to producing the best horror flicks out there, no one does it better than Asia.
Thanks to the hodgepodge of cultures and beliefs, Asian horror flicks offer a variety of experiences and of course, scares. Asia’s countries are known for some of the scariest films made for man but there are some standouts in the uncountable bunch. Here are some of the most terrifying Asian horror movies you’ll regret watching.
15 The Healing
Even the Philippines has produced a spooktacular horror movie and one of the scariest to date is 2012's The Healing. Don't let the title fool you, The Healing is a very disturbing film and its scares rely on gore and the distorted face of the main baddies' victims.
It's about a group of individuals who are plagued with a curse after seeking help from an unconventional doctor. Whenever they see a doppelgänger, that spells instant doom for a person. Once they find the real person, he or she will have a very distorted look on their face and it's obvious that they're already goners. Even worse is that the victims tend to kill several others more before offing themselves. The deaths are as brutal as the faces and behind all of it is a simple premise; faith healing.
Japan gets really creative when it comes to thinking about sources of supernatural baddies and omens. We've seen wells, ringtones, cabinets, TVs and more, as the nesting ground of ghosts so it should be no surprise that Japan will also use the Internet as a medium of terror.
The film starts off with poor victims looking at an image of themselves and their deaths on the internet. This leaves them so devastated and depressed that they actually do commit suicide. Small cases scattered around Tokyo continue to spread and before everyone knows it, the "curse" has become an epidemic already. Making the Internet as the medium that spirits use to kill others is way too creepy for us as it's too close to potential reality.
When it comes to Thai horror, two things come to mind; jumpscares and gore. 4bia is an anthology of short horror films from Thailand and it manages to mix these two qualities into one packed film. There are two 4bia films already and believe us, both offer several scares and laughs.
Out of the two 4bia films, the one that stands to be the better is the 2008 original. The four films are Loneliness, Deadly Charm, Man in the Middle and Flight 244. Loneliness tells the story of an injured girl who’s haunted by a suitor from another realm. Deadly Charm on the other hand is about a curse placed on a bunch of gangsters who beat up the wrong person. Flight 244 is about a flight attendant who’s terrorized by a woman she unintentionally killed. Best of all is Man in the Middle which is a more comedic take on horror in the forest but is still terrifying nonetheless.
12 Coming Soon
At first glance, Thailand’s 2008 horror, Coming Soon, obviously draws a lot of inspiration from Ringu. It’s about a cursed movie. The cursed movie will then be part of the cause of death of the person who watches it. Unlike Sadako, Coming Soon’s main antagonist, Shomba, is MUCH more aggressive.
Coming Soon starts out with a man trying to bootleg a copy of an unreleased film about a crazed woman who kidnaps children and blinds them. Unlucky for him, the film he was trying to bootleg was cursed. There are a lot of jumpscares in the film and it’s not for the weak hearted. Partner that with Shomba’s aggressive style of haunting and all too scary appearance and you’ve got one terrifying clip.
Friendly tip: be ready for the last seconds of the film.
11 4bia 2
Both 4bia films are good and both offer different experiences and there’s a lot of good reason why they deserve separate entries on this list. Unlike the original 4bia, 4bia 2 has 5 films in it and they’re all pretty good scares and laughs as well.
First up is Novice which is about a rebellious teenager who accidentally kills his father. He’s sent to a Buddhist temple but being the rebellious kid he is, he breaks a few traditions which he pays the price for. In Ward, a teen caught in a biking accident is left in a room with a dying monk that haunts him the entire night. In Backpackers, a Japanese couple trying to hitchhike got in the wrong truck as it houses zombies. In Salvage, a car dealer is haunted by the spirits of the previous owners of the cars she’s reselling.
Last but definitely not the least is In The End. The guys from Man In The Middle are in for a terrifyingly funny adventure again but this time, it’s on a movie set.
10 One Missed Call
Across three films, the One Missed Call series all boils down to one concept; cellphones are going to be the death of us. Many consider the first film in the series to be one of the scariest horror films ever made and while there are a lot of good candidates for the top spot, the first One Missed Call is worth considering.
The films revolved around a mysterious call from the future. If answered, the person will hear himself dying on the other end of the line. It’s pretty terrifying as cellphones are something we are so accustomed to and hearing our shrieks of death on the other end doesn’t sound or feel too pleasing.
Throughout the three films, only one ring tone was used to signify the death of a person. That ringtone has probably been the center of pranks for those who watched the film and if you do hear that ringtone coming from your phone, bid your loved ones goodbye.
9 Train To Busan
Back in 2016, South Korea finally decided to join in on the undead hype by releasing its first zombie film ever. To the surprise of many, Train To Busan was a commercial success and it was easily one of the best zombie films ever made. Not bad for a first-timer, right?
The highlight of the film is the crumbling relationship between a father and his daughter and their journey towards a sanctuary from all the chaos, Busan. Coincidentally, Busan is also the home of the girl’s mother. Don’t let the dramatic touch fool you though as Train To Busan is intense from beginning to end. Moviegoers were always on the edge of their seat whenever a zombie broke in to do his bidding and those who sat through the entire movie probably felt exhausted with all the heart-racing scenes in it.
8 Suicide Club
If there's a record for the most amount of blood seen at the start of a movie, then Sion Sono's Suicide Club is the winner by a long shot. The film opens with 54 Japanese schoolgirls committing suicide by jumping in front of an incoming train. Right at the beginning, it was obvious that we're all for a brutal hour or two with Suicide Club.
The film revolves around a series of gruesome suicides in Japan that range from cutting one's hand, placing a head in an oven, stabbing the neck with a pencil and jumping off a building. The police tries to unravel the mystery behind the suicides and it boils down to a girl group and their song.
The lack of fear seen in the expressions of those committing suicide really make Suicide Club shine. Rest assured, you won't be seeing train tracks the same way after watching this film.
7 Ladda Land
Let's face it, moving away from where we grew up is already terrifying enough. Having to move to another place; being away from all your friends, hiding spots and so much more, is a pretty stressing ordeal. But moving to a new house beside a murder house? That's a completely different story.
Ladda Land tells the story of a simple family that moves to a new high class community called, Ladda Land. Everything was fine at first but their neighbors weren't the best bunch. Sounds of clear abuse from the family across the street plagued the family every night and shortly after, grisly murders finally took place. The neighbors weren't done with bugging the new residents of Ladda Land as their spirits begin haunting them and everyone else. Expect A LOT of jumpscares.
6 Ju-On: The Grudge
One of the stars during the heyday of J-horror is Ju-On: The Grudge. The film taught us how terrifying vengeful spirits can be. It also taught us that cabinets are pretty scary and sometimes, it’s best to check the history of a house before moving in. The film has a few sequels already but as always, the original is the best.
The film is told from different perspectives. Different individuals who managed to step inside a cursed house and from there, all that’s left was to wait for their demise. What’s more terrifying about The Grudge is that it makes it obvious that the characters in the film aren’t going to make it out alive.
There’s no work-around to the curse in the first film. All we’re left with is men and women scared to their wits in front of Toshio and her mother.
5 The Eye
Originating from Hong Kong, The Eye is a horror flick that doesn’t pit the protagonist against supernatural forces. In fact, the ghosts even seem to help the 20-year-old Mun, a blind violinist who has been given a chance to see thanks to a donor. However, the eyes that were give to her come with a few bonuses.
Thanks to the eyes donated to her, Mun can finally see the world around her. In addition that, she was also given the ability to foretell deaths whenever she sees a ghost roaming around. It’s like The Sixth Sense but there’s no twist to it. It was just a case of wrong eyes going to the wrong people.
There are a ton of memorable scenes in The Eye but those who’ve seen it can agree on the fact that they NEVER want to be alone in an elevator ever again.
Sometimes, a horror movie doesn’t need any ghosts, zombies or monsters to creep us out. All it takes is one deranged lunatic and her array of ways to take out a person. Slowly take out a person. That’s where 1999’s Audition shines the finest. It’s a horror film without any supernatural touch but it still makes us regret having to sit through its entire duration.
Takahashi Miike is the mastermind behind this brutal horror film. It’s about a rich man who’s looking for a new partner in life. Unlike most of us, he didn’t try to find a partner. He had women audition for the part. That’s when things went wrong because the woman he accepted as his new wife was pretty on the outside but a killer on the inside.
The majority of the film is just a build up to the gruesome torture scene at the end. It’s still worth watching though and believe us, you’ll never look at acupuncture the same way again.
By now, every horror movie fan; even movie fans at that, have probably heard of the 1998 horror classic; Ringu. It’s the Japanese horror movie that gave a lot of people reason to avoid any mysterious tapes they found. It also made a lot of people fear for what happens whenever they watch TV.
We all know the premise of Ringu. A tape has been circulating and this said tape is cursed. Once a person views it, he or she dies within 7 days. When first watching the film, many thought that it was just a typical ghost haunting flick but when Sadako came out of the TV to kill her poor victims, that’s when many viewers shrieked their loudest.
Ringu has had many sequels, spin-offs and even Western adaptations. However, we can all agree on the fact that none of them is scarier than the 1998 original.
Based on the manga of the same name by Japan’s premier horror-story Junju Ito, 2000’s Uzumaki tells the story of a cursed town and its fascination with spirals. While it’s hard to think of a reason why this would make for a good horror film, you shouldn’t let Uzumaki’s weird plot fool you. It will keep you up at night.
What starts out as a few individuals’ obsession with spirals turns into proportions of disaster as the town lets the innocent shape take over their lives. The town is slowly consumed with its obsession and at the center of the spiral is Kirie, a high school girl who saw the tragedy all before it unfolded. Sadly, the curse was too strong and there was no way out of it.
What Uzumaki lacks in supernatural forces it makes up for with body horror and creepy visuals. Rest assured, Uzumaki will creep you out from beginning to end.
For shutterbugs, the film Shutter is not something to watch alone. The Thai film is one of the most popular films originating in the country and it’s also the most memorable horror film at that. It tells the story of a couple haunted by a ghost who seemingly wants to reveal something about her past.
After a night of partying, Tun and Jane get in a car accident and kill a woman. Natre was this woman and she was revealed to be in a relationship with Tun all along. Tun’s friends begin committing suicide one by one and just when they thought it was over...
Natre was trying to warn Jane of what Tun’s friends had done to her. Tun himself was part of the abuse that Natre endured. Throughout the film, Tun felt a sharp pain in his neck and his weight doubled. In the end, it was revealed that Natre’s ghost had been sitting on Tun’s neck all along.