It’s no question that some of the scariest cinematic masterpieces were made right here in Asia. So if you’re a glutton for ghosts and gore, be sure to check out these Asian horror movies this Halloween
Halloween season is on. A rare blue moon is set to make Halloween spookier this year but watching some horror flicks might just be the best way to make your even creepier. Here in Asia, we have some of the scariest movies some even spinning Hollywood remakes.
To accompany you this Halloween, we’re listing the scariest Asian horror films to watch. Prepare the popcorn and maybe even blankets––just for something to hide behind on when things get too scary.
The original, Japanese version of Ringu—or Ring—is sheer, raw horror and if you were a child of the early 2000’s, it probably continues to haunt you until this day.
Adapted from a novel based on a Japanese legend known as Banchō Sarayashiki, The Ring is the story of a cursed videotape that kills anyone who watches it exactly one week after viewing. The film follows reporter Reiko Asakawa as she investigates these terrifying and mysterious deaths, while trying to save her loved ones from its fatal curse.
The creepy apparition of a little boy, a creaky haunted house and the devastatingly scary ghost of a scorned woman––on paper, it sounds like a cookie cutter formula for a horror movie. But there’s something brilliant and nuanced about Japanese director Takashi Shimizu’s film, Ju-On.
Newly divorced Yoshimi Matsubara is forced to move into a grim, old apartment with her daughter. Soon, she notices a dark spot on the ceiling where water appears to be leaking through––as this happens, strange things start to occur, including unsettling visions of a ghostly little girl who seems to be drawing the mother-son duo toward the supernatural.
Dark Water was directed by Ring’s Hideo Nakata.
The Audition is the ultimate psychological thriller, juxtaposing artistically beautiful cinematography with a dark and disturbing plot. It tells the story of a widower whose son encourages him to find a new wife. He decides to do so by setting up a casting call to choose his next partner, which turns out to be a bad, bloody mistake.
This epic Japanese horror follows the filming of a movie that’s based true events, about a father who murdered his family and everyone else at a hotel and filmed the entire ordeal. That was 20 years ago and now, a movie is being shot at the infamous hotel and sure enough, all hell breaks loose.
Directed by Takashi Shimizu of Ju-on fame, this 2005 movie has the same eerie, suspenseful qualities of his earlier works that keep horror fanatics thirsty for more.
In this psychological thriller, a girl returns home to her father, sister and her deeply unhinged stepmother after spending time in an asylum––but to say any more about it would be to take away from the ingenious ride of clever twists and turns that this film takes its viewers on.
A Tale of Two Sisters takes its time in getting the ball rolling, but once you get a grip of what’s really going on, it’s all mind-bending, spine-tingling thrills from there. The film was later remade in America as The Uninvited.
Right in the throes of a zombie outbreak, Gong Yoo and his estranged daughter become trapped on a speeding train to Busan––the only city left in the country where they’ll be safe. But getting there is no picnic, as they soon find out that there are infected passengers on the train, and the on-board zombie army begins to multiply at an alarming rate.
Train to Busan is a stunning thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
You’ve probably heard of or seen the Hollywood remake starring Jessica Alba, but as far as fear factor goes, it doesn’t come close to the 2002 original.
After being blind for 18 years, violinist Wong Kar Mun receives a corneal transplant which allows her to see again. She’s overjoyed, but not for long, as she begins seeing horrifying premonitions of death and disaster. Desperate to find out what’s happening to her, Wong travels to Thailand and tracks down her donor, only to discover a dark and gruesome truth.
How far would you go to drink (or eat) from the fountain of youth? A wealthy woman finds out that her husband is having an affair with a younger woman, so she takes drastic measures to become beautiful and look younger––if you haven’t already guessed from the title, it involves eating dumplings filled with a very unsavoury ingredient.
The saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” takes on new meaning in this cult classic. After fleeing from a tragic accident, a photographer named Thun and his girlfriend Jane begin to see strange figures in the photographs that they take––soon enough, terror ensues beyond the frame.
Shutter was such a hit that there aren’t just one, but three remakes; an American remake of the same name, and two from India (2007’s Sivi and 2010’s Click).
The Wailing by renowned director, Na Hong-jin made quite an impression to critics and viewers alike, with the film winning Best Director at the Asian Film Awards. The horror film follows a policeman who is investigating a series of unexplained murders and illnesses in the remote village of Gokseong.
Receiving widespread critical acclaim, while the film departs from classic jumpscares, it’s eerie, foreboding and unsettling which guarantees to leave you feeling unease throughout the entire time.
As if receiving a phone call in Ringu isn’t scary enough, Phone delivers yet another horror take on phones. The film is about investigative reporter Ji-won who begins to receive a series of mysterious calls. She eventually decides to change her phone and number hoping to escape but the menacing phone calls continue.
A must-watch if you’re a fan of generic South Korean horror films––this one’s a classic.
Who can refuse good luck? After picking up a discarded Bagua mirror on a bus, Kris Aquino decides to hang it in their home following feng shui tradition that it will drive away evil spirits and bring good luck. Soon after, a series of deaths relating to the victims’ Chinese zodiac signs unfold.
Feng Shui was released when “Asian horror” was gaining traction locally and overseas and feng shui is a solid contribution to the Philippines’ list of horror films.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is South Korea’s contribution to the ‘footage horror genre”. The film is based on a real-life psychiatric hospital of the same name and follows a horror web series crew that goes to an abandoned asylum to live stream.
Given the popularity of live streaming, the film seems suited to the age of the internet. As the style is that of found footage, you will feel like you’re literally watching a horror live stream instead of a movie.
Directed by the Pang brothers who also helmed the hit horror film, The Eye is yet another similarly titled film, The Child’s Eye. Starring Taiwanese actress, Rainie Yang, the film takes place in Bangkok after a group of young people go on a vacation. Upon arriving at the hotel, three of the men disappear and Rainie along with her remaining friends set out to find them only for deeply unsettling encounters to follow.
The Child’s Eye is the first 3D Hong Kong horror film and draws similarities and rehash of the Pang Brother’s 2002 hit film.