15 Scariest Asian Horror Movies to Watch This Halloween
- Ringu (Ring), JapanRingu (Ring), Japan
- Ju-on: The Grudge, JapanJu-on: The Grudge, Japan
- Dark Water, JapanDark Water, Japan
- Satan’s Slaves, IndonesiaSatan’s Slaves, Indonesia
- Munafik, MalaysiaMunafik, Malaysia
- The Eye, Hong Kong/SingaporeThe Eye, Hong Kong/Singapore
- Ladda Land, ThailandLadda Land, Thailand
- Shutter, ThailandShutter, Thailand
- A Tale Of Two Sisters, South KoreaA Tale Of Two Sisters, South Korea
- Train to Busan, South KoreaTrain to Busan, South Korea
- The Wailing, South KoreaThe Wailing, South Korea
- Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, South KoreaGonjiam: Haunted Asylum, South Korea
- Eerie, The PhilippinesEerie, The Philippines
- Feng Shui, The PhilippinesFeng Shui, The Philippines
- The Child’s Eye, TaiwanThe Child’s Eye, Taiwan
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. With Hong Kong slowly easing up, you can now enjoy Halloween parties. But for some, 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, put in the Halloween decorations and maybe even blankets––just for something to hide behind when things get too scary.
Ringu (Ring), Japan
The original, Japanese version of Ringu—or Ring—is sheer, raw horror and if you were a child of the early 2000s, 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 their fatal curse.
Ju-on: The Grudge, Japan
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 that makes it one of the most well-known Asian horror movies.
Dark Water, Japan
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 movie was so popular due to its eerie and creepy ghost story that it received a Hollywood remake in 2005.
Satan’s Slaves, Indonesia
Satan’s Slaves—directed by Joko Anwar, one of Indonesia’s most influential directors—is a loose remake and prequel to the 1980 cult classic of the same name. The story follows a family who is being haunted by the death of their mother. The eldest daughter, Rini, tries to find answers as to what led to her mother’s death and discovers a tie to a Satanic cult.
Popular with moviegoers at the time of its release, the movie highest-grossing domestic film in 2017 and has been released in 42 countries.
Munafik is the first film in a planned trilogy directed by Syamsul Yusof, who is also starring in the lead role. This Malaysian supernatural horror film centres around Ustaz Adam, a Muslim medical practitioner who is coping with the death of his wife. He starts to doubt his abilities and refuses to help people—that is until he meets Maria, a young woman possessed by an evil spirit. Hoping that he would learn the truth about his wife’s death, he tries to save her.
Munafik proved to be a commercial success and earned positive reviews from film critics and became the highest-grossing Malaysian movie in 2016.
The Eye, Hong Kong/Singapore
You’ve probably heard of or seen the Hollywood remake starring Jessica Alba, but as far as the 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.
Ladda Land, Thailand
Ladda Land was such a hit in the country because it was based on a real property in Chiang Mai that is believed to be haunted. True enough, the story follows a family who moves into a new house and begins to encounter paranormal events.
Sounds like a classic horror movie right? Except there’s not just the fear factor but also the family drama. The film even premiered at the Busan International Film Festival.
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).
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A Tale Of Two Sisters, South Korea
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.
Train to Busan, South Korea
Right in the throes of a zombie outbreak, Seok-woo (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 onboard zombie army begins to multiply at an alarming rate.
While not creepy or downright scary, Train to Busan is a stunning thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
The Wailing, South Korea
The Wailing by renowned director, Na Hong-jin made quite an impression on 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.
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Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, South Korea
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.
Eerie, The Philippines
Eerie marks prolific Filipino director, Mikhail Red’s first foray into the horror genre. Known for his nail-biting social commentary, Eerie also incorporates the same elements but with the added horror factor.
The movie is about Pat Consolacion, a convent school counsellor who is helping her students deal with the suicide of their classmate, Erika. But when the students start saying that they are being haunted by Erika’s ghost, Pat starts to doubt if she committed suicide and launches her own investigation, only to be stopped by Sister Alice.
Feng Shui, The Philippines
Who can refuse good luck? After picking up a discarded Bagua mirror on a bus, Joy Ramirez decides to hang it in their home following the 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.
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The Child’s Eye, Taiwan
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.
This article was originally published on October 24, 2019 and was updated on October 20, 2021.