We’ve compiled a list of what we thought are the top 10 Asian horror films from 2005-2014. The list is presented by the year they were released. No. 6 has the most shocking story to tell!
Check out our 10 Must-see Asian horror films (2005-2014).
1. Noroi: The Curse (2005)
Noroi: The Curse is a J-horror film directed by Kôji Shiraishi in the tradition of ‘found footage’ style.
Following a case, investigative reporter Masafumi Kobayashi, who focuses on documenting supernatural phenomenon on film, mysteriously disappeared after his wife died inside their burning house. A finished documentary film was shown in Kobayashi‘s disappearance narrated by his cameraman.
The documentary shows Kobayashi and his cameraman investigating strange occurrences involving a woman who was acting weird and the deaths of those who have crossed their paths with her.
A girl who has a telekinetic power went missing and the man who might have all the answers for the girl’s whereabouts led Kobayashi to the place of an ancient demon ritual. The demon was supposedly called Kagutaba.
The Curse is 115 minutes long with scenes having relevant connections with the story that mustn’t be missed.
It’s a scary film but we are concern with the use of birds and dogs (animals) that were later shown to be killed. We hope that these are theatrical and none of the birds and dogs were harmed in filming Noroi: The Curse.
We give Noroi: The Curse 8/10.
2. The Victim (2006)
A Thai horror based on murder cases re-enacted by Royal Thai Police, The Victim tells the story of an aspiring actress, a young woman named Ting who was hired to play the part of victims in police re-enactments for media releases. The Victim is a 2006 horror-thriller written and directed by Monthon Arayangkoon, who also directed The House (2007).
At first, we thought The Victim was a just mediocre horror until it got interesting when it came to the part where Ting started to play a murdered Thai actress, Meen.
Later, it was then revealed that everything were just part of a film shoot and Ting was just a character played by a real actress, May.
It turns out that the horror was already happening as the film crew were shooting scenes involving May and the use of a coronet for a likay, a traditional Thai folk dance that was part of the shoot.
The mood of the movie got serious when production felt eerie activities and film crews started to die on the set.
May eventually found out who was haunting their set – the ghost of a woman who idolized May but was accidentally killed while undergoing face surgery. Through visions, May saw the body of the woman dumped on a river under a bridge. She vowed to help to locate her body so that the woman’s soul may rest in peace.
The Victim has a light-horror feel at the start but eventually bounced to live up to its genre.
We give The Victim 8/10.
3. The House (2007)
The House is another Thai horror directed by Monthon Arayangkoon gripping with suspense when a female television reporter investigates an angle for a story shrouding the mystery of murders that took place in a rustic house.
Her report and curiosity led her to become obsessed of the truth behind these murders when in fact, the accused were already in jail serving their sentences.
Ghosts of the murdered victims appear before her and evil spirits came to possess her husband, tricking him with nightmares of betrayal by his wife.
The house turns out to be a century old domain and a lot of unfortunate things happened there over the course of years dating back from the kings era and world war events.
The House is a 6/10 horror film.
4. The Coffin (2008)
The Coffin is another Thai horror starring International actress Karen Mok and Thai actor Ananda Everingham. The Coffin is a semi-English dubbed film (with few Thai translated scenes) unlike the first four we’ve reviewed above which all have English sub-titles. We believed that The Coffin was distributed for International release because of the popular actors in this film.
The Coffin takes us to a ‘funeral for the living’ ritual which is popular in Thailand and when the main characters tried themselves and took part of it, strange things happened to them afterwards.
It is believed that when a living person took part in the funeral for the living ritual, laid on the coffin, his or her bad luck or disease will be reversed or gone. It’s like cheating bad spirits and death.
Prolly a good reason to lay and styay inside a coffin, right? Unfortunately, that ritual is not 100% guarantee, after all. It turns out that the person will only transfer his or her miseries to another person closes to them. And this is where all the horrors started to happen in the story of The Coffin.
Greatly executed, there are a lot of elements of surprise delivered by director Ekachai Uekrongtham in this film which will frighten you til the end. Remember not to watch this film alone, in the dark, and when there is a storm brewing around or else you might be caught up screaming or running around.
We thought that the two main characters mishaps were on the same period, but they were not. Find out more about it when you watch The Coffin.
We give The Coffin 8.5/10.
5. Tamami: The Baby’s Curse (2008)
Tamami: The Baby’s Curse is a story based on Kazuo Umezo manga of a baby who have been cursed and dwells inside a mansion people thought of being a haunted house.
Tamami is likely the modern version of Philippines‘ folklore ‘tiyanak‘ – a baby monster who was originally a cute baby either left for dead, abandoned or aborted in fetus stage.
This J-horror film directed by Yūdai Yamaguchi offers a glimpse of that folklore in the modern times. The story is not an original concept yet there are scenes that will make you jump out of your seat.
Tamami, the monster, is already terrifying but the story was just so predictable we have to give it 7/10.
6. Grotesque (2009)
And now for the ultimate Asian/Japanese horror film. This film is not for those who have weak stomachs. Grotesque is an adult-rated film and not suitable for the young below 18 years of age.
Aptly titled, Grotesque (Gurotesuku) is a sick, shocking, psycho 2009 thriller aims to twist your mind and senses, written and directed by Kōji Shiraishi.
Almost real, each scenes will make you cringe and curse the character of the psychotic sadists which we presume is a doctor who snatched a young couple, tied them up in his basement clinic, and perform grotesque torture on them that any sane person could have ever imagined. There are too much gore and bondage acts shown in this movie that represents fulfillment for sexual pleasures.
We’ve accidentally found this film when we were searching online for more information about bondage for research topics which is popular in Japan‘s sadism and porn culture.
We could not imagine the pain and agony of Aki (played by Tsugumi Nagasawa) and Kazuo (played by Hiroaki Kawatsure) who were tortured by this ‘doctor’ (played by Shigeo Ōsako). A lot mutilation were shown including gross sexual acts that are really sickening to watch.
We must commend the great performance of these actors. There were only three characters in this movie and they all made an outstanding portrayals of their roles.
We give Grotesque a perfect score of 10.
7. Heaven and Hell (2012)
Heaven and Hell is a Thai trilogy horror directed by Yuthlert Sippapak who injected bits of humor in two of its short stories.
In the beginning, we thought that the sound of our player was busted because there were no sounds during the first 30-minutes. As it turns out, it was presented that way, like a silent film, to be shown as part of cctv footages. Turns out the whole Heaven and Hell trilogy encompasses on different peoples’ lives as seen from a cctv.
Heaven or Hell is not much of a scare but it does have a hard background story to tell if only it were used very well to give more horrific parts but instead, Heaven and Hell looked like a half-baked horror film.
Nevertheless, this ‘found footage’ depiction is another good reason to be part of this list. We give this Thai horror 5/10.
8. Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles (2012)
Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, starring Dingdong Dantes was manipulatively a good film, to begin with. All the cgi and special effects are commendable and might be the start of this kind of era for Philippine horror flick.
Written and directed by Erik Matti who is renowned for Pinoy horror and suspense flicks, was successful in bringing the story into the big screen. Acting weren’t bad at all. Combining comedy and horror in this film made it enjoyable to watch.
But what could be a great advantage, using cgi, would also technically ruin a good horror flick. CGI or computer-generated imagery is good for action and sci-fi films but not much for horror, in our own opinion.
We like watching horror films pure and raw, not digitally manipulated. These manipulations take out the essence of fright, scare, suspense, and thrill. Maybe it’s just this film Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. Maybe some cgi-manipulated horror films are much better. But still, we prefer horror to be just as raw.
Remember how the original Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara twisted your minds? How the early Shake, Rattle & Roll anthology scare the wits out of our heads?
We’re just giving a comparison of pure raw horror flick versus cgi-based movie. For the record, we enjoyed Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. And we applaud the modern technology for film incorporated to Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles.
In totality, we love the film and we also fell in love with the beauty of Lovi Poe in this film. It was a major disappointment for us that she was not included in the cast of the sequel, Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2 (2014).
Overall we give Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles 8/10.
9. Don’t Click (2012)
Don’t Click is a 2012 South Korean horror film, which we think was probably inspired by Ringu (The Ring) by Hideo Nakata, critically acclaimed as the best Asian/Japanese horror of the late 90s which spawned several Ringu-inspired Asian and Western movies.
Don’t Click revolves around the realm of a cursed video – a genre that was popularize by Ringu, and that whoever dares to watch the video will die a mysterious death. Don’t Click is directed by Kim Tae-kyung starring Park Bo-young, Joo Won, Kang Byul, Lee Malg-eum, Choi Ji-heon, Soo-min, and Lee Jeong-min.
As the title suggests, Don’t Click is a sort of warning not to click or watch the video to be saved from its curse. But of course, that doesn’t happen.
Don’t Click has all the fear factor and scare elements which makes it interesting to see from beginning to the end. There are few gore scenes added but the whole movie focuses more on the suspense to ignite more fear from the audience.
The story itself may not be original, a restless soul taking revenge of her family’s death by killing those who have seen her cursed video, but the present day attack of this genre (using social media as a way to get even with the victims) and production wise, gave a favorable reason why you must watch Don’t Click. We’re not be surprised if the up-coming Unfriended (American horror) was inspired by Don’t Click.
For the overall suspense ride, we give Don’t Click 9/10.
10. Dead Sign (2013)
Written and directed by Liu Hui, Dead Sign is a Chinese horror-thriller that will take you to a ride of suspense that began when a ritual for the dead was disturbed by a group of friends who were on their way to an old village led by young art student named Kangsheng.
They came to the village in search of adventure only to be caught up in a killing spree leaving them suspecting each other as one of the killer. Later on, the killings were also attributed to a supernatural belief of an unrest dead soul.
Eventually the truth was revealed but as the rest of the characters thought they’re already safe and saved, death is bound to finish what it has started.
We give Dead Sign 9/10 for a mind-boggling plot, twist, and gore.
1. The Oculus (2013)
The Oculus, though unlikely Asian, is a psychological-supernatural American horror flick directed by Mike Flanagan that will challenge the wits of the audience. Both disturbing and tragic, The Oculus is one horror full of suspense, thriller, and occasional gore ride.
The Oculus succeeds in combining two timelines showcasing parallel events between brother-sister characters who were solving the diabolical mystery behind a haunted antique mirror where evil spirits dwell.
The mirror was behind the paranormal events resulting to the gruesome deaths of their parents. As a young boy, Tim Russell (played by Garrett Ryan and Brenton Thwaites) was taken into psychiatric custody until his released 11 years after.
Meanwhile, Kylie Russell (played by Annalise Basso and Karen Gillan) working as an auction employee, got hold of the antique mirror and brought it to the old house for experimentation to prove that the deaths of the past owners of the mirror were diabolically related.
The Oculus is very well written for a full length movie after a successful run as a short film before its world premiere on September 5, 2013 at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
This brought us back to a similar story about a haunted mirror starring Keifer Sutherland titled Mirrors in 2008. Although there were some points for comparison, these two films about a haunted mirror rise above each other.
We give The Oculus 9/10.
2. Mockingbird (2014)
Another American horror film, Mockingbird started with good scary scenes even if it was a low-budgeted film. Directed by Bryan Bertino, Mockingbird is another ‘found footage’ flick that almost had the Hitchcock feel that audience will experience.
Unfortunately, though there are a lot of suspense, Mockingbird had too much of long sequences that were dragging and kind of boring to watch.
The plot was also confusing and the twist in the ending did not even gave a specific explanation as to why somebody would send a video camera to strangers, film themselves, scare them, and invite the unwilling victims to play a weird game to their deaths.
It’s a macabre of sorts but it failed to deliver a clear message of what was happening. Perhaps it was Bertino‘s way to confuse the audience. And it did at the end part of the film.
Mockingbird could have been meatier and scarier if there were better twists.
We give Mockingbird 6/10.
3. The Houses October Built (2014)
The Houses October Built is another take on the popular ‘found footage’ genre starring the director himself and four other guys, also playing as themselves in this film.
Director Bobby Roe and four of his real friends drove on an RV to search for the scariest haunted house attractions in Texas during the Halloween.
There were inserts of documentaries about the truth behind these haunt house attractions showing weird costume play of employees to the scariest props they use to entertain patrons.
A macabre of sorts, The Houses October Built has lot of scares to offer but has less story to tell. Let’s jump to the highlight of the movie where the group were captured by a bunch of masked weirdos and were slumped in separate themed-like haunt house before leaving them on a coffin-like buried to the ground. All of these happen while they recorded the footage and some parts by the so-called Blue Skeletons employees.
There were no hints as to why these weirdos ganged up on Bobby and his friends on a Halloween night. Or maybe, they were just selected randomly. Poor friends.
Anyways, this American horror-thriller did scare us with some of the scenes. It’s a little bit like Saw. And yes, try watching this during Halloween.
With that we give it 7.5/10.
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