Horror films of Asian craftsmanship exude a different kind of terror.
Because of the countries' rich culture that center on traditions, religion, and folklore, Asian filmmakers have a lot of material they can take inspiration from to create cinematic masterpieces about vengeful spirits, black magic, powerful curses, and haunting legends.
One such example is the recent supernatural horror film Incantation, which hails from the land of Taiwan.
The film is about a mother named Ronan who must find a way to fight against the curse she has put her family in after she had broken a religious taboo years before. It currently holds the title of being the highest-grossing film at the Taiwan box office in 2022 as well as the top-earning Taiwanese horror film.
The 2022 film recently released on Netflix already has a sequel in the works.
Incantation's financial success proves that Asian horror films are guaranteed to make your spines shiver and your skin crawl. If you were creeped out by Incantation and can't wait for its sequel to be released, it's not a bad idea to revisit some classic Asian horror films for the time being.
Here are some whose premise also revolve around curses and malevolent entities:
Shutter is a 2004 Thailand horror film that follows the story of a young couple, Jane and her photographer boyfriend Tun. After getting into a car accident with a woman on the road, they begin to see mysterious white shadows and faces in Tun's photographs.
Believing it may be the vengeful spirit of the woman they hit, Jane decides to investigate the matter, but as she delves deep into the supernatural activities happening around them, she soon uncovers a terrifying secret that Tun wants to keep under wraps.
Known for its absolutely shocking and nightmare-inducing twist, Shutter will make sure that you'll be afraid to touch a camera for a long time.
Another blood-curdling masterpiece from Thailand, this 2007 horror film centers on twin sisters Pim and Ploy, who are conjoined at the stomach and are forced to share a single body. While staying at a hospital, a charming young man flutters the hearts of both sisters, but he only returns the feelings of Pim, much to Ploy's jealousy.
Pim demands that she and Ploy be separated after an intense fight, but after undergoing surgery, Ploy dies as a result. What follows is a series of frightening events as the surviving sister is suddenly haunted by her other half.
The Ring is perhaps one of the most widely known Asian horror films in the world. After all, who hasn't had their dreams haunted by the image of the infamous Sadako crawling out of the television with her long black hair and ghostly white dress?
The original Japanese 1998 film revolves around a videotape that curses its viewers to die in seven days. Reiko Asakawa, a journalist, decides to look into the legend of the tape after her niece who watched it mysteriously died.
After watching the tape herself and receiving a threatening phone call, she becomes convinced that she is cursed. She must now race against time to relieve herself and her family of the tape's evil before the malevolent entity can claim their lives.
Ju-On: The Grudge
The Grudge is another Japanese film with a horrifying female villain who will curse you with many sleepless nights.
The 2002 film begins in the house of the Saeki family composed of Takeo, his wife Kayako, and their son Toshio. But the once happy family is bathed in blood when Takeo discovers that his wife was secretly in love with another man. In a fit of rage, he murders both his wife and their son in gruesome fashion.
The murders, however, create a curse around the house, and whoever enters it is met with certain demise as the vengeful ghosts of Kayako and Toshio haunt them wherever they go.
In case you've forgotten, the Philippines is also an Asian country, and our local film industry has boasted some amazing works of horror. An example would be the 2012 film The Healing by none other than Chito S. Roño, which held nothing back in terms of violence and gore.
Starring Vilma Santos, Kim Chiu, Janice de Belen, Pokwang, and Martin del Rosario, the film follows a group of people who all have medical problems that are plaguing their daily lives. After they all go to a faith healer, they were all miraculously cured of their illnesses.
However, every blessing comes a curse, and one by one, the patients face the unforeseen consequences of their actions when their doppelgängers begin stalking and terrorizing them.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
If you want a more recently released Asian horror film, then Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is the one for you.
This 2018 South Korean film uses the element of found footage to tell its horrific story. With its abandoned setting, dark atmosphere, and blood-curdling ghosts, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum will keep you at the edge of your seats even after the credits start rolling.
The film follows a horror web series crew who decide to travel to an abandoned asylum to do a live broadcast in order to gain popularity. But as they explore the asylum, they find that the hospital's terrifying history may be realer than they thought, and they must now find a way to get out before they become trapped with its dead residents forever.
If the premise sounds chilling enough for you, then you'd be pleased to know that the film is based on a real-life psychiatric hospital of the same name. According to the legend, the patients of Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital mysteriously started dying, which forced the hospital's closure and turned it into one of South Korea's three major haunted sites.
Yeah, good luck watching the film and happy Ghost Month.