Any fan of horror movies knows that a great horror movie needs a catching story and a good amount of suspense to leave the viewer glued to the TV. The Japanese horror movies have always had a big influence on cinema worldwide, and without a doubt left the bar way too high when it comes to scaring someone. Horror is a hard genre to create and not everyone loves it, but japan beats us all in it. Its influence is huge and they are not afraid of taking risks, provoking, and being originally daring. Luckily for every horror fan out there, we are blessed with some of the best J-horror movies. If you don’t know what to watch first or which one to take next, here are some of the best titles in Japanese horror.
This J-horror movie was released in 1998, based on Kôji Suzuki’s book. If you already know this title, that’s because this film inspired the 2002 American version “The Ring”. While in the book, the main character is a married man, and the curse is in reality a virus, the movie takes a different turn. It tells the story of a female, divorced reporter who decides to investigate a supposed cursed tape that kills anyone who watches it, in seven days. What motivates this reporter to investigate this case is the sudden death of her niece, who supposedly dies of heart failure. However, a group of his friends also die on the same day, place, and of the same cause. This movie inspired a lot of different spinoffs and crossovers, but there’s no doubt that this one is still the scariest of them all.
Ju-on: The Grudge
This 2002 film, directed by Takashi Shimizu, is part of a trilogy, the Ju-on series, and it’s the first one to be different from the straight-to-video hits from this director. This film tells the story of a social worker who volunteers to visit a family, however, the moment she crosses the door, she’s already cursed. In this house, a mother, Kayako, and her son were killed by their husband/father, Takeo, and the curse comes to life when these two become vengeful ghosts. They haunt the house and everyone who enters. (Spoiler Alert!) This film is quite different from the usual since the curse eventually consumes the person and when the ghosts get to her, they kill her. No one leaves the house alive. These details give a scarier touch to the story. A film that’s an absolute must for all horror fans.
Tag (Real Onigokko)
Launched in 2015, Tag or Real Onigokko, in Japanese, is inspired by a book of the same title. This film follows the life of a teenage girl named Mitsuko, a quite unconventional story. While we follow the Mitsuko, we see everyone around her suffer a horrific and bloody death. While all of this horror is happening, Mitsuko has to survive and understand what is going on around her. Adding to this, this film has a feminist side and approaches the objectification of women. The question is: who or what is the cause of all of this? You’ll have to watch it to find the mysterious reason.
Suicide Club, or Jisatsu Sãkuru, the original title, is a Japanese independent satirical horror film, released in 2001. Just like the name says, this film addresses a sudden suicide wave in Japan, and it’s also a real critique of the suicidal rate in this country. It all starts with 54 high school girls, holding hands and showing an apparently happy face, while throwing themselves in front of the subway train. A really strange event that was only the tip of the iceberg, when a lot of other suicides and mass suicides started to happen. A group of 3 detectives starts to investigate these events in order to find the reason why all of this is happening. With such awful things happening, will they find the mysterious “why”? This film was quite popular in festivals because of its controversial topic and horrific representation. That’s everything a horror fan wants in a movie.
Ending With a Slash
Japan is the source of amazing cinema, however, when it comes to horror, no one beats them. If you were looking to learn more about horror films or explore films from different countries, we highly recommend taking the time to watch these. I hope you find them the perfect scare.