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10 Must-See Asian Horror Films on Netflix Instant Queue

Within the last decade, Asian films have been making quite the impression on the worldwide movie market. Most notable among these features are their top-notch horror films, making directors such as Takashi Miike and Fruit Chan just as recognizable as the likes of John Carpenter and Wes Craven to horror lovers. Thankfully, Netflix instant streaming offers up some phenomenal Asian horror features that are perfect for rounding out your very own 31 Days of Horror.

Ichi the Killer

Ichi the Killer by director Takashi Miike is not for the faint of heart. Loaded to the brim with gore from the opening scene on Miike takes a sick pride in churning the viewer’s stomach. Ichi kicks off with sincere perversion and showcases Miike’s deep lack of empathy for those who suffer at the hand of depravity and violence, however, Miike has a talent for pushing the boundaries of disgusting into the realm of zany and perhaps comical. Ichi the Killer has a way of making its viewers seesaw between wanting to hurl and bursting into laughter effectively.

Ju-on

Several years after a gruesome family murder-suicide, the unaware Murakami family moves in. However, just as soon as the family moves in, they begin to disappear. Yet it isn’t just those who live in the house that meet with the vengeful spirit, but anyone who sets foot inside.

Originally a made-for-TV movie, Ju-on quickly took on a life of its own as the latest in the “hair-horror” phenomena and quickly gained international attention as a low-budget, cult-horror icon. Foregoing big-budget special effects and even slightly frightening make-up jobs, Ju-on still somehow retains an undeniable creepiness. Despite the film’s short-comings, it is now regarded by many fans and critics as a Japanese horror classic.

The Host

Seoul’s Han River is just as polluted as any other major city river in the world. Well, all for the fact that it produces man-eating super monsters. Hands-down the best monster movie since Godzilla, The Host keeps it scary while maintaining its wit, making for one completely awesome Korean horror experience.

Dumplings

The price of beauty is a rather ambiguous expression. To some the price of beauty means that there isn’t a value one can place on eternal youth. They would pay any price and perform any number of deplorable, subhuman acts satisfy their vanity. Showcasing extreme megalomania at its finest, Dumplings addresses what such individuals would pay for eternal youth.

Expanded from its original short form featured in 3 Extremes, Dumplings would take an originally brilliant and sadistic idea, and overembellish itself into something almost too dark.

Bedevilled

“So, I’ve got this great idea for a movie! Take this girl who’s completely cut-off from the rest of the world, and make every imaginably awful thing happen to her. Like, I’m talking as dark as you can go, guys,” presumably said the guy who came up with the plot of Bedevilled. It’s a difficult watch, to say the least, but stick in there for the second half as it’s violently rewarding.

Rigor Mortis

Jumping vampires and zombies known as jiāng shī might be a laughable concept in the West, but for those in China and many parts of Eastern Asia, it’s a traditional belief that still strikes fear in a great deal of natives. Jiāng shī became a popular horror genre in the 1980s, but as more serious horror from the West and Japan became more popular in the Eastern Asia, the boom of jiāng shī films began to die down.

In an attempt to revitalize the genre, new director Juno Mak released Rigor Mortis, known as Jiāng shī in China, in 2013. Down to its core, Rigor Mortis is a nod to popular jiāng shī films of the ’80s, and features Chin Siu-ho, Anthony Chan, Billy Lau, and Richard Ng of the Mr. Vampire series, as well as Chung Fat from Encounters of the Spooky Kind.

Dream Home

After a life of hardships, and scraping and saving for the perfect apartment, Cheng Lai-sheung finally has enough to live her dream. But when the homeowners decide not to sell Cheng her dream home, she snaps and decides to go to extreme lengths to get what she wants.

Amidst the shock and vomit-inducing gore lies a satirical take on capitalist society that currently runs rampant in Hong Kong — not to mention much of Asia. However, the main theme of this horror film is shock and it does so quite well.

In the midst of a despicable and disgusting murder rampage, the film peppers in bits about the main character’s arduous life, creating empathy for a monster. Story-telling and shock gore rarely go hand-in-hand, making Dream Home a film that will stay with you for a longtime to come.

The Eye 2

Your boyfriend leaves you, then you botch a suicide while vacationing in Thailand, find out you’re pregnant by said ex on top of the nervous breakdown you’re having, and suddenly there’s a bunch of ghosts everywhere you look — your life is terrible, Joey Cheng, but you make for a good Asian horror plot.

Despite the typical short-comings that plague most Asian horror films (occasionally slow, laughable scenes, far too much screaming/crying, and odd, distorted story arcs), The Eye 2 makes up for it all with a solid middle of back-to-back scares. A must-watch for any Asian hair horror fans, or any horror fans looking to kill an entertaining hour-and-a-half.

I Saw the Devil

Since 2003, psychological thriller filmmakers, particularly those in South Korea, aim to be compared to Oldboy. Unfortunately for most, they nowhere near hit their mark. However, that’s certainly not the case for 2010’s I Saw the Devil.

After his pregnant fiancé is mercilessly tortured and murdered, secret service agent Soo-hyun obsessively hunts down her killer. But after finding Kyung-chul, her murderer, and unraveling further gruesome deaths, Soo-hyun begins to blur the line between justice and sadistic vengeance.

Often regarded by many as being on the same level as Oldboy, I Saw the Devil garnished its admiration for more reasons than just both films’ star, Choi Min-sik. I Saw the Devil is a stomach-turning, wince-filled, jump-inducing horror / thriller from New World writer, Park Hoon-jung and The Good, The Bad, and The Weird director, Kim Jee-woon.

Although I Saw the Devil is brutally gruesome, the film’s truly stay-with-you moments come from its intelligent story-telling and psychological terror, not simply relying on shock value to keep you awake at night.

Dead Ball

Dangerous crook and baseball savant Jubeh Yakyu is apprehended and thrown in Pterodactyl Juvenile Reformatory. Soon, Jubeh will find out that the detainees are the least dangerous in the prison as he comes face-to-face with Nazi headmistress, Ishihara. The headmistress learns of Jubeh’s baseball prowess and coerced him to join their baseball team. Unfortunately a little too late, Jubeh learns that it isn’t a regular game of baseball, but the deadly game of Deadball.

In the spirit of keeping this list as diverse as possible, Deadball is the absolute out-of-left-field pick. Twisted, deranged, juvenile, and completely psychotic, what the film may lack in substance it makes up for in pure entertainment value. As part of Yudai Yamaguchi’s (Versus, Chromartie High, Meatball Machine) staple off-the-wall shock-horror/comedy, Deadball is as insane as its predecessors but just as enjoyable.

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Categories: Best and Worst of Everything

Author:Jen

Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Another Castle | Twitter: @ComradeJen

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5 Comments on “10 Must-See Asian Horror Films on Netflix Instant Queue”

  1. Kripple
    01/05/2015 at 10:26 PM #

    Great list. I have seen some of these. (Ichi the killer, the Host,Rigor Mortis, I Saw The Devil and dumplings) I loved all of them! Really enjoyed Ichi the Killer.

    I have just recently started to watch Asian horror films on Netflix and Amzon Prime and am now addicted to them. They are just hard to look up. The only way I have been able to is look under the horror section and find them.( I’m watching on a ps4) so I appreciate the list.

    Would love to know about any and all Korean or Japanese horror flicks that I can stream on either Amazon Prime or NetFlix.

  2. 01/05/2015 at 11:07 PM #

    Glad you enjoyed the list! It’s pretty awesome how much easier it is to get your hands on these movies nowadays with the likes of Netflix and other streaming services.

    Although it’s more suspense / psychological thriller than horror (at least in my opinion), I’d highly suggest checking out the ‘vengeance trilogy’ — Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance — if you enjoyed I Saw the Devil. As for Chinese horror, The Eye 2 is surprisingly enjoyable for a bland horror film — probably due in great part to my love of Asian ghost stories. Then for Japanese horror, Reincarnation is a pretty neat film.

    Unfortunately, some of my recommendations have been taken down including the ‘vengeance trilogy’. However, Hulu Plus does have the trilogy and a few others that are worth watching: White, House, Cold Fish, Kuroneko, and Cure.

    Hope that helped!

  3. Kripple
    01/06/2015 at 2:37 AM #

    Thanks for the info! I have seen Oldboy. I watched it a week or 2 ago…but I’m just finding out it is a trilogy! Thanks for that!

    I did some searching on Netflix with on my PC and was able to find a whole bunch more. I have been binge watching all night already. Watched -Alter Ego(thought it was damn good,Amazon Prime),Be With Me(enjoyed the hell outta this on too,Amazon Prime)-Ring of Curse(loved it,Netflix), and am currently in the middle of Stories of Apparitions(NetFlix).

    I’ve always been a horror flick fan but I’m really getting into all of these Asian horror flicks! I really like the change from watching the same old American slash fest, and a lot of these movies are really really good… If you don’t mind reading…or I guess you could learn another language.😃

  4. 02/19/2015 at 5:14 PM #

    Reblogged this on Rice Cake.

  5. Rafael Macasigin
    10/21/2016 at 8:35 PM #

    The Eye, Shutter, Whispering corridors 5: Blood pledge, WHite: Melody of a curse, One Missed call, Alone, Yoga, Laddaland, D day, February 29, Forbidden Floor, Doll Master, The Wig, The Maid, Hair Extension, Train to Busan, Art of the Devil 1,2 and 3, Face, Tamami:the baby curse, whispering Corridors 3: Wishing stairs,I miss you, Bedevilled, Phone, Acacia, Evil Twin

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