The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millennium’s First Decade

October 6th, 2010 by ebossert

(Click all images to enlarge)

50. Thirst (2009, Korea)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   50 Thirst 83x120 articles After a blood transfusion, a priest (Kang Ho-song) becomes a vampire and must decide on how to deal with this new affliction. This is a genre-bending film – using drama, romance, comedy, and horror – which is always a welcome, refreshing attribute. The acting is solid, and Ok-bin Kim provides the standout performance that should solidify her as one of the top actresses in South Korea (a bold statement considering that country’s deep pool of young acting talent). However, the script tries to be a jack-of-all-trades as it touches upon a variety of themes that are never fully developed. As a consequence, the storyline feels very basic and the characters come off as slightly underdeveloped. The final 40 or so minutes are by far the most entertaining when Ok-bin Kim begins to gleefully dominate the proceedings as the film shifts more decisively towards horror. The camerawork is nice, but not as visually stunning as some of Chan-wook Park’s previous works. In the end, this is a moderate success with high overall quality. The viewer should note that there is a healthy amount of sexual content here.

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49. Rampo Noir (2005, Japan)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   49 Rampo Noir 84x120 articles This is an anthology of 4 short films. The first story is entitled “Mars Canal” and has a running time of only 6 minutes, but is nicely disturbing. It is artificially devoid of sound, and has very eerie cinematography. The second story (“Mirror Hell”) is a fairly bland detective story revolving around killer mirrors that proves to be the weakest entry of the bunch. The third story (“Caterpillar”) is about a woman who tortures her husband (who has no arms or legs) The violence is disgusting here and it features a crazy sex scene, but there is a noticeable aura of disturbance present – mostly due to the shocking visuals and characters. “Crawling Bugs” is a weird, gruesome, and unsettling story about a chauffer who abducts a female singer. In the end, this anthology contributes a few solid short films that – despite their slow-pacing and borderline gratuity – offer some original, refreshing elements to the horror genre. A somewhat risky play for most viewers, but it’s worth a shot.

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48. Dark Water (2002, Japan)

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A mother and her daughter move into an apartment with a horrific history in this film by Hideo Nakata. This is a more traditional Japanese ghost film, with very slow pacing during and a focus on the relationship development between the lead characters. When the climax occurs, however, it is well executed and worth the wait. This is a horror film with a heart, and considered by many to be one of the best.

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47. Epitaph (2007, Korea)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   47 Epitaph 84x120 articles In February 1942, the fate of a handful of hospital employees and patients intertwine through three separate stories. This film has all of the bells and whistles of high quality East Asian horror – good acting, pretty cinematography, and an intelligent screenplay. The structure of the storylines are such that each begins with an enigmatic event that is explained more fully later on. There is a heavy emphasis on motivation and psychological clutter, but the primary contributions are the unpredictable turns of events that unfold within each story. One negative is that the pacing lags at times, so the viewer may need to exercise a bit of patience. The horror elements are classical, but the execution results in a very mature, refreshing experience.

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46. Infection (2004, Japan)

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A small group of doctors and nurses attempt to contain and study an unknown virus that liquefies its victims into green ooze. The atmosphere and score are relentlessly creepy, which nicely wears the viewer out over time. The method of transfer from person to person is a bit too ambiguous for its own good, but the focus on mind and psychology in explaining the nature of the disease is innovative and a welcome change from the generic biological threats that typify these types of films.

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45. Carved 2 (2008, Japan)

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This is a prequel to Carved that deals with the origins of the slit-mouthed woman. Starts off like a light-hearted drama, but quickly turns violent. There are a few well-executed death scenes, but the dramatic elements are the strength of this movie. It does a very good job at humanizing the ghost-like killer and also establishes a few victims that are both likeable and multi-dimensional. The mythos is driven by unfortunate tragedy as well as social ostracizing. A superior film compared to its predecessor.

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44. Bloody Reunion (aka To Sir With Love) (2006, Korea)

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A small group of childhood friends have a reunion at their former teacher’s rural house, but fall prey to a merciless killer. East Asian horror isn’t necessarily known for its slashers, but this is one of the better ones. The death scenes are nicely gruesome, but the novelty here is the character interaction that plays an important psychological role down the stretch. This is a success.

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43. The Victim (2006, Thailand)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   43 The Victim 83x120 articles An aspiring young actress gets hired by the cops to reenact the deaths of murder victims in an effort to catch their perpetrators, while spirits haunt the premises. The lead actress should be commended for creating one of the more likeable protagonists in recent memory. Pacing is excellent, with horror sequences occurring frequently. There are some stand-out moments in this movie (e.g., the bathtub/hallway scene, the wall shadows, etc.), many of which have doses of welcomed originality. The most notable contribution though are the various acts of deception on the part of the scriptwriters that keep the viewer off balance.

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42. The Doll Master (2004, Korea)

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A group of people are invited to a doll-maker’s mansion to photograph the exquisite handiwork. This plays out as a slasher of sorts with life-sized dolls as antagonists. There is surprisingly little cheesiness, but the film is best viewed as a fairly superficial, fast-paced romp that’s very pretty to look at (the mansion is beautiful) and entertaining to boot. One of the better East Asian films with killer dolls as the theme.

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41. Voices (aka Someone Behind You) (2007, Korea)

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A girl’s acquaintances inexplicably attempt to kill her while in a state of temporary insanity. There are a few nasty death scenes and a kickass dream sequence with enough blood to fill a dump truck. The characters are also extremely likeable with fine acting. The script is thought-provoking but too vague and ambiguous for its own good, leaving some gaps in the storyline. Nevertheless, this is something that is both different and fast paced with a murder attempt around every corner.

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  1. Goreflixblog Says:

    Some good movies on this list. My LoveFilm account’s going to be heaving with Asian horror after reading this. http://Goreflix.com