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

October 6th, 2010 by ebossert

(Click all images to enlarge)

30. Chaw (2009, Korea)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   30 Chaw 83x120 articles A monstrous, wild boar terrorizes a mountainside village in this horror/comedy. There are a number of lively characters introduced (my favorites being the cute nature-loving photography girl and the crazy witch) and there’s also a lot of giant pig action! The boar itself looks pretty cool (mostly CGI) and it’s got a bad temper that takes center stage during the second half of this movie. The humor is quaint and effective, and the finale is both lengthy and exciting. As a side note, the end credit montage seems to be a playful ode to Predator. A lot more fun than it probably should have been, and a huge upgrade from your typical “Sci Fi Channel” original.

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29. Hair Extensions (2007, Japan)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   29 Hair Extensions 84x120 articles A mortician harvests hair extensions from a woman’s corpse in this film by director Sion Sono. There is an admirable amount of time spent developing the key characters, as well as important past events. This may prove taxing in other movies, but the storyline is so engaging here (and the horror scenes so nicely placed and effective) that there is never a dull moment. Also, Chiaki Kuriyama is cute as always. The special effects are used successfully to create some crazy death scenes – the last of which is outrageous. This entry infuses even more originality and weirdness into the horror genre while safely avoiding some of the most prevalent genre cliches.

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28. Unholy Women (2006, Japan)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   28 Unholy Women 84x120 articles This is an anthology of 3 short horror films (approximately 35 minutes each). In “Rattle Rattle”, a girl is transported to an alternate dimension and chased by a psychotic, wraith-like bitch. With a non-stop tempo, this is very lean and satisfying. “Hagane” is a spectacular romantic comedy horror about a guy who goes on a blind date with a woman who (for some unknown reason) covers the upper half of her body with a potato sack. This mind-numbingly weird entry is a resounding success in terms of originality, humor, and frightfulness. “Inheritance” is a well-made, deliberately-paced possession film that focuses on child abuse. Overall, this anthology is essential viewing even for the “Hagane” short alone.

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27. Re-Cycle (2006, China)

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Yes, it’s essentially a thin CGI fest, but it’s hella entertaining. The Pang brothers direct this genre-bending fantasy-horror adventure about a novelist (Angelica Lee) who is transported to an alternate horrific dimension. The atmosphere and special effects are both fantastic and exotic. The level of originality is unprecedented with a number of unique sequences. The tempo is relentless and every horror element fits nicely within the primary themes. There are a few melodramatic moments near the end, but the finale within the Transit realm is a nice conclusion. Fun stuff.

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26. Yoga Institute (2009, Korea)

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A young woman visits a yoga institute, but becomes involved in a series of cultish rituals. The themes here are predominantly centered around vanity and the striving for perfect beauty through a form of witchcraft. The horror elements are atypical and fun to watch (no ghosts and very little human-inflicted violence). There’s heavy use of atmosphere (the institute itself is a private mansion with very elegant architecture and spooky interior designs) and scoring that utilizes low-tone chanting. The acting is sufficient and the characters are good, but the ending is a bit of a mind-boggler.

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25. Shutter (2004, Thailand)

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Considered by many to be the greatest horror film from Thailand, a photographer and his girlfriend are haunted by a vengeful spirit. Despite borrowing the Japanese style onryo ghost, the script and characters are fine-tuned while the horror sequences are well-executed (using a mix of jump scares and creepiness in a variety of ways). A classic of the genre.

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24. Tamami: The Baby’s Curse (2008, Japan)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   24 Tamami 84x120 articles A young girl arrives at her new mansion home, but must survive the attacks of a deadly mutant baby. This is based off of the works of Kazuo Umezu, and has a number of similarities to the Umezu-based short film Wish in terms of pitting a young child against an equally small (yet vicious) demonic entity, but this full length feature offers a much healthier helping of all of the goodies. The cinematography is great and the mansion environment is sufficiently moody. While starting off as a traditional creepy house endeavor, this morphs into a full-blown action-horror flick. The baby’s got an ugly mug and is easily pissed off. The filmmakers know this, so they do the right thing and toss in an absurdly long, extremely bloody slugfest between the little girl, the baby, and anyone else who’s unlucky enough to get in the way. Some of the death scenes are really cool too. A fun, wildly entertaining movie.

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23. Three Extremes (2004, China Japan Korea)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   23 Three Extremes 84x120 articles This is a popular anthology of short horror films from China, Korea, and Japan. The first story (“Dumplings”, director Fruit Chan) is a good but severely edited 40-minute segment of the full-length feature about the extreme measures people take to maintain beauty. It might be best for the viewer to rent or buy the full length dvd and watch that instead. The second story (“Cut”, director Chan-wook Park) is about a disgruntled actor who takes a director and his wife hostage, and touches upon the relationship between wealth and goodness. The third story (“Box”, director Takashi Miike) is the strongest of the bunch and focuses on the recurring dreams of a woman whose twin sister died when she was young (a very dreamy and surreal experience). All in all, this anthology is bleeding with originality and will surely satiate the needs of those looking for something different.

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22. Phone (2002, Korea)

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A reporter receives disturbing phone calls from an unknown source while her friend’s daughter suffers from psychological trauma. Ji-won Ha is one of the spunkiest lead heroines in recent memory, but the most memorable performance is that of the little girl who is unquestionably one of the most convincingly psychotic children in motion picture history. The horror elements are mostly conventional but still manage to produce some highly effective, surprising moments during the latter half. The storyline is solid and the final 30 minutes are well-written and gripping.

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21. Creepy Hide and Seek (2009, Japan)

The 50 Best Asian Horror Films of the New Millenniums First Decade   21 Creepy Hide And Seek 85x120 articles Vintage J-horror with all the positive characteristics that one expects from filmmakers who don’t seem to care at all about mainstream cinephiles’ short attention spans. The opening scene is an accurate representation of the entire film: very quiet and deliberately paced with a relentlessly ominous mood. There are a few kickass jump scares tossed in for good measure too. The onryo makes some appearances, but the simplistic rituals (involving dolls, salt water, rice, etc.) used to play hide and seek with the spirit contribute some novelty. The scoring is fantastic and likely the strongest element of the film. Fans of Japanese ghost movies should really dig this no nonsense genre outing that just piles on the gloom and doom from start to finish.

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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