What are the best Japanese horror movies?

Are you looking for Japanese horror movies that will give you literal nightmares every night? Or just absurd blood and gore? Well, you came to the right place! In here, there is an entry on this list for just about every horror fan's likes. Prepare to get scared! 

110 contributors
14 solutions
  1. 18

    #1Ju-on

    Ju-on

    Ju-on, also known as The Grudge, is a Japanese horror film released in 2002 directed by Takashi Shimizu. It centers on a mysterious and vengeful spirit named Toshio who pursues anybody who enters the house where he resides. 

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    Lauren Little
    Written on September 20, 2018
    "We all know that Ju-on was the first movie which actually made J-horror movies skyrocket into popularity. What sets it apart from the usual ghost house movies is that the curse is actually contagious like if u enter the house you're cursed as well as if you come in contact with a cursed person, which means once you got cursed time will only tell when you'll die. That is really sets it apart which differentiates i to other escape from the house horror movies eh"
  2. 16

    #2Audition

    Audition

    Audition is a Japanese horror movie released in 1999 directed by Takashi Miike, which was based on Ryu Murakami's 1997 novel. It centers on a widower Shigeharu Aoyama who stages an audition to meet her potential partner in life. 

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    Bobby Ortiz
    Written on June 11, 2018
    "Psycho ALERT! my god this movie is making me look at women in a different sense now. It gave me a creepy image of how mentally unstable people are like when you cannot really comprehend how they are handling things or how they deal with their own demons. The movie is really scary in this aspect."
  3. 13

    #3Battle Royale

    Battle Royale

    Battle Royale is a Japanese dystopian horror film released in 2000 directed by Kinji Fukasaku, which was based on the 1999 novel of the same name. It centers on a class of 9th-grade students forced to kill each other. 

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    Will Xu
    Written on September 20, 2018
    "Found out about Battle Royale when people said that Hunger Games was a lot like this although BR is a lot grittier and more complex teen murder romp. So i rented this on Amazon and damn this movie was so much better than Hunger Games (that is coming from a fan of the book series) This film is a teen slasher film where the teens are killing each other, which means there are too much blood. "

DID YOU KNOW?

Japanese horror movies are popular for their unique treatment of the horror genre. These movies tend to focus on the aspects of suspense and psychological horror. They also center on paranormal activity from ghosts to poltergeists. Moreover, the themes often feature exorcism, possession, and shamanism. It also uses silence to build suspense and tension to give a constant sense of dread. In fact, silence can convey more meaning and terror than any words of scream. Although silence isn't widely used in the Western film industry. Furthermore, western horror movies often focus on the shock factor, gore, and blood to frighten. Meanwhile, in Japanese horror, it is mostly about what you don't see on screen causing the fear. Indeed, Japanese horror is beautifully crafted and produced despite its difference from the usual western horror movies.

In the early 2000s, the J-horror trend emerged with the remake of several Japanese horror films. The first one was Ring released in 1998 got an American remake as The Ring (2002), and later on its sequel The Ring Two (2005). Other remakes include The Grudge, Dark Water, and Pulse. Surprisingly, most of the original directors who created these Japanese horror movies have directed the American remakes. However, these American remakes of Japanese horror have received negative reviews. In spite of this, the J-horror genre grew too fast in the West. Unfortunately, its American audience lost their taste of these repetitive Japanese ghost stories. By 2007, J-horror was no longer a thing in the West. On the other hand, Japanese audiences are still passionate about supporting Japanese horror. 

  1. 11

    #4Kwaidan

    Kwaidan

    Kwaidan is a Japanese anthology horror film released in 1965 directed by Masaki Kobayashi which has four separate and unrelated stories. This is based on stories from the collections of Japanese folk tales by Lafcadio Hearn. 

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    Jacqueline Castillo
    Written on September 20, 2018
    "IMO Kwaidan is the least scary of the films on this list but then it is certainly haunting with four different stories based on Greek writer Lafcadio Hearn. Even if this is an old film i really enjoyed watching this. Among those stories my favourite one was about the story of Hoichi who is a blind biwa player who has to entertain a royal family but his friends think those might not be real people. "
  2. 10

    #5Dark Water

    Dark Water

    Dark Water is a Japanese horror movie released in 2002 directed by Hideo Nakata. This centers on divorcee Yoshimi Matsubara and her daughter Ikuko Matsubara who move into a creepy apartment whose every surface is permeated by water.

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    María Sandoval
    Written on September 20, 2018
    "NGL this is the first horror film that made me cry for realz...Well, Dark Water is similar to Ringu but this film is much more concerned with the emotional and domestic struggles of the leads. The ending even tooked me by surprise. "
  3. 10

    #6Suicide Club

    Suicide Club

    Suicide Club is a horror-suspense and comedy film inspired by a mass suicide event that happened prior to the movie. It was directed by Sion Sono and was first released on March 9, 2002, by TLA Releasing. It starred Ryo Ishibashi, Takashi Nomura, and Hideo Sako.

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    Andy Yu
    Written on June 11, 2018
    "The theme used for this movie was made to address the seriously increasing suicidal rates that the people of Japan has been experiencing. Aside from the fact that this is a film representation of a true event it scared the hell out of me simply because the events that happened within the film could be linked to true events. Terrifying."
  4. 8

    #7Ringu

    Ringu

    Ringu, also known as Ring, is a Japanese horror and thriller movie directed by Hideo Nakata released in 1998. It centers on journalist Reiko Asakawa and her ex-husband Ryuji Takayama's investigation on a cursed videotape. 

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    Madison Long
    Written on June 11, 2018
    "This is the movie that set everything! My boyfriends arm turned red because I kept hitting it when we were watching this scary movie! This movie's theme is simply mind-boggling, using tape and TV as a medium of a haunting? Genius simply Genius."
  5. 5

    #8Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman

    Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman

    Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman is a Japanese horror movie adaptation of a famous urban legend, directed by Koji Shiraishi. It was first released on February 9, 2007, by Palisades Tartan. It starred Eriko Sato, Kato Haruhiko, and Miki Mizuno.

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    Carolyn Little
    Written on June 11, 2018
    "Definitely one of the scariest movies I've ever encountered. The conditions are surreal and unfair. It also gives you a sense of hopelessness and loss. As one of the famous urban legends in Japan, seeing this movie is like a nightmare come true."
  6. 4

    #9Noroi: The Curse

    Noroi: The Curse

    Noroi: The Curse is a Japanese horror and thriller film directed by Koji Shiraishi. It was released in the year 2005 following an indie documentary setting. It starred Jin Muraki, Rio Kanno and Tomono Kuga.

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    Dan Li
    Written on June 11, 2018
    "I believe Noroi is the better version of the Paranormal activity, less drama and more of an actual scare. Plus it isn't as flairy as other movies in the horror department but let me tell you this, the afterthoughts and ideas it will give you will haunt you deeply especially at night."
  7. 1

    #10One Missed Call

    One Missed Call

    One Missed Call is a mystery, horror and suspense film directed by Takashi Mike. It was first released on April 22, 2005, by Tokyo Shock with an MPAA rating of R. It starred Ko Shibasaki, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, and Kazue Fukiishi.

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    Arnav Dutta
    Written on June 11, 2018
    "One Last Call made me remember the Eye, only it deals with mobile phone curses. Japanese like mixing superstitious belief with technology which makes their concepts really unique. and the music my god the music is really grand. it will make your hairs stand on edge and you fall of your chair."
  8. 0

    #11Pulse

    Pulse

    Pulse, also known as Kairo, is a Japanese horror film released in 2001 directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It centers on two groups of people who discover that spirits might be trying to invade the human world through the use of the internet. 

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    Ann Gu
    Written on September 3, 2019
    "Recently got into J-horror movies and so far this is the scariest that i have seen yet (although i think a one or two will surpass this) I like how this movie is so profound too"
  9. 0

    #12Ju-on: The Grudge 2

    Ju-on: The Grudge 2

    Ju-on: The Grudge 2 is a Japanese horror film written and directed by Takashi Shimizu released in 2003 which is the sequel to Ju-on: The Grudge. It centers on a curse created by a murdered housewife in a Nerima house. 

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    Harold Kennedy
    Written on September 3, 2019
    "I have seen the first movie so i didn't have to miss this sequel. Let me just say that the first Ju-on was the creepiest movie I have ever seen. It scared me for two days :DDD. And now this sequel is even better as it got scarier than the first one. "
  10. 0

    #13Sadako vs Kayako

    Sadako vs Kayako

    Sadako vs Kayako is a Japanese supernatural horror film released in 2016 directed by Kōji Shiraishi. This is a crossover of the Ju-on and the Ring movie series. This has been teased as an April Fool's joke in 2015. 

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    Ann Gu
    Written on September 3, 2019
    "Im not really a fan of any horror movies might as well Japanese horror as I heard they are very scary. I got forced to watch this when my friends chose to see this during our sleepover. I dont have any idea about Ju-on and the Ring. So i cant really tell anything because i didnt really watched this hahaha"
  11. 0

    #14Over Your Dead Body

    Over Your Dead Body

    Over Your Dead Body is a Japanese supernatural horror film released in 2014 directed by Takashi Miike. It centers on Miyuki Goto who pulls some strings to get her lover Kosuke Hasegawa cast in a play. 

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    Jonathan Alexander
    Written on September 3, 2019
    "If I am going to describe this Japanese horror film. These would be the words: dark. sexy. violent. depressing. That's all. "

Summary

Best What are the best Japanese horror movies
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1Ju-onMovies 18 Paid
2AuditionMovies 16 Paid
3Battle RoyaleMovies 13 Paid
4KwaidanMovies 11 Paid
5Dark WaterMovies 10 Free
6Suicide ClubMovies 10 Paid
7RinguMovies 8 Paid
8Carved: The Slit-Mouthed WomanMovies 5 Paid
9Noroi: The CurseMovies 4 Free
10One Missed CallMovies 1 Paid
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