20 Awesome J-Horror Movies Every Horror Fan Should See

One of the finest horror sub-genres of them all...

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AFDF Korea

If you are a horror buff, you are really doing yourself a disservice if you don't check out Japanese horror cinema. Aside from America, Japan is pretty much the best country for horror movies and the consistently high quality of J-Horror is extraordinary.

So, why is Japanese Horror so good? There are a number of factors that contribute to this. J-Horror explores many fascinating, specifically Japanese themes such as the clash of traditionalism and modern technology and Japanese folklore, while these films also go to darker and more unique places than many American films since Japanese films aren't subject to as much censorship.

Additionally, Japan has a terrific collection of horror directors who have a great grasp on what makes a horror film scary and emphasise atmosphere and subtext over jump scares.

Granted, there are a fair few terrible J-Horror films out there too - Lesson of the Evil, Sadako 3D, Ju-On: The Beginning of the End, Ichi the Killer and Battle Royale II: Requiem leap immediately to mind - but nevertheless, J-Horror is really, really worth exploring.

If you want to dive into Japan's amazing line-up of horror films, then these following twenty gems are a great place to start...

20. As The Gods Will

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Plot: Thousands of high school students all over Japan are forced to take part in a series of demented death matches modelled on childhood games.

It's been a quiet decade for J-Horror overall and the most noteworthy releases have been yet more sequels in the Ju-On and Ring franchises, indicating that the sub-genre is going through a creative drought. There has still been the odd great movie though and As the Gods Will is definitely one of them.

What are some of the most common things in Japanese Horror? Female protagonists, fears about technology, long-haired female ghosts, broken families, modernity clashing with traditionalism and... death games. Japan really loves its death game movies and As the Gods Will is one you cannot miss.

Visually stunning, demented, brutal, darkly comical, endlessly entertaining and bursting with vibrant, tension-filled set-pieces, this one is absolute insanity that will linger with you for days after you see it. The squeamish should stay away, but most other viewers will likely find this a delightfully crazy obscure gem that's well worth seeking out.

Since he's literally made over 100 films throughout his career, director Takashi Miike's output is inevitably inconsistent, but this one is a must-see.


Film Studies graduate, aspiring screenwriter and all-around nerd who, despite being a pretentious cinephile who loves art-house movies, also loves modern blockbusters and would rather watch superhero movies than classic Hollywood films. Once met Tommy Wiseau.