During the Asian horror heyday of the noughties, countries like Japan and South Korea proved they had genuine skill for the genre, producing a plethora of movies that still have the power to scare the crap out of film watchers today. Perhaps naturally, the success of genres like J-Horror and K-Horror led to a host of mostly American remakes hoping to cash in on their scare factor and popularity to varying degrees of success.
One of the major problems in adapting Asian horror movies into a horror designed to be more palatable for a Western audience is that there are so many differences between horror films hailing from the East and West. While Western horror, or more commonly American horror, has its established tropes and conventions that we’ve all seen one too many times, what made Asian horror so successful was that it introduced a whole new set of rules – vengeful spirits emerging from TV screens and mobile phones and plots devoid of easy resolution – that were genuinely unnerving.
Sadly, most Asian horror remakes don’t get a grip or make good use of these distinct differences but there are indeed some decent remakes out there that manage to pay homage to their predecessors while incorporating their own style and story. Though for every good remake, there’s an equally awful movie that suggests the Asian horror remake trend is more a boondoggle than a benefit to cinema.