We've compiled a list of some favorite Japanese horror movies that will make you want to yell "Kowai!"

I remember the first time I saw Ringu with my parents.

In our usual Saturday tradition, we would stay up late and watch movies together (RIP Blockbuster). I was middle school age, and my parents finally agreed to let me stay up and watch a scary movie with them. During a tense scene, the music dropped out, there was a second of silence, and then BAM - my parents and I jumped because we heard a loud crash at our backdoor. We paused the movie and my dad creeped over to see what it was.

He started laughing, and I was sure the Ring’s curse was slowly turning my whole family insane. My dad turned on the lights, and both my mom and I let out a sigh of relief. It was an alley cat that jumped onto the screen of our door and was just chilling there. My dad tapped the screen door until the cat jumped off, and we went back to watching the movie .

I love watching movies with my family (especially since I got to choose an entire box of candy to enjoy). In honor of these Saturday nights, I’d like to share a list of Japanese horror movies that you can binge or slowly enjoy during this spooky season. Good luck!

No spoilers, and safe to continue on!

Here's Michelle's List!

Battle Royale

Think Hunger Games, but more blood and sinister characters. In high school, I read the book, so when a movie came out I HAD to watch it. As always, movies aren't as great as the books, but still this was a pretty awesome movie. Lots of suspense, fight scenes, and blood. (13+)

The Ring

Classic. This film inspired the American version! I will say it’s less gory, but the cinematography is much creepier. (13+)


A widower decides to date again. His friend sets up a fake audition to find a new wife. Then it all goes down hill. By down hill, I mean HEYWIRE. This film is gory and quite intense, but the plot kept me in it. Lots of strange scenes, and would definitely watch with caution.(18+)


This movie I am the most excited to watch. It is based on Junji Ito's (famous horror manga artist) work. Uzumaki roughly translates to swirl or whirlpool. A town is increasingly obsessed and plagued by spirals. I might read the manga first and then watch the movie (the manga is also being made into a special horror anime series), either way the shapes and imagery look terrifying!

Ju- On (The Grudge)

Another movie that inspired an American remake. The Ring is more iconic for me, but this still gets the creepy job done (my brother imitated the ghost walk for YEARS after we watched it). (13+)

Sadako vs Kayako

Okay. I know you know The Ring, and I know you know The Grudge. But did you know that in Japan they came out with an awesome crossover film? The title pretty much tells you the premise of the film - two major spirits duke it out, and the world has to deal with the consequences! Not amazing, but a fun way to mashup two movies.(13+)

Jisatsu Sakuru (Suicide Club)

A detective investigates a string of suicides in Japan. There are a lot of intense scenes, so I would watch with caution. The plot is interesting and very sinister. If you enjoy social commentary, I would definitely recommend. (18+)


Directed by the same director as Audition! This psychological thriller is about a cast in a play that has various feelings for one another. When their feelings become amplified and their possessiveness and obsession grows, reality and fantasy get blurred.

Just a note that the original title roughly translates to “the woman who devours flesh.” I’m worried!


A horror anthology that won the Special Jury Prize in the 1965 Cannes Film Festival. The movie is supposed to be beautifully shot. I love horror movies, and I love them even more when the cinematography is on point!


This movie is a found-footage/documentary style horror movie (think Blair With Project or Paranormal Activity). I think these styles are the WORST because of shaky camera/the added element of ~reality~ but I am interested, so I plan to watch this soon.

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