7 Japanese Horror Movies You Need To Watch

7 of the best Japanese horror movies to watch


Ring (Or Ringu) is a classic Japanese horror film that is probably the most well known, and even had a half decent American remake. The plot in The Ring follows journalist Reiko as she investigates rumors of a cursed videotape after the mysterious death of her niece. 

As she delves deeper into the investigation, she finds the tape herself and watches its strange mix of unrelated images. Little does she know that this act incurs the wrath of the vengeful spirit Sadako.

If you enjoyed the film, I highly recommend seeking out and reading the novel versions There are five novels in total (I think), which expand on the story and take it in interesting and very odd directions. [Ring on IMDB]


Kwaidan is a four-part anthology film that brings to life classic Japanese ghost stories. Each segment tells a different tale, showcasing the rich and diverse folklore of Japan. The film's structure as an anthology allows it to explore various themes and narratives, providing a comprehensive experience of Japanese horror.

Kwaidan pays great respect to the original stories it adapts, staying faithful to their essence while adding its own artistic interpretation. The film embraces the atmospheric and psychological elements of Japanese ghost stories, creating a sense of unease that stays with the viewers long after the film ends.

As a fan of Japanese horror films, Kwaidan is a must-watch. It not only showcases the traditional tales that inspire modern horror films, but it also highlights the cultural and historical significance of these stories. [Kwaidan on IMDB]


This film is based on Ito's manga and takes you on a journey into a small town that becomes obsessed with spirals. (The film was also released on some parts as Spiral)

The plot revolves around a series of bizarre events that start innocently with a fascination for the spiral pattern on a snail's shell. However, things quickly escalate as the obsession with spirals takes a dark turn. From a girl's twisted hair to tornadoes plaguing the town, the film delves into a world of twisted and disturbing imagery.

The plot itself is open-ended, leaving many questions unanswered and allowing viewers to interpret the events in their own way. Uzumaki is a must-watch for anyone seeking a mind-bending experience. It showcases the talent of Junji Ito and his ability to create surreal and disturbing narratives. [Uzumaki on IMDB]

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a cult classic Japanese horror film that stands out from other movies on this list due to its production and visual style. Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, who also acts in the film, Tetsuo tells the strange story of an everyday salaryman who starts transforming into a horrifying half-man, half-metal creature after a run-in with a metal fetishist.

The film's production value is intentionally cheap, shot entirely in high contrast, grainy 16mm black and white film. The low-budget nature of the film adds to its nightmarish and disconnected atmosphere, with simple stop-motion effects and costumes made from old TV parts and junk.

Tetsuo's fragmented and fractured narrative style further enhances its production. The plot is told in a characterful and non-linear manner, adding to the sense of unease throughout the film. The lack of synchronized sound for most of the movie intensifies the nightmarish experience, creating a feeling of things not flowing quite right. [Tetsuo: The Iron Man on IMDB]


In the film Pulse, two linked stories explore the terrifying presence of technologically inclined ghosts. The first story revolves around a colleague who commits suicide, leaving behind a loop of strange images on his computer monitor. The second story is about a computer that starts accessing a mysterious website on its own, revealing people trapped in dark rooms and behaving strangely.

The film relies on uncanny recurring imagery, such as a strange red tape and reflections in computer monitors, to create a sense of unease. It taps into the primal fear of the unknown, making you question what might be lurking in the shadows.

Pulse delves into the theme of loneliness in a connected age. It explores how technology, which is supposed to bring people together, can instead isolate individuals and exacerbate their feelings of loneliness. [Pulse on IMDB]

Ju-On: The Grudge

Ju-On: The Grudge is the third installment in the Ju-On series but is often considered the first in terms of its wider recognition and its introduction to international audiences. The film revolves around a curse that is created when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse gathers in the place where that person died and repeats itself there, affecting the lives of everyone who comes into contact with it.

The story is told in a non-linear fashion, presenting various vignettes that are connected by the curse's influence. It follows different characters who encounter the haunted house where the curse originated, each segment revealing more about the tragic events that led to the creation of the curse.

The presence of the ghostly characters, Kayako and Toshio, became iconic within horror cinema. The film's success led to several sequels and an American remake titled The Grudge in 2004, which spawned its own series of films. You should also check out the TV series on Netflix as well. [Ju-On: The Grudge on IMDB]

Noroi: The Curse

I have already written a Noroi: The Curse review so give that a read, but basically Noroi is a very underrated horror movie in my view. I summed it up with:

I absolutely love Noroi: The Curse and give it a strong 8/10. It is a captivating Japanese horror movie that seamlessly weaves together different threads to create a beautifully intricate tapestry. It excels in building tension and creating an atmosphere that lingers long after the film ends. It may not be the scariest film ever made in terms of making you jump, but it has a unique ability to unsettle the viewer and leave them feeling disturbed. Noroi: The Curse on IMDB.

Don't forget to connect with me on Twitter (X) and get involved!