Japan has a rich history of horror movies which has gained quite a following globally. As Hollywood has become repetitive and is heavily dependent on jump scares, American horror has not been quite as impressive lately.
Here are a few suggestions for Japanese horror movies that will surely give you nightmares.
Battle Royale (2000)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
What do you get when 100 teenagers are ordered to kill each other? They lose their civic sense.
Based on the then-banned novel of the same name, Battle Royale is Japan's answer to the current young adult dystopian movies.
The film takes place in a dystopian Japan. A draconian law called "Millennium Education Reform Act" enforces a group of ninth graders to be forcefully sent to a deserted island.
The reason? Well, the government wants them to kill each other, until the last person survives.
The New Yorker didn't call this movie "the real Hunger Games" for nothing.
Battle Royale is unapologetically violent and the kind of film that will kill the butterfly fluttering in your stomach. For horror junkies, this film is more than just a critic of the culture of competition.
Director: Takashi Miike
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, Audition is a slow burner - it commands you to clutch your pillow closer and wait for the plot to go berserk.
Shigeharu Aoyama, a rich middle aged man with a 17-year-old son, is widowed after his wife dies of cancer.
When his peer group wants him to remarry before it's too late, he holds a fake movie audition to select his would-be-bride.
During the audition he finds the "perfect" woman.
Asami Yamazaki, a thirty-something-year-old sweetheart, becomes the dream girl for Shigeharu.
They go on dates, exchange romantic camaraderie, and get married.
Until this point, the film can be labelled as a romantic drama. But the horrors unfold with the second act, when the true face of Asami is exposed bit by bit.
Apparently, she is not the person Shigeharu thought.
Audition is extremely gory and not for the faint of hearts.
Ichi the Killer (2001)
Director: Takashi Miike
Another disturbing film from the director of "Audition", which purists wouldn't call a true horror flick due to the lack of supernatural elements. But it's sadomasochistic violence will give you the chills for sure.
Our lead character, Ichi, from this film is a gangster who has dyed his hair like the infamous tik tok celeb Opu bhai. But Opu bhai is no match for Ichi as he goes on a sadistic spree to find his missing gang leader.
Ichi tortures, butchers and dismembers his victims and even cries for them at times.
The violence in this film is so far fetched that it's still banned in many countries.
Ichi the Killer might be difficult for many viewers to watch, but it is considered as one of the most accomplished works of the director.
Dark Water (2002)
Director: Hideo Nakata
The film was adapted from a short story written by Kôji Suzuki. In Japan, he is often called "the Japanese Stephen King".
Dark Water revolves around a single mother's battle to win sole custody of her daughter.
As the mother-daughter duo moves into a creepy apartment, they soon start to experience unexplainable things, all of which involve water and the house seems to have a leaked water system.
Yoshimi Matsubara, the mother, wants a fresh start but when she and her daughter start seeing a ghost, things take a turn for the supernatural.
The film reveals that a young girl who lived in the apartment went missing two years ago. She might be the ghost Yoshimi saw, and it wasn't a friendly one.
Dark Water is probably the least scary film of this list, but it is a good starting point if you want to explore J-horror.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto
This 80s cyberpunk horror film might have a family friendly title, but don't let it deceive you.
This body-horror film explores the fusion of human body and technology, but not in a pleasant manner.
In the film, a man with an agonising wound in his body gets run over by a car.
Instead of dying, the man's body goes through an inhuman transformation. The flesh of his body gradually turns into metallic parts - making him part man, part rusty metal.
He goes on a revenge spree as nothing can stand in the way of his hybrid mutation.
This film displays some incredible feats of stop motion - something we don't get to see in the age of CGI.
Entirely shot in black and white, Tetsuo: The Iron Man remains one of the most memorable Japanese horror films till date.