• 10 Best Japanese Horror Movies in 2022 (Ringu, Ju-On, and More) 1
  • 10 Best Japanese Horror Movies in 2022 (Ringu, Ju-On, and More) 2
  • 10 Best Japanese Horror Movies in 2022 (Ringu, Ju-On, and More) 3
  • 10 Best Japanese Horror Movies in 2022 (Ringu, Ju-On, and More) 4
  • 10 Best Japanese Horror Movies in 2022 (Ringu, Ju-On, and More) 5

10 Best Japanese Horror Movies in 2022 (Ringu, Ju-On, and More)

Whether you're a horror movie fan or a newcomer to the genre, Japanese horror movies are sure to terrify and entertain you. Japanese horror movies, often shortened to J-horror, take inspiration from Japanese folk tales. The culture, combined with incredible practical and special effects and dreadful, creeping suspense, make these movies unique. As some of the most popular horror films, J-horror movies are found on many popular streaming sites like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and more. 


We searched through popular Japanese horror movies across many different streaming services and compiled a list of our 10 favorites that will shock and terrorize you. Our favorite Japanese horror film is Ringu because its story is full of mystery and scary moments. The film also proved its influence by helping to popularize J-horror across the world, spawning a trend of Hollywood remakes of J-horror films in the early 2000s. Our buying guide goes into more detail on which criteria to keep in mind when selecting the perfect Japanese horror movie!

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  • Last updated: 08-22-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Japanese Horror Movie - Buying Guide

Selecting a Japanese horror movie can be intimidating as the genre is varied and has a long history. Some aspects to consider are the subgenre, the streaming services on which it is available, and the release date. Keep those points in mind to pick the perfect film for you!

Select an Appealing Subgenre

Japanese horror movies take risks with genre and style. Some subgenres of J-horror have been especially impactful on filmmaking, and selecting the best one is determined by what you find interesting in a horror movie. 

Ghost Stories for Spiritual Horror

Ghost Stories for Spiritual Horror

One horror story that might be familiar to Western audiences is the Japanese ghost story. In these tales, the ghosts struggle to pass to the afterlife. They are often held back by powerful events or unresolved emotions


A very popular type of ghost in J-horror is yūrei, a vengeful spirit. This horror trope was made known by the Japanese horror film Ringu. The film was later adapted for Western audiences and found success as The Ring


Choose this type of film if you prefer spiritual terror and mysterious plots. Quite often the protagonist will need to uncover the reason as to why the spirit is still tied to the realm of the living. In order to help the spirits find peace, the characters will help them accept their unresolved emotions. 

Psychological Horror for Creeping Suspense

Psychological Horror for Creeping Suspense

Psychological horror succeeds at shocking and terrifying by slowly building tension through suspense. The plots often focus on heightened emotions and fear of the unknown. 


Japanese psychological horror is special because it reflects cultural fears, offering a unique insight into past or current trends in Japan. For instance, the classic J-horror film Audition is known for its skin-crawling suspense and intrigue, but it also explores cultural issues like gender roles and class disparity. 


Choose this sub-genre if you like character-driven films that play tricks on the mind. This style of movie will have you on the edge of your seat through twists and turns, quite often ending in a big reveal that changes everything. 

Splatter Films for Unbelievable Practical and Special Effects

Splatter Films for Unbelievable Practical and Special Effects

This sub-genre will often have an absurd plot with an excess of gore and other special effects. The movies feature such bizarre stories and visuals that they often become comical, which is a common type of splatter film. 


These films often appeal to Western audiences due to their intense action scenes and variety of stories, ranging from the rampage of horrifying killers to a fierce battle between robots and aliens. 


Pick this sub-genre of horror if you want to focus on a thrill ride of action and special effects that will have you peeking through your fingers. This style is also great if you want to laugh along to an absurd story, and they offer a look at a sense of humor unique to Japanese horror movies. 

Pick a Streaming Service That Works for You

Pick a Streaming Service That Works for You

Japanese horror movies are available on a variety of streaming platforms, and selecting the best one depends on what type of service you need. For instance, Amazon Prime Video is great because it boasts a large selection of J-horror, but there is a subscription fee for the service and often an additional cost to rent or buy movies. 


Netflix is special because it offers unique content that can't be found elsewhere for one subscription fee. However, they often cycle through content, so the movies might not be available after some time. Shudder is a smart choice because the platform focuses exclusively on the genre, but it offers little content outside of horror and thriller movies. 

Consider When the Film Was Released

Consider When the Film Was Released

Classic Japanese horror reflects the culture and style of filmmaking at the time. For example, earlier Japanese horror movies had stronger roots in Shinto religious tradition, with later films reflecting changing cultural trends like technology and war. It's interesting to see how these horror movies evolved by experimenting with genre and style. 


Modern films should be your choice if you want contemporary stories. These movies also benefit from current technology and filmmaking techniques. Changes in digital filmmaking and streaming have made it easier for Western audiences to view Japanese films, giving you access to a wide array of modern horror films. 

10 Best Japanese Horror Movies

Our list of Japanese horror features a variety of sub-genres and films available on many different streaming services. Keep the information in our buying guide in mind to help you find your next favorite!

Image
Hideo Nakata Ringu 1

Hideo Nakata

Shimizu Takashi Ju-On: The Grudge 1

Shimizu Takashi

Takashi Shimizu Homunculus 1

Takashi Shimizu

Kinji Fukasaku Battle Royale 1

Kinji Fukasaku

Higuchinsky Uzumaki (Spiral)  1

Higuchinsky

Hideo Nakata Dark Water 1

Hideo Nakata

Sion Sono Tag 1

Sion Sono

Shinichirou Ueda One Cut of the Dead 1

Shinichirou Ueda

Kiyoshi Kurosawa Pulse 1

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Takashi Miike Audition 1

Takashi Miike

Name

Ringu

Ju-On: The Grudge

Homunculus

Battle Royale

Uzumaki (Spiral)

Dark Water

Tag

One Cut of the Dead

Pulse

Audition

Features

Best Influential Horror Film That Defines J-Horror

Best Nightmare Fuel With Spectral Scares

Best for Cutting-Edge Special Effects and Tense Plot

Best Genre-Pioneering Film With Tense Action Scenes

Best Film With a Bizarre and Unique Premise

Best for Unraveling Mysteries With an Unnerving Atmosphere

Best for Pulse-Pounding, Gruesome Action

Best Award-Winning Unique Zombie Horror-Comedy

Best Chilling Techno-Horror Film

Best for Social Commentary and Psychological Terror

Release date1998200220212000200020022015201720011999
Subgenre Ghost story, psychological horror, mystery Ghost story, psychological horror, mysteryPsychological horror, thrillerSplatter, action Psychological horror Ghost story, psychological horror, mystery Splatter, actionSplatter, comedy, zombieGhost story, psychological horror Psychological horror
Runtime 1 hr. 36 mins. 1 hr. 32 mins.1 hr. 56 mins.2 hr. 2 mins.1 hr. 30 mins.1 hr. 41 mins. 1 hr. 25 mins. 1 hr. 36 mins. 1 hr. 59 mins.1 hr. 53 mins.
English subtitles YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Available onAmazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, TubiAmazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, VuduNetflixAmazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, Tubi, Pluto TV, Apple TVAmazon Prime VideoAmazon Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi, Apple TV, VuduShudder, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, Apple TVAmazon Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, Apple TVAmazon Prime Video, Vudu, Tubi, Apple TV
Link
Release date1998
Subgenre Ghost story, psychological horror, mystery
Runtime 1 hr. 36 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onAmazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, Tubi
Release date2002
SubgenreGhost story, psychological horror, mystery
Runtime1 hr. 32 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onAmazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube, Vudu

Takashi ShimizuHomunculus

Release date2021
Subgenre Psychological horror, thriller
Runtime1 hr. 56 mins.
English subtitlesYes
Available onNetflix
Release date2000
SubgenreSplatter, action
Runtime2 hr. 2 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onAmazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, Tubi, Pluto TV, Apple TV
Release date2000
SubgenrePsychological horror
Runtime1 hr. 30 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onAmazon Prime Video
Release date2002
Subgenre Ghost story, psychological horror, mystery
Runtime1 hr. 41 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onAmazon Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi
Release date2015
Subgenre Splatter, action
Runtime1 hr. 25 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Tubi, Apple TV, Vudu
Release date2017
Subgenre Splatter, comedy, zombie
Runtime1 hr. 36 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onShudder, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, Apple TV
Release date2001
SubgenreGhost story, psychological horror
Runtime 1 hr. 59 mins.
English subtitlesYes
Available on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, Apple TV
Release date1999
SubgenrePsychological horror
Runtime1 hr. 53 mins.
English subtitles Yes
Available onAmazon Prime Video, Vudu, Tubi, Apple TV

More Great Films for Move Night

Check out more great films you can stream that will satisfy any movie craving, whether you want a story that's spooky or character-driven.

Author: Andrew Simmons 


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