All throughout the world, moviegoers have a special place in their hearts for horror movies. Hollywood associates the genre with figures like Freddy Krueger and Ghostface. Southeast Asia’s native ghosts and monsters, from hostile spirits to the undead fully clothed in white, serve as the region’s horror emblems. The most horrifying and popular Southeast Asian horror films usually delve into legend, bringing the thrills considerably closer to home for locals and delivering unmatched terror to fans throughout the world.
In light of the much awaited film adaptation of Bob Ong’s bestselling novel “Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” as directed by Chito S. Rono, here are 12 Southeast Asain Horror films you may have missed.
12. Alone (2007) – Thailand
Alone, which chronicles the tale of conjoined twins Ploy and Pim (Marsha Vadhanapanich), who have promised to remain together until the end, was directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, who first rose to stardom with Shutter three years prior. However, Pim was plagued by the furious spirit of her twin after a procedure to separate them resulted in Ploy’s death.
Alone has received praise for being a tense psychological horror film with paranormal elements. It used practical special effects effectively to create credible scares, and its clever third-act twist stunned the audience. With awards for best director and best actress at the 2007 Fantastic Fest, the movie became a festival favorite.
11. Nocebo (2022) – Ireland, Philippines
Adapted from a script by Garret Shanley, the 2022 Filipino-Irish psychological thriller film Nocebo is directed by Lorcan Finnegan. Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billie Gadsdon, Cathy Belton, and Anthony Falcon are the movie’s main actors. The unexplained sickness that a fashion designer has baffles her doctors and infuriates her spouse. A Filipino nanny who employs conventional folk healing to disclose a horrible truth steps in to provide assistance. It makes reference to the second-worst fire disaster in Philippine history—the 2015 Kentex slipper factory fire—which is the basis for the movie’s narrative.
10. The Medium – Thailand (2021)
The Medium follows Nim, a rural shaman who was chosen to be the host of a local deity, in mockumentary-found video format. However, things go awry when Nim’s niece, who was thought to be under the goddess’ control, reveals that the goddess may not be as kind as she first seemed.
In order to make an iconic horror movie that dealt with regional beliefs and customs particular to Thailand, Banjong Pisanthanakun came back. Before jumping into the horrors, it empathically depicted the local beliefs to engross the audience in the story. The fear was amplified by the outstanding mockumentary style utilization and the performers’ strong performances, which furthered the reality of the event being shown on screen.
9. Roh (2019) – Malaysia
In this Malaysian folk horror, directed by Emir Ezwan in his feature film debut, a mother and her two children experience strange occurrences after bringing home a young girl.
Despite having a very small budget, Soul’s use of the Dengkil forest as a backdrop helped it capture the eerie atmosphere. A somber, slow-burning storyline and an air of mystery and danger pervaded the entire movie. While many viewers compared Soul to The Witch and The Wailing, Soul adds a new twist to Southeast Asian flair with its efficient, straightforward manner.
8. Impetigore (2019) – Indonesia
The movie Impetigore follows Maya (Tara Basro) when she learns she inherited a sizable house in a far-off town and becomes a target for the locals who are all seeking to kill her to break a curse that has plagued the village for years.
After releasing Satan’s Slaves, Joko Anwar rose to fame as an Indonesian household name in the horror genre. But he established himself as a master of the genre with Impetigore, his first story. The entire movie was filled with a palpable sense of dread. It gently unveiled its mystery while maintaining a strong sense of production qualities, from the stunning use of low light to the eerie soundtrack.
7. T2 (2009) – Philippines
T2, is a 2009 Filipino supernatural horror film starring Maricel Soriano and produced by Chito S. Roo. Tenement 2 is one of the Brgy buildings and is referred to as “T2”. Several of the scenes were filmed in Taguig City’s Western Bicutan. In the movie, Maricel Soriano plays a volunteer for the Save an Orphan Foundation who takes an orphan home only to learn that the girl is from a family of Engkantos
6. The Queen of Black Magic (2019) – Indonesia
The Queen of Black Magic is a loose remake of the 1981 movie of the same name. The movie follows a group of adult orphans and their families as they visited their orphanages to expose the sinister rituals carried out there.
The film, which was written and directed by Joko Anwar, builds tension gradually before delivering horrifying passages that will undoubtedly make viewers squirm. The movie does a fantastic job of building up just the proper amount of tension before unleashing its jump scares, which range from revolting insects to overt body horror.
5. Eerie (2019) – Philippines
A new counselor named Pat (Bea Alonzo) sets out to solve the school’s mystery following the death of one of the pupils at an all-girls Catholic school. She understands that there has been a sinister presence haunting it from the past, and when the truths come to light, everyone will be in danger.
While priests and nuns have frequently been used in Hollywood horror films to explore the horrors of churches, Mikhail Red’s Eerie stands out in this regard because Catholicism is a significant religion in The Philippines. Local viewers find it to be more ominous in context, and it offers a distinctive perspective on the region’s variety. On Netflix, you may watch the movie for a slow-burning horror with excellent realistic effects.
4. May the Devil Take You (2016) – Indonesia
May the Devil Take You, directed by Timo Tjahjanto, follows Alfie (Chelsea Islan) as she visits her father’s old villa in search of answers regarding his illness but gets up in the hands of an angry satanic priestess.
The movie, which was set in a single area and dealt with family tragedy and curses, is comparable to an Indonesian adaptation of Evil Dead and Hereditary. In light of this, Tjahjanto created a film that features a distinctive fusion of Indonesian and Western themes, replete with a copious amount of blood, making it goryly exciting to watch. If you want to experience East-West fear, watch the sequel to this movie, May the Devil Take You Too.
3. Munafik (2016) – Malaysia
The movie Munafik, whose name in Malay means “hypocrite,” tells the tale of a Muslim doctor who recently lost his wife in an accident and is in mourning. His faith was shaken by the tragedy before he decided to assist Maria, who was subject to demonic possession and disturbances.
The movie, which was directed by Syamsul Yusof, who also played the lead character, received praise for being a successful horror movie that made the most of its location and practical effects. With its local setting and emphasis on the power of faith to drive out evil, Munafik has all the makings of a classic Southeast Asian religious horror film.
2. Laddaland (2011) – Thailand
Sophon Sakdaphisit, one of the co-writers of Shutter and Alone, directed his second horror movie, Laddaland. The movie centers on a family who recently relocated to a brand-new Chiang Mai neighborhood. The family moved to lessen their financial difficulties, but as soon as they did, they started experiencing strange paranormal occurrences.
The movie was made further scary by the rumor that it was based on a supposedly haunted compound in Thailand. The film’s setting lends it an edge even though its horror components (haunted house, unsettling neighbors) may be recognizable to fans of the genre. It reveals that even in cities, one is never immune from supernatural threats, giving a picture of everyday life in satellite cities in Southeast Asia, not just in Thailand.
1. Deleter (2022) – Philippines
Mikhail Red’s techno-horror movie Deleter, starring Nadine Lustre, Louise delos Reyes, McCoy de Leon, and Jeffrey Hidalgo.
The movie centers on Lyra (Nadine Lustre), a shift worker at a mysterious online content moderation agency whose deleters are entrusted with preventing graphic uploads from making it to social media sites. They are unaware that Lyra is hiding a significant trauma. Lyra has been compelled to cultivate an indifferent demeanor toward the tragedies of the world in an effort to forget and forget her background.
With that, check out “Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” streaming on Amazon Prime on May 18, 2023