Asians do horror differently as it has the class all on its own. In fact, they do it differently so well that some of the best horror movies in Asia are often being remade into Hollywood blockbusters. Although Thai horror has always had a significant cult following, Thai films are now being internationally recognized for their culture-driven, unique take on tales from beyond the grave.
Many people actually love them. There are several Thai horror films that are so worth watching for fans of “guts test”. These are 5 scariest Thai horror movies that you will enjoy watching.
1) Nang Nak (1999)
Veteran soldier Mak comes home from war to his wife Nak and newborn son, but as soon as he returns, his neighbors try to warn him of something ominous going on under his roof. The film is based on Mae Nak Phra Khanong, a local folk tale set in the era of King Rama V about a woman who died due to a difficult birth while her lover went to war. The legend of Nak has been adapted into films and TV shows multiple times. Nang Nak, however, is arguably the best adaptation. It superbly balances the couples’ romantic yet tragic story with scare-inducing elements, all the while showcasing excellent set design and cinematography that bring back to life the golden era of Siam.
2) Laddaland (2011)
A family on the verge of falling apart moves to a bougie neighborhood outside Bangkok in hopes of bettering their lives and reconnecting with one another. A horrifying murder case, however, just adds fuel to the fire and threatens their already fragile relationships. Despite the onslaught of jolting terror scenes and haunting apparitions, Laddaland, at its core, is a drama film that explores the aftermath of the crippling economic crisis in Thailand during the 1990s. It also subtly exposes usually taboo issues about class, gender roles, and immigrants, marking the film as a social commentary that merely exploits ghosts as an entertainment tool. Laddaland was well-received by critics and the public alike. Jumpscare tactics aside, this film is an emotional rollercoaster ride, so make sure to have a box of tissue within reach.
3) The Unseeable (2007)
While searching for her lost husband, a pregnant woman from the countryside seeks shelter in a big, mysterious mansion where she later encounters unborn spirits and discovers shocking truths. Produced by the team behind Art of the Devil 2, The Unseeable doesn’t depend on gory, in-your-face scares like its precedents. Instead, the entire film thrives on elements on the opposite end of the horror spectrum, such as tense slow-burn scenes, the incredible performance of the cast, amazing production design that portrays the Siam of old, and an excellent plot that alludes to the importance of letting go. The Unseeable was not a blockbuster like the other films on the list, but it was recognized by a number of international festivals and awards, marking it as one hell of a horror film that deserves your attention.
4) The Sisters (2004)
A group of musicians finds a decapitated head in the air vent of the ramshackle hotel room they’re staying in. That same night, they are haunted by the spirit of a dead prostitute. They need to solve the mystery of her murder before each and everyone of them gets killed. The Sisters is probably the most stereotypical horror film on the list, but what makes it special and worth watching is how the entire plot is based on a real and unsolved murder case in the south of Thailand back in 1991. According to sources, each member of the unfortunate group that found the body died mysteriously one by one, rendering the case infamous. Many an urban legend has been spun from these baffling deaths. The film’s production is quite low-budget and dated, but it’s a flaw that actually works for the film, creating a realistic and gripping atmosphere that can somehow make you wet your pants.
5) Ghost Game (2006)
Only one of 11 contestants can win the big prize, but first, they all need to survive one night in an abandoned concentration camp. When it was released, the film faced backlash from Cambodia due to the resemblance of its setting to Tuol Sleng, the actual site of the Cambodian genocide back in the 1970s. Politics aside, the eerie setting for Ghost Game makes the film discomforting to sit through and only serves to heighten the trauma as we witness each character get tortured by hostile spirits. Another Ghost Game feat is how it took advantage of the reality TV craze in the early 2000s to build more hype for the film—the characters in the film are played by the cast of the first season of the singing contest Academy Fantasia.