#4. Ringu | 1998 | Japan
A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed videotape that is rumoured to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.
One of the best horror films to come from Japan is Ringu. This masterpiece has spawned so many sequels and reboots that it’s almost hard to keep track of. For what it’s worth, the original film is the peak of the series. It’s hard for me to really compare this film to most others on this list because it has had such a significant presence in horror since its inception. Director Hideo Nakata knew what he was doing when he crafted Ringu though I’m not sure he quite envisioned how this film would impact horror cinema for decades after its release.
Ringu was such a sensation on release that it led to a cycle of Japanese horror films. This Japanese invasion became known as J-Horror and they had quite an impact. The Ring is a perfect example of why these movies were so effective. The cultural difference between the West and Japan meant that these films seemed somewhat unpredictable; some of the horror concepts and imagery were genuinely unsettling. We in the West could never have conceived of these ideas, they grew organically from Japanese culture. The unknown is often the scariest thing of all and the success of J-Horror is a perfect illustration of this.