Japanese Suspense Movies

Friday, August 12 by Louis Yang

Japanese directors have always been masters of suspense, but we must pick the absolute best Japanese suspense movies. These films range from greats such as Akira Kurosawa to Miyazaki. These movies will keep you gripping on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next.

  1. ''Battle Royale'' A film with the most interesting premise, it's about a group of middle school kid taken to an island and forced to kill each other until only one remains. Supposedly a euphemism on modern Japanese society, this masterpiece will leave you shocked and very impressed.
  2. "Outrage" A Kitano masterpiece, as well as a well-made modern Yakuza flick, it may lean a bit towards the violent side, but it offers great insight into the underground criminal world which still exists.
  3. "Seven Samurai" This film by Kurosawa is considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time, and rightly deserves it. A tale of seven swordsmen hired to defend a small village, it doesn't disappoint in any regard, and is an absolute must-see.
  4. "Princess Mononoke" There's no rule saying animated films can't be suspenseful, and this movie by Miyazaki solidifies that fact. It's a visual wonder and you will fall in love with the characters in it.
  5. "Spirited Away" Also a film by Miyazaki, it's a much lighter film than "Princess Mononoke." While more of a children's film, it's still suspenseful to the brim.
  6. "Zatoichi: Darkness is His Ally" While it's recommended that viewers unfamiliar to the "Zatoichi" series watch a few of the older ones before seeing this one, it's still a marvel within itself. A blind swordsman, now much older, fights for his values.
  7. "Ju-On" The original Japanese "The Grudge," it's a perfect combination of horror and suspense, relying mostly on suspense to scare the audience and fulfill its impact.
  8. "Violent Cop" While it's Takeshi Kitano's first shot at directing, it's far from his worst. This guy could be called the Japanese Dirty Harry, except you're not sure whether or not to root for him. Controversial and gripping, it has the perfect formula for suspense.
  9. "Rashomon" Another collaboration between Kurosawa and Mifune, it's considered to be one of the best films in Japanese history, suspense or not. It's a classic samurai film that has inspired technique in the east and the west.
  10. "Audition" One of Takeshi Miike's best horror/suspense films, it's too frightening to describe even in words, and its surrealist horror cannot be grasped by the English language. One can only absorb it by watching it.

- Louis Yang