Film & TV

The Asian Silver Screen: Horror

Image credit: Unsplash
Train to Busan

By Gabii Rayner

Dubbed “horror as it should be” , Train to Busan took the film industry by storm in 2016. The creation of director Yeon Sang-ho and writer Park Joo-suk, this is a classic zombie-movie through and through, and yet manages to climb the ranks of critique and cinematic prowess. The story follows a father and daughter as they travel (surprise, surprise) from Seoul to Busan, blissfully unaware of an unwanted passenger in the form of a zombie-creating infection, creeping its way towards them as you inch closer and closer to the screen in horror. You laugh, you cry, and you jump out of your skin as you follow an eclectic, fully fleshed out cast of characters as they face danger, class conflict, an ineffective governmental response to a deadly outbreak, and heart-wrenching moments throughout.

The movie illustrates the incredible abilities of Korean cinema to synthesise genres and provide refreshing takes on classics. 

Train to Busan, as the highest grossing film of 2016 in South Korea and grossing millions worldwide , has arguably played a significant role in placing Korean cinema on the map. After the recent unprecedented global and Oscar-winning success of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) and Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari (2020), with both films able to be considered as social commentary-esque explorations of capitalistic class warfare or simply as bone-chilling thrillers, it is clear that the future of cinema is shifting, and Asian film has a huge role to play in the direction this takes. 

Munafik 2

by Alex Daud Briggs

I know most people look for horror movies to be scary, but I feel that we should take some appreciation for the more fun and campy side of horror and no movie  understands this better (even if unintentionally) than the Malaysian horror: Munafik 2.

Munafik 2 is the story of Islamic exorcist Adam as he attempts to fight off the demons sent by the evil preacher Abu Jar. And no, you don’t need to watch Munafik 1 to see this.

To put it simply, Munafik 2 is one of the most over the top horror movies I’ve ever seen. Demon ran at the camera. Mugging and screaming curses at the top of their lungs all while our heroes’ chant Quran verses with equally loud vocals. Almost everyone is devouring the scenery. It’s like The Exorcist on steroids and it’s an absolute riot. 

However, underneath all this is a surprisingly thoughtful message, especially for a country as religious as Malaysia. The main villain (who is so evil he literally drinks blood out of a skull) claims himself to be a great prophet and boasts about his superior knowledge of the Quran to justify his use of dark magic. 

The film makes a good point that people like him are just using faith in order to manipulate others and are in reality going against the scripture’s teachings. Just because someone claims they understand the religion better doesn’t mean they actually do. 

Munafik 2 is available on Netflix if you want a fun popcorn horror with a few good points in between, it’s worth checking out. I guarantee you’ve seen nothing quite like it. 

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