Netflix: “Strong appetite for horror in Southeast Asia”

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According to Netflix, viewing of horror content on the platform increased by 20% in the Asia-Pacific region from 2020 to 2021. Over the same period, the number of hours of viewing of horror content in Southeast Asia increased further, by more than 40%.

“The horror genre has deep roots in Asia. Local horror films have captivated regional audiences since the establishment of many local film industries, and inventive horror creations from Japan and South Korea have scared the viewers around the world. And the appetite for this dread-filled fare is growing, as the next wave of horror content emerges from Southeast Asia,” commented Vivien Tan, Publicity SEA at Netflix.

One of the latest horror releases is
School Tales The Seriesan anthology series crafted by six Thai directors that features eight different ghost stories set in schools. In the first week of its release on Netflix, the series made the Top 10 most watched TV series in four Southeast Asian markets – Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Other popular Southeast Asian horror titles include: the first season of the South Korean zombie series we are all dead (Photo); South Korean zombie revenge story Kingdom: Northern Ashin; and Taiwanese cinema spellwhich tells the story of a mother trying to save her child from a deadly curse.

As Southeast Asian audiences watch horror films from a wide range of markets (German film blood red skyand American content Don’t breathe 2, Chainsaw Massacre and Midnight Mass have achieved good viewing figures in the region), they are certainly avid consumers of stories rooted in their own culture.

In Indonesia, for example, Impetigore, a local horror film helmed by director Joko Anwar, was one of the most popular horror titles. It is the same with The Ancestral in Vietnam, and the two suites of Pee Nak deductible and The way in Thailand. All of these stories are inspired by the local traditions and cultures of their respective countries.

Southeast Asian horror films also resonate beyond the countries of origin of individual films. Beyond Thailand, The way topped the Top 10 Movies chart in Singapore and South Korea when it was released on Netflix in 2021. Another Thai movie, The Together Truthtopped the global Top 10 Non-English Films chart for five consecutive weeks when it was released in December 2021, and at one point became the most popular non-English film in the world.

Actor Sutatta Udomsilp, who plays one of the siblings in All the truth, commented, “It’s a different kind of story. It has a lot more dimensions than just a horror movie that wants to scare you. It has family drama, as well as horror and suspense. We can say that this is not the kind of film that we see very often.

“That, in a nutshell, just might sum up the distinctive appeal of Southeast Asian horror,” Tan added.

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