Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   PTdev   PTdev  

The folk horror movies love remote places, antiquated customs, and human cruelty. It can involve more than just British and American films. There are ancient religions and legends about what lurks in the shadows throughout the world. 

The Indonesian film ‘Impetigore’ features a young woman who returns to her childhood countryside only to learn that it is cursed. Using the conquering origins of the water spirit, Guatemala created ‘La Llorona’ to discuss the country’s genuine indigenous genocide. In ‘Demon’, a creature from Jewish legend targets the countryside of Poland.

The inclusion of culturally relevant aspects in the films adds to their originality. Australia’s rock formations evoke our fears and concerns about nature and the unknown. In a small Italian community, there are still strong beliefs in witchcraft, combined with a tendency to use force to catch the offender. In folk horror, the harmony between strangers and isolated communities rapidly disintegrates, and the passing of time is dangerous.

Let’s have a look at the best folk horror movies:

1. Noroi: The Curse (2005)

It is one of the top folk horror movies. The movie is commonly known as “found footage”. The film starts with unrelated shots about strange incidents; however, they are very critical to the plot. Some of these mysterious things include the sounds of crying babies in a house, weird death incidents, and a girl showing up on TV, with supernatural powers.

These creepy incidents what make Masafumi Kobayashi, Jin Muraki, set his mind on his next documentary. He is an independent journalist and documentarian who wrote several books about supernatural occurrences in Japan. Kobayashi decides to investigate these disturbances in a neighbourhood in Japan. With the help of his cameraman, Miyajima, everything they are going through is filmed.

The residents of this neighbourhood believed that it was once a village where people used to perform rituals to satisfy a demon called Kagutaba. They also believe that this demon-possessed the village and caused all these creepy incidents. The direction that the film goes on is unexpected and makes the entire viewing experience just a creepy good time.

  • Director: Kôji Shiraishi
  • Stars: Jin Muraki, Rio Kanno, Tomono Kuga
  • IMBD Rate: 6.9
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 75%
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: Japanese
  • Writer: Kôji Shiraishi, Naoyuki Yokota
  • Release Date (Streaming): 25 June 2017
  • Runtime: 1h 55m

2. Onibaba (1964)

Onibaba is a famous folk horror movie written and directed by Kaneto Shindo. The events take place in the 14th century in Japan during the civil war. This movie is a kind of straightforward story in terms of structure and symbolism. The main characters are an old woman and her daughter-in-law. The old woman’s son is in the war. Both women live in a small hut in a remote area like a swamp..

Both women have to earn their living in any possible way. The only way to get food is to kill any samurais or worriers who come to their place and steal their belongings. Then, they can trade the stolen staff for food. Especially when one of the neighbours returns from the war and informs the old woman that her son died in the war.

The rising actions start when the young woman begins a sexual relationship with her neighbour. Feeling jealous, the old woman tries to make her daughter-in-law feels guilty to stop the love affair. However, the young lady insists on dating the neighbour. So, the old woman starts to frighten her by wearing a scary mask of a dead samurai.

In the movie’s final scene, the old woman has to tell her daughter-in-law the truth as the mask is stuck to her face. She asks her daughter-in-law’s help to take off the mask. She finally manages to take it off. However, the old woman’s face becomes deformed, and the young lady runs out once her face. Eventually, the old woman falls into the same hole where she kills the soldiers.

  • Director: Kaneto Shindô
  • Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô
  • IMBD Rate: 7.9
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 90%
  • Genre: Horror, Fantasy
  • Original Language: Japanese
  • Writer: Kaneto Shindô
  • Release Date: 16 March 2004
  • Runtime: 1h 45m

3. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of the best folk horror movies worldwide. The story of the movie is based on Joan Lindsay’s novel ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’. The events take place in an upper-class school for teen girls in the state of Victoria in 1900. The movie was released in 1975. It starts with a group of school girls going on a picnic to the Hanging Rock on a St. Valentine’s Day outing.

Four girls get permission to go around and explore the place. They start to climb the rock. However, only one of the girls manages to return to the group. The disappearance of the girls into the side of the rock is a turning point in the movie. We can relate the unexplained disappearance to our everyday life; not every bad incident has an explanation.

  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Stars: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
  • IMBD Rate: 7.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 83%
  • Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Drama
  • Original Language: English (Australia)
  • Writer: Joan Lindsay(novel), Cliff Green(screenplay)
  • Release Date: 1 April 2014
  • Runtime: 1h 50m

4. La Llorona (2019)

LIonora is depicted from the legend of LIonora in Latin America. It is about a single mother with two sons after her husband left her. She has to move on in her life with her children. Upon hearing that her husband returns, she draws her sons. Feeling guilty, she committed suicide. Since then, she has wandered around weeping and searching for her sons. Since then, her spirit wanders around crying and searching for her sons as she regrets what she did.

In the movie LIorona, Alma and her children are killed in Guatemala during a military attack. Thirty years later, the case is brought against Enrique Monteverde, a retired general accused of genocide. However, he was cleared. So, the spirit of LIonora comes back to take revenge. She disturbs everyone in the house.

Protesters gathered around the house after Monteverde was proven not guilty. All the servants left the house. Alma comes to the house to work as a maid. Creepy things start to happen. An unknown spirit haunts the house. Do you think that the spirit of Lionrona possesses Alma?

  • Director: Jayro Bustamante
  • Stars: María Mercedes Coroy, Sabrina De La Hoz, Margarita Kenéfic
  • IMBD Rate: 7.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 62%
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: Spanish
  • Writer: Jayro Bustamante, Lisandro Sanchez
  • Release Date: Aug, 6, 2020
  • Runtime: 1h 37m

5. Witchhammer (1970)

Witchhammer is based on events that occurred during the 17th century in today’s Czech Republic. It focuses mainly on the abuse of power, drawing many comparisons to the communist government that ruled Czechoslovakia in the 1950s.

A poor woman is caught stealing wafers for her cow as it stops giving milk. Since it is a kind of superstition, they requested Boblig to investigate the case. She is accused of witchery and being tortured. It is the case for many other women. They are ready to confess any deeds because of the torture. Some women are burnt at the stake.

One of the tortured women reveals the truth behind their confession before being burnt. So, the priest investigates the case to know the truth behind accusing them of superstition. Finally, all the authority abusers are arrested. This movie is worth watching.

  • Director: Otakar Vávra
  • Stars: Vladimír Smeral, Elo Romancik, Josef Kemr
  • IMBD Rate: 7.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 81%
  • Genre: Drama 
  • Original Language: Czech
  • Writer: Otakar Vávra, Ester Krumbachová
  • Release Date: 8 March 2009
  • Runtime: 1h 43m

6. Demon (2015)

Demon is one of the best Polish heavy folk horror movies of all time. This Polish film, directed by the late Marcin Wrona, was released. Peter (Itay Tiran) is given a piece of land for his forthcoming wedding. He discovers human remains buried beneath the ground as he prepares the land to construct a home for his new family.

For the wedding to proceed as planned, he chooses to keep the finding to himself. But the more he struggles to conceal it, the more he appears to be in the grip of something or someone. The dbbyuk, a wandering spirit looking for a body to possess, is a figure from Jewish mythology. From that point on, extremely unusual things start to occur.

  • Director: Marcin Wrona
  • Stars: Vladimír Smeral, Elo Romancik, Josef Kemr
  • IMBD Rate: 7.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 92%
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: Polish
  • Writer: Marcin Wrona, Pawel Maslona
  • Release Date: 29 August 2017
  • Runtime: 1h 34m

7. The Old Ways (2020)

Is Cristina really possessed? The movie focuses on Cristina Lopez, a Mexican American reporter. The beginning of the movie is an exorcism of a mother while her daughter watches on. This woman is revealed to be Cristina’s mother. The mother died, and Cristina moved to foster care and started her childhood journey.

Cristina heads back to her hometown of Veracruz for a story on the local culture. However, before she completes what she came for, she is kidnapped by two locals, Javi and Luz, who believe that she is possessed by a demon. Luz claims that she sees the demon in Cristina’s eyes.

Cristina passes by different stages of exorcism to get rid of the demon. She starts to witness strange incidents that can make her believe that she is really possessed. However, it may be because of the effect of the drug withdrawal, as she was addicted to drugs before.

Cristina goes through a dangerous exorcism by Luz to get rid of the demon, and it goes well, but Luz has to sacrifice himself. However, Cristina realizes that they do not get rid of the demon as her cousin Miranda is possessed by the demon. The same exorcism is done again, but this time by Cristina, and she succeeds. Finally, she meets her friend who was searching for her and she can see the demon in his eyes.

  • Director: Christopher Alender
  • Stars: Brigitte Kali Canales, Andrea Cortés, Julia Vera
  • IMBD Rate: 5.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 95%
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: English
  • Writer: Marcos Gabriel
  • Release Date: 2020
  • Runtime: 1h 30m

8. Impetigore (2019)

Director Joko Anwar knows how to startle the audience right away, as the film starts with the tensest opening. The flow of the movie is excellent; it starts with Maya finding out that she has an inheritance and she has to return to her village to claim it, to the point when Maya and her best friend Dini are in the village.

Maya and Dini go to the village cemetery. Maya finds her parents’ graves and prays for them. However, they notice many other graves of children. Later, Dini is alone in the house when two villagers come to take the girl to Saptadi. They inform Dini that Saptadi has the documents of the house and wants to give them back to the girl who inherited it.

Dini claims she is Rahaya, the girl who inherited the house, and follows the two villagers. However, Dini feels worried and tries to escape, but they manage to catch her. They tie her upside down, and Saptadi”s mother slaughters her.

Mays asks Saptadi about her friend, but he ignores seeing Dini and says they do not find any trace of her. Later, Dini sees a woman giving birth to a skinless baby. Dini is shocked as she sees Saptadi drawing the baby. Ratih explains to Maya that the village is cursed and there have not been any children in 20 years.

Ratih tells Maya the story of this abandoned house. She says that Ki Donowongso, a puppet master ad his wife lived there. They have not had any kids for 5 years. Unfortunately, the wife gives delivery to a skinless baby. Since then, he stopped dealing with the villagers. At the same time, three girls disappeared from the village.

Three years later, he goes out of the house with his girl, who looks healthy, Rahayu. So, the villagers believe that he is responsible for the missing girls. Saptadi’s mother is a servant in the house and says he practices black magic to protect his daughter. Then, he killed his wife and committed suicide. It is said that a loyal servant escapes with the little girl.

Ratih continues that the village has been cursed since that day, as every baby has been born without skin. She continues that Saptadi says that to stop this curse, Rahayu has to be skinned. Then, Saptadi discovers that he has skinned the wrong girl. He asks the villagers to search for her.

While escaping the village, Maya meets three little girls on the way, and one of them shows her a vision. Mays comes to know that Saptadi and her mother fell in love with each other. However, her mom got married to her dad as he was rich. When they spent three years without having babies, she started to date Saptadi again, and she got pregnant.

When Saptadi’s mother discovered the relationship, she made a spell, so Saptadi forgot everything. Ki Donowongso was under the impression that she was his daughter. The spirit of the three girls her killed to cure Rahayu haunted her, so he wrote a spell on a piece of paper and put it in her thigh to protect her. Later, Saptadi killed him and his wife.

The three girls then ask Maya to burr their skins with their bones to stop the curse. Then, Maya goes with Ratih to Saptadi’s house, and she takes a box with the skin of the missing girls. They return to the basement of the house and put the bones with the skin in the box. Once they buried the box in the ground, the spirits of the three girls disappeared.

Nyi Misni confronts Maya in the house and says that Saptadi is Donowongso’s half-brother. The villagers then catch Maya and tie her. However, Maya reveals the whole story to Saptadi and that the curse is over. Still, Nyi wants to slaughter her. Saptadi holds his mother’s hand before killing Maya, so he is slaughtered. Nyi then slaughters herself.

  • Director: Joko Anwar
  • Stars:Tara Basro, Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita
  • IMBD Rate: 6.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 92%
  • Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: Indonesian
  • Writer: Joko Anwar
  • Release Date: 23 July 2020
  • Runtime: 1h 46m

9. Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

Don’t Torture a Duckling is directed by Lucio Fulci. The events take place in an isolated Italian village, where An Italian giallo by Lucio Fulci visits a village where persistent myths about witchcraft are practhe locals strongly believe in superstitions and do not trust outsiders. Kids are being killed in the movie and the villagers want to take revenge.

Although most of the kills are off-screen deaths with a view of the body later, they are effective. The film is also a mystery, as there are a to of twists and turns. The audience is involved in the story as you start to solve the mystery with the detective and the reporter. It’s one of the best horror movies.

  • Director: Lucio Fulci
  • Stars: Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian
  • IMBD Rate: 7
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 83%
  • Genre: Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: Italian
  • Writer: Gianfranco Clerici, Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti
  • Release Date: 6 March 2007
  • Runtime: 1h 42m

10. Midsommar (2019)

Lucio Fulci is the director of the movie. It is a movie about a relationship going to hell. The movie starts with Christian is about to break up with his girlfriend Danny. Danny suffers since her family’s death as she can not bare it. Pelle invites his friends including Christian and Danny to his local village in Sweden to attend a Midsummer festival there.

In this movie, Ari Aster activates the background; he uses it to keep the audience subconsciously but constantly unsettled. The audience and the main characters are presented with a completely foreign world. The villagers also speak a language known only to them. Horrible things start to happen!

  • Director: Ari Aster
  • Stars: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren
  • IMBD Rate: 7.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rate: 83%
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery & Thriller
  • Original Language: English
  • Writer: Ari Aster
  • Release Date: 24 September 2019
  • Runtime: 2h 25m

Despite the fact that there has been a long history of folk horror films, they are inspired by pastoral scenes of the countryside. It’s recommended to watch one of the movies in this article and experience creepy time.

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