There’s no shortage of American horror, but venturing into the genre’s international waters is always recommended. We’ve found recent favorites from Scandinavia, Asia, Ireland, Brazil, and Australia by way of Serbia... but it’s films from Indonesia that have been giving us the most wonderfully potent nightmares.
Fortunately for stateside gorehounds, it’s now easier than ever before to see recent Indonesian horror, with filmmakers like Joko Anwar, Kimo Stamboel, and Timo Tjahjanto rising to international prominence thanks to strong festival showings and exposure on platforms like Shudder and Netflix. While it’s impossible to offer a blanket description of every Indonesian horror movie, they do share some commonalities—a lot of them begin with a death, involve a visit to an ancestral village or home (or an orphanage), and take story cues from the country’s rich, vivid folklore.
Oh, and many of them whip up some of the most ghastly special effects seen on-screen since the 1980s slasher explosion. Intrigued? You should be! Here are 12 films to get you started... and if you have any more recommendations, please share them (and any details on how to watch them) in the comments!