NETFLIX AND CHILLS: a trio of Asian horror flicks

Creepy women and evil curses. What more could you ask for from your Asian horror?

UMMA (2022)

I only have myself to blame for watching this knowing it was going to be exactly what I expected it to be, but at least it was only 82 minutes long and it starred Sandra Oh and Dermot Mulroney.

Umma feels like one of the many supernatural tween scare movies that came in the wake of The Grudge and The Ring back in the early 2000s. In particular it reminds me in some ways of Mama.

In other words, it’s a movie loaded with scenes that are way too dark as Sandra constantly walks around her farmhouse at night experiencing quick edit shocks that we can’t even really see and that just stop short as if they were only illusions.


Sandra learns her mother died. She acquires something of her mothers. She begins to experience supernatural occurrences. The backstory of what transpired between her and her mother unfolds.

She eventually tries to rid herself of her mother once and for all for closure, but of course the dead mother has other plans that involve Sandra’s teen daughter, too.

It’s just sooooooo generic.


Another film about a mother trying to save her daughter from a curse, this one is a hybrid of Asian horror and found footage that features familiar, satisfying elements of both subgenres. Problem is the decision to present a nonlinear story, as is almost always the case, adds nothing to the film beyond making it a confusing mess.

I’ll just give a brief chronological overview. A young woman did a ghostbusting show with her boyfriend and classmates in which they filmed themselves proving various myths and superstitions false. They went to a village and broke the rules of a ritual that is important to the locals and things went horribly wrong (the found footage segments were the best part for me in terms of delivering scares).

She then goes for some mental rehab for a while, during which she places her daughter in foster care. When she comes out and gets her daughter back, strange occurrences around her home and her daughter speaking about seeing “baddies” lead her to believe that her daughter is now cursed. So she asks her viewers online to participate in prayers with her that will help her break the curse.

It’s a fairly basic plot for a movie that runs almost 2 hours long, but it definitely has some creepy moments. And while the curse plot is reminiscent of the old Sadako/Samara curse from the Ringu/Ring movies, there are elements of the details of this curse that give the rehashed concept a bit of a fresh angle. And speaking of fresh angles, props to this film for giving us this angle after a car crash scene…


It’s back to that throwback Ring/Grudge vibe, but this one totally goes for it without any meaningful mom shit to get in the way. It’s a pure girl ghost coming back for revenge flick. Wahoo!

The Bridge Curse is the one to watch if you truly miss early 2000s Asian horror. It’s about a girl at a college who was wronged by a boy and then jumped off a campus bridge into a lake. Now there’s an urban legend about crossing the bridge—if you dare to look back while doing so, the ghost will get you.

Naturally, kids feel the need to test the legend by doing “bravery initiations”.

Much like The Grudge movies, this one jumps between stories of kids who have died after doing the initiation in the past as a young woman in the present day investigates the deaths of more students.

It’s everything you could want in this kind of Asian horror flick, with a creepy-crawly ghost girl pursuing them around campus and delivering some eerie atmosphere. As derivative as it is, there are some fun surprise twists concerning the curse during the denouement. I’m also convinced one scene is inspired by that true story about the young Asian woman who was found dead in a hotel water tower after acting very strange on elevator security camera footage.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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