Top 10 Indian Horror Movies Ever Till 2023

Unveiling the Top 10 Indian Horror Movies of All Time, Up to 2023

Top 10 Indian Horror Movies Ever Till 2023

Currently, globalization is a prevailing trend in the film industry, with an increasing popularity of international-language films among western audiences. The allure of global cinema lies partly in its colloquialisms, which add a distinct charm to the viewing experience by showcasing cultural intricacies on screen, vividly evoking the same emotions.

This effect is particularly evident in the horror genre. Western fans of horror have long been exposed to the offerings of international cinema, with countries like Japan, Korea, and Thailand enjoying a special reputation for their unique filmmaking sensibilities and the eerie folklore that inspires their horror movies. These countries have built a dedicated fanbase in the west. Although the horror genre did not reach such heights in Indian cinema, Indian filmmakers are not unfamiliar with drawing inspiration from their own myths and folklores.

In recent years, Indian filmmakers have notably contributed to the folk horror sub-genre, producing several noteworthy films. Here, we present a list of 10 Indian folklore horror movies that you should definitely watch.

1. Kumari (2022)


Kumari, the latest horror film from Malayalam cinema, emerges amidst the growing success of regional South Indian film industries. Directed by Nirmal Sahadev and featuring Aishwarya Lekshmi, known for her role in Ponniyan Selvan, in the lead, this movie presents an intriguing blend of fantasy and folk elements. The story revolves around a cursed clan, compelled to worship a supernatural entity under the looming threat of calamity and death. The origin of these creatures, introduced at the outset, bears striking resemblance to numerous mythological tales embedded in Indian culture.

2. Kantara (2022)


Kantara, produced by Hombale Films, made a significant impact last year and became one of India's highest-grossing movies. While not explicitly marketed as a horror film, it captivated audiences with its enchanting depiction of "bhoota kola," a real-life tradition where sacred dancers embody protector deities. Blending elements of magical realism, this movie seamlessly weaves supernatural aspects into its rural narrative. Kantara delves into layered storytelling, incorporating mythological motifs that evoke profound emotions ranging from awe to fear.

3. Lapachhapi (2017)


In Indian horror films, the revelation of familial secrets often serves as a powerful plot device, exposing horrifying crimes and hidden customs perpetuated by mysterious families. Lapachhapi, a Marathi film, exemplifies this trope. The story follows a pregnant couple who seek refuge in a sugarcane field, aiming to elude their debtors. The husband intends to leave his wife with a rural family while he resolves their financial troubles. However, it soon becomes apparent that this seemingly benevolent family harbors a dark secret that endangers the wife and her unborn child.

4. Tumbbad (2018)


Tumbbad, hailed as the gold standard of Indian horror and featured among IMDb's top 10 horror movies, stands as a unique and exceptional creation within Indian cinema. This film intricately weaves a tale of greed through a fictional creation myth that is simultaneously repulsive and captivating. With undertones of cosmic horror, Tumbbad centers around a family exploiting forbidden knowledge about the origins of wealth and power.

5. Jallikattu (2019)


Jallikattu, India's official entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, defies conventional Indian cinema norms. This psychological horror film takes a slow-burn approach, portraying the gradual descent of a village community into utter chaos as they search for a missing buffalo. Masterfully exploring the theme of communal madness, Jallikattu immerses viewers in the rural cultural milieu, building its story through countless everyday conversations.

6. Bulbbul (2020)


Bulbbul, an Indian horror film, delves into the realm of the chudail, a renowned creature from Indian folklore. Also known as the daayan, this entity emerges from violent deaths, often stemming from acts of sexual violence or perpetrated by in-laws. While the chudail is a recurring subject in Indian horror movies, Bulbbul stands out due to its dreamlike cinematography, reminiscent of a musical. Tripti Dimri's exceptional performance garnered praise as she skillfully portrayed her character's duality of innocence and vengefulness, creating an atmosphere of mystique that resonated with the film's unique audiovisual design.

7. Kothanodi (2016)


Kothanodi, an Assamese-language film, is an adaptation of four tales from the renowned folk story collection called Burhi Aair Sadhu. These four stories unfold in a disturbing manner, depicting bizarre occurrences within local communities and the consequential effects on those involved. With elements of familial secrets and unsettling communal rituals, Kothanodi presents a deranged world where events like child sacrifice and marriages with serpents are commonplace.

8. Paheli (2005)


Paheli belongs to an era of Bollywood cinema characterized by grand aesthetics and heightened melodrama. Based on a Rajasthani short story and set in the same region, this movie narrates a tale of love between a housewife and a ghost. Paheli features the beloved stars Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji, and received critical acclaim for its visually mesmerizing production design, characteristic of the era.

9. Pari (2018)


Pari is a commendable attempt to blend eastern folklore with horror tropes typically found in Hollywood films. Anushka Sharma portrays a woman of mysterious origin destined for a dark purpose, pursued by cults and Islamic demons. Pari brought a different kind of story to Indian cinema, receiving praise for its intricate plot and special effects despite some execution flaws.

10. Stree (2018)


Starring Rajkumar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor, Stree achieved mainstream success as a horror comedy. The film draws inspiration from a folk custom in Karnataka where people inscribe "come tomorrow" on their front doors to ward off evil spirits. Set in a town gripped by fear of a chudail rumored to haunt the area, Stree combines humor and horror in an engaging manner, exploring the protagonist's romantic pursuit amid prevailing fears.




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