5 Folk Horrors Not Based On European Legends

5 Folk Horrors Not Based On European Legends
Image credit: Neon

These five draw inspiration from different cultures around the world to bring a new flavor to familiar horror movie concepts.

Different religions and mythologies have long been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for horror movies, as every culture in the world has its own malevolent forces, with some even categorizing such films into their own subgenre of folk horror.

Unfortunately, most of the time the movies use European or American folklore, which can feel rather repetitive after watching a movie after another about some biblical demon or evil witch.

So let's take a look at five horror movies that cleverly use myths and legends from other cultures to deliver some truly memorable scares.

His House (2020)

The film follows Bol and Rial, two refugees from South Sudan who flee their war-torn homeland and, after a long and harrowing journey, find their way to the United Kingdom, where they are finally granted asylum.

But it soon becomes clear that the difficulties of assimilation and the prejudices of the locals may not be the worst of their problems, as an evil entity known as Apeth, from Dinka mythology, has made the couple its target, turning their new life into a nightmare.

The Wailing (2016)

This South Korean horror film revolves around the inhabitants of a small village whose lives are turned upside down when an unknown disease begins to slowly spread, turning its victims into bloodthirsty killers.

Eventually, however, it becomes clear that the disease may be supernatural in origin, and that a mysterious Japanese man who had previously arrived in the village may not only be responsible, but may not be entirely human himself.

It Lives Inside (2023)

The story of Samidha, an Indian-American high school student who prefers Western culture to her family's traditions (much to her mother's disappointment), deals with the problems of assimilation while keeping in touch with one's native culture.

One day, her former close friend, Tamira, approaches her seeking help with an evil force trapped in a jar, which is later revealed to be Pishacha, a flesh-hungry demon from Indian religions.

Unfortunately, Samidha ignorantly doesn't believe Tamira's words and accidentally releases the entity, leading to a cascade of catastrophic events that quickly make the girl realize her mistake and set her on a quest to capture the demon once again.

Spell (2020)

Marquis T. Woods is a successful lawyer who, through hard work, has managed to build a pretty nice life for his family, but all of this has made him quite snobbish towards more common folk.

While flying his own private plane to attend his father's funeral, Marquis, his wife and children get into a storm that causes them to crash in rural Appalachia.

When Marquis awakens, he finds himself in the home of Mrs. Eloise, who claims she can heal his wounds with hoodoo magic, but the longer he stays with the woman, the more he begins to suspect that something sinister is going on.

The Offering (2023)

This 2023 movie takes a fairly well-worn possession story and spices it up with Jewish beliefs instead of the usual Christian ones.

Arthur and his pregnant wife pay a visit to his father, Saul, who runs a Jewish funeral home, to patch things up with him, as the two have become estranged.

Unfortunately, one of the bodies brought to Saul's establishment hides a dark secret, and thanks to Arthur's carelessness, an evil force is released, making the entire family its target.