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Ghosts, Chills and 'Dark Water' from Japan

Koji Suzuki, Japanese author behind 2002's super-creepy The Ring, has two more American film adaptations of his work in theaters this year: The Ring Two opened in March, and Dark Water opens this weekend.

As Neda Ulaby reports, horror films are becoming one of Asia's common exports: at least a half-dozen more remakes are on the way, and the originals have American fans who seek out "J-horror" on video. The novels of Suzuki, who is considered the Japanese Stephen King, have been one source of material. The 2003 Japanese film Ju-On is another; the American version was released last year as The Grudge.

Dark Water, starring Jennifer Connelly as a single mom who moves into a suspiciously cheap apartment with her daughter, bears many of the elements that have become hallmarks of the subgenre. Forget zombies, vampires or serial killers: in J-horror, the terror-inducing mechanisms tend to be restless souls, dead wet girls, supernatural forces and plenty of hair.

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Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.