Five Chilling Muslim Horror Films

In recent years, filmmakers from various Muslim-majority countries and the broader Muslim diaspora have brought their unique cultural perspectives to the horror genre, producing a diverse range of films that draw inspiration from both Islamic traditions and contemporary fears.

Five Chilling Muslim Horror Films
The subgenre of Muslim horror has been growing in the last few years. Fann celebrates five examples of the genre.

From eerie tales of jinn encounters to spine-chilling stories rooted in Islamic folklore, Muslim horror cinema has carved its niche in the world of the supernatural and the macabre. In recent years, filmmakers from various Muslim-majority countries and the broader Muslim diaspora have brought their unique cultural perspectives to the horror genre, producing a diverse range of films that draw inspiration from both Islamic traditions and contemporary fears. As we delve into the realm of Muslim horror movies, we discover a rich tapestry of narratives that explore not only the supernatural but also complex themes of faith, identity and the universal human fear of the unknown. Join Fann on a journey through the shadows as we explore five horror films by Muslim filmmakers or inspired by Muslim concepts that are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.

  1. "Munafik" (2016)

“Munafik” is a Malaysian film that follows the story of a devout Muslim healer named Ustaz Adam (Syamsul Yusof, who also wrote and directed the film). Ustaz specializes in performing exorcisms to rid people of evil spirits and supernatural afflictions, and is highly respected in his community for his spiritual knowledge and abilities. However, when a series of unsettling events begin to unfold, Ustaz finds that his faith and beliefs are put to the test. He becomes entangled in a web of supernatural occurrences and malevolent forces, leading him to confront his own inner demons.

"Munafik" was well-received for its suspenseful storytelling and contributed to the popularity of horror films in Malaysia. A sequel, "Munafik 2," was released in 2018.

  1. “Dabbe” (2006)

Hasan Karacadag’s Turkish horror film focuses on a brutal wave of suicides, which begin in the U.S. and begin to spread all over the world. In a small town in Turkey, a man kills himself after spending a long time on the computer. Following his death, his friends continue to receive emails from him, and also start seeing strange creatures around themselves.

“Dabbe” has been praised for its combination of psychological horror with the story of the Quranic Beast of the Earth.

  1. “KL24: Zombies” (2017)

"KL24: Zombies" is a Malaysian comedy-horror film directed by James Lee, Shamaine Othman and Gavin Yap. The film is set in the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where a mysterious virus outbreak turns people into zombies. As the city descends into chaos, a group of mismatched survivors must navigate the zombie-infested streets to find safety. Along the way, they encounter a mix of eccentric characters and absurd situations, leading to comical and bizarre moments as they try to survive the apocalypse.

This film is notable for its incorporation of Malaysian culture and landmarks, as well as its inclusion of Muslim zombies, which is not common in most Muslim horror. "KL24: Zombies" has received positive feedback for its unconventional approach and humor, gaining a following among fans of zombie and horror-comedy films.

  1. “Under the Shadow” (2016)

"Under the Shadow" is a Persian-language horror film released in 2016 and directed and written by Babak Anvari. The story is set in 1980s Tehran during the Iran-Iraq War and follows Shideh, a mother and former medical student, who is left alone with her daughter Dorsa in their apartment when her husband goes to the frontlines. As war rages on and the apartment building comes under attack, chilling supernatural events begin to unfold, leading Shideh and Dorsa to believe their home is haunted. The film explores themes of motherhood, the trauma of war, and the struggle to protect family from real and supernatural threats.

"Under the Shadow" is known for blending the horrors of war with the supernatural while incorporating Persian folklore. The film gained international recognition and was the British entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.

  1. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014)

"A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" is a 2014 Iranian American vampire film by Ana Lily Amirpour. Set in the fictional Iranian ghost town of Bad City, the film follows a vampire known as "The Girl" who preys on wrongdoers. When The Girl encounters a young man named Arash, both their fates are changed irreparably. The film explores themes of loneliness, alienation, and gender roles in a male-dominated society.

The film has been critically acclaimed, praised for its artistic and atmospheric approach to the vampire genre, striking visuals, and Sheila Vand’s enigmatic performance as the vampire. "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" has been celebrated for its cross-cultural cinematic experience, blending Iranian and Western influences to create something truly unique.

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