I think for the most part Japanese horror is no different from ours; they'll have several years of top-notch genre fare, then go through a slump. Same as we do. Besides...anyone who's ever seen movies like Another Heaven know full well that not ALL Japanese horror is great.
Very well said Lon. I am a foreign horror fan with a good emphasis on Asian horror. As many people are aware I have been hooked especially on Tartan Asia Extreme releases lately as they have put out some top-notch, lesser seen films. I really dont like the term j-horror because a lot of what I watch is from places other than Japan, like Korea, Singapore, and China.
I do agree in parts with peoples arguments against asian horror. The whole ghost element is sometimes kind of repetitive. The pale face with long dark hair, its been done many times. And sometimes, yes the plots can be complicated. I have seen a few that i enjoyed that I still am not sure what happened because it was intricate.
However, despite these things i think Asian horror does abetter job of storytelling in the horror genre. They often build up their characters and make them more "human" I guess is a way to put it. You care about what happens to these characters because of the growth they are given. Also, I think they do a good job of setting a tense atmosphere. Very good use of light and shadows. Music is often used to intensify a situation or build up to something climatic. I think they use more real scare tactics to provide thrills and do so without having to push the bar higher on gore or the ratings boards. They know their boundaries and do what they can to maximize their story and tactics without stretching too far to get it done.
I have always been intrigued by foreign horror as it always seemed like they were doing their own thing in the genre. I call myself a big Asian horror fan and can safely say I became one without ever seeing any of the Ringu films. The first two Asian horors I watched were back in college and were Battle Roayle and Versus. Those are the films that made me realize Asian horror is going in great direction and something I wanted to get on board with.