Just in case you didn't know, Asian horror puts American horror to shame, so it's time to broaden your horizons. South Korea, in particular, has emerged as a major force in the genreby practically inventing a new sub-genre of revenge-themed psychological thrillers.Train to Busan, for example, broke records and became the country’s top-grossing films of all time (and an international hit as well).
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Considering that South Korea didn't start churning out stellar horror films until the late '90s, their genre domination is well-deserved and nothing short of remarkable. Here are 10 of the best Korean horror movies out there.
Updated on the 15th of April, 2020 by Anastasia Maillot: With summer fast approaching, one of the primary ways in South Korea to stay cool during hot days is to stay in and watch chillingly scary horror movies.
With such a strong horror genre, it's a shame not to share some of these incredible South Korean horror movies with the world. Here are five additional titles guaranteed to give you nightmares for the next few weeks.
15. Whispering Corridors (1998)
Although Whispering Corridors is over two decades old, it's one of the cornerstones of Korean horror genre. It came out during a time where free expression was brand new in the country, and not only serves as a chilling story, but also as social commentary.
Taking place in an all girls' school which is reportedly haunted by a ghost, staff and students start to disappear into thin air following the suicide of a teacher. This is the story that started it all in Korean horror, but whether it not its mystery is solved, is for the viewer to see.
14. Don't Click (2012)
A more recent titlethat became extremely popular due to its modern themes, Don't Click is the story of a strange video that circulates the Internet, labeled as the "forbidden video." After main character Jung-Mi has her sister's boyfriend download the file for her, strange things begin to happen in her life.
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This is a classic tip of the hat to movies like The Ring or One Missed Call, addictive and terrifying all at the same time.
13. The Red Shoes (2005)
Who doesn't love a nice pair of heels, especially when they're available for free? After Sun-Jae discovers a pair of gorgeous red high heels on the subway, she takes them with herself back home, only to find out that they have a very, very dark secret.
Based on the old fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen, it's a dark and twisted modern story about vanity and beauty, which turns into a classic haunting.
12. Cinderella (2006)
Plastic surgery is a major topic in many Korean movies, but inCinderellait's treated as an aspect of horror. A successful plastic surgeon and her daughter soon begin to witness strange things when her patients commit suicide before her daughter.
Another tale on vanity and body image, for those afraid of body horror and gore, this might be a rough one but it's terrifying all the same.
11. The Quiet Family (1998)
There's nothing scarier than living in near-total isolation of the rest of the world, and the Kang family is about to discover just that. As the entire household moves to a remote mountain location for a business, they're elated to finally get their first customer.
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However, as their first visitor commits suicide, the family decides to bury him without a fuss to spare themselves from bad publicity. This, unfortunately, is just the beginning in The Quiet Family.
10. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)
You might have never heard of it, but Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, andI didn't even know that was possible! This intense and creepy "found footage" horror follows the crew of a horror web series as they travel to an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast.
As you can imagine, things get nightmarish real fast as they begin to experience unexpected terrors around every corner. If you're a fan of Paranormal Activity,you'll love every minute of it.
9. I Saw The Devil (2010)
I Saw The Devilhas one of the most brutalscenes of movie vengeance out there, so prepare yourself emotionally before you watch it on your own. The movie is about asecret service agent whose fiancée is brutally murdered and dismembered by a serial killer, and his decisionto take his revenge through the relentless pursuit and torture of the killer.
It's dark and twisted and alreadyhas a remake in development by screenwriter Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard, who have previously collaborated on horror films like You're Next and V/H/S.
8. Bedevilled (2010)
Bedevilledis a brutal and beautifulpsychological horror film about a woman who’s subjected to mental, physical, and sexual abuse on a remote island. The film is much more than a horror, however.
According to one film review, "The only relief from grief and suffering is bloodshed, which is exactly what we get. ‘Bedevilled’ is more than a story of a woman scorned, it’s about women’s constant struggle to find a place in the world and what happens when it is taken away from her. This is especially true for Asian cinema, as women are typically shown as more reserved and dainty, trying not to make a ripple in the ocean that is a man’s world."
7. Phone (2002)
Phone is a South Korean horror film about ghost possession that did its rounds in international film festivals and was subsequently nominated in different categories, including Best New Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.
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Although the movie title is basic enough, the plot is the complex story of an investigative journalist quite literally haunted by the constant ringing of the phone in the aftermath of an article she published. When the daughter of her friend one day answers the phone, things take a turn for the darker.
6. Death Bell (2008)
School is scary enough without high-achieving students disappearing at random and dying in grisly ways, but that's exactly what happens in Death Bell.
As the onlyKorean horror film to be released in the summer of 2008, it did very well at the box office and was described byDerek Elley of Varietyas having a"neat concept" with "enough shocks and gore to keep genre addicts contented." This film also marks the acting debut of Nam Gyu-ri,a former singer withSeeYa.
5. The Silenced (2015)
There are a lot of underrated horror movies out there, and The Silenced is one of them. When anew girl transfers to a boarding school, several of her fellow students go missing, and her attempts to reveal the mystery behind the disappearances put her own life in danger.
A bonus: this movie is packed full of Korean history, as it's set in1938 during the Japanese occupation.The movie has been described as "visually stunning" and "a quiet, eerie film, with all kinds of horrific twists made imaginable by its Japanese colonial period."
Despite being a solid horror film, Thirsthas been labeled as one of the sexiest horror movies of all time (for those who are into blending sexy times and gore).
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The film, which follows apriest who is brought back to life as a vampire, won the jury prize at theCannes Film Festival back in 2009 and made the list for "best horror movie" during the2010 Scream Award Nominations.Thirst is a dark, sexy love story that will scare the hell out of even the most seasoned watchers.
3. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
A Tale of Two Sistersisn't the newest Korean horror film, but it's certainly one of the best. The film follows two sisters who, after returning home from a mental institution, find themselves surrounded by a cruel stepmother, vengeful ghosts, and unexpected revelations about their family's dark past.
2. The Wailing (2016)
After raking innearly $50 million at the box office, scoring a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and appearing on many"best horror of 2016" lists, is it any wonder that Ridley Scott is chomping at the bit to do an English re-make of South Korean horror film,The Wailing?
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For those who haven't seen it, residents of a South Korean mountain village get hit with a deadly and mysterious disease, and it's up to a local policeman to get to the bottom of it with the help of a powerful shaman. Given that the storyline is packed full of Korean culture, toe-curling terror, and unexpected comedic relief, it's unclear whether a remake could hold a candle to the original.
1. Train To Busan (2016)
Train to Busanhas been described as one of the most underrated horror moviesthat only the biggest movie buffs know about, and luckily for everyone, it's available to stream on Netflix right now. At first glance, it just seems like just another basic zombie movie: virus breaks out, people struggle to get away before they become lunchmeat.
Nothing special, right? WRONG. Unlike in other zombie flicks, the character development and the acting in the film is quality and the cinematography is top notch. There's a reason it's gone on to become the 8th highest grossing Korean film of all time.
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- #8. The Handmaiden (2016) 96% 91% #8. ...
- #7. Burning (2018) 95% 80% #7. ...
- #6. Hotel by the River (2018) 95% 65% #6. ...
- #5. Mother (2009) 96% 88% #5. ...
- #4. The Wailing (2016) 99% 82% #4. ...
- #3. Parasite (2019) 99% 91% #3. ...
- #2. The Age of Shadows (2016) 100% 83% #2. ...
- #1. Poetry (2010) 100% 86% #1.
I SAW THE DEVIL is a brutal, bloody, shocking and very effective crime drama. A psychopath has killed many young girls and when one of them turns out to be the pregnant fiancé of a government agent - the agent takes matter into his own hands to track down the killer and make him pay.Why are Korean horror movies so good? ›
Korean horror movies have received widespread acclaim with American audiences in recent history, partially because they managed to provide not only a different narrative than popular U.S. releases, but also employ strategies that feel fresher in comparison.Which country makes best horror movies? ›
Spain comes up with the best horror movies every year. Their horror movies aren't just about jumpscares or sheer weirdness but the concepts are beautifully fleshed out. The theme of a horror movie is one of the most under-rated and overlooked aspect of the viewing experience.What is the No 1 Kdrama? ›
1. The World of the Married (2020)Why Korean movies are famous? ›
South Korean films are some of the most aesthetically pleasing, emotionally captivating and well-written films because you never know what you're going to get and that's what makes them so great. They are unpredictable, genre-bending and masterfully crafted.Who is the villain in I Saw the Devil? ›
Jang Kyung-chul (in Korean 장경철) is the main antagonist of the 2010 South Korean psychological thriller movie I Saw the Devil. He is a bus driver and a serial killer who terrorized a city in South Korea primarily targeting women, raping and often dismembering them. He was portrayed by Choi Min-shik, who also played Mr.Does Netflix Have I Saw the Devil? ›
A secret agent discovers how far over the edge he'll go to seek retribution after his fiancée is brutally slain by a psychopathic serial killer. Watch all you want.What is the plot twist of Saw the Devil? ›
SPOILER: Jang Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik) is a dangerous psychopath serial killer. He has committed infernal serial murders in diabolic ways that one cannot even imagine and his victims range from young women to even children. The police have chased him for a long time, but were unable to catch him.Which is the world horror movie? ›
|2||2007||I am Legend|
|4||2019||It: Chapter Two|
The Amityville Horror (1979) Arguably the most famous horror film based on horrifying, allegedly real events, The Amityville Horror has spent more than four decades giving audiences a permanent case of night terrors with the story of a young couple and their house in Amityville, New York haunted by violent spirits.What makes Japanese horror scary? ›
The psychological staying power of introducing a vengeful spirit that is tied to an everyday object such as a house or a videotape is the true crux of Japanese Horror. It's likely far easier to say some random slasher isn't real than it is to believe that the shadow in the corner of the room isn't a ghost.What is the longest K-drama? ›
- Our Blues (2022), 9 weeks. ...
- The King's Affection (2021), 10 weeks. ...
- Twenty-Five Twenty-One (2022), 10 weeks. ...
- All Of Us Are Dead Season 1 (2022), 11 weeks. ...
- A Business Proposal (2022), 13 weeks. ...
- Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021), 16 weeks. ...
- Squid Game (2021), 20 weeks.
Hallyuwood, a compound word combining the word Hallyu (Korean Wave) with wood from Hollywood, is the informal term popularly used to describe the Korean-language entertainment and film industry in South Korea.What is the first Korean movie? ›
Some name a filming of Chunhyang-Jeon (Korean: 춘향전) in 1921 (released in 1922) as the first Korean feature film. The traditional story, Chunhyang, was to become Korea's most-filmed story later. It was possibly the first Korean feature film, and was certainly the first Korean sound film, color film and widescreen film.Why are Korean movies popular in India? ›
Another big draw is that both find the actors in these dramas to be extremely attractive. Away from Delhi, in northeastern India, however K-content had been much popular compared to the Indian entertainment industry long way back before it got popularised in other parts of India.Who is the most famous K drama actor? ›
- Lee Min Ho. Lee Min Ho is also a highly well-known South Korean actor who has starred in T.V. ...
- Lee Jong Suk. Lee Jong Suk was born on September 14, 1989, in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. ...
- Kim Woo Bin. ...
- Kim Soo Hyun. ...
- Ji Chang Wook. ...
- Park Seo Joon. ...
- Lee Joon Gi. ...
- Park Bo Gum.
Jung says the popularity of the character - Goblin has scored ratings as high as 12.7 per cent, according to Nielsen Korea - can be attributed to female viewers' yearning for all-powerful male figures who can solve the problems of modern women with increasingly stressful lives.What is the number 1 K-drama on Netflix? ›
- Extracurricular. An intelligent high school student turns to a life of crime to ensure he can pay for college and escape his dead-end life. ...
- My Name. ...
- The King's Affection. ...
- Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.
Based on popular Japanese manga and anime Hana Yori Dango, Boys Over Flowers is a great way to start any K-drama journey. With a hint of class difference, school drama and innocent romance. Boys Over Flowers is a light must-watch for anyone trying out K-dramas for the first time.
- Lee Jung-Jae as Seong Gi-Hun.
- Park Hae-Soo as Cho Sang-Woo.
- HoYeon Jung as Kang Sae-byeok.
- Wi Ha-joon as Hwang Jun-ho.
- Anupam Tripathi as Abdul Ali.
- Oh Young-soo as Oh Il-nam.
- Heo Sung-tae as Jang Deok-su.
- Kim Joo-ryung as Han Mi-nyeo.
Many Korean dramas have kissing scenes, but it's uncommon to find a drama that shows intimate scenes. When it comes to such dramas, the first person that comes to mind is none other than Ji Chang-wook.
Lee Minho reminded us why he is one of the best kissers in the Korean entertainment industry in his comeback drama Pachinko.How do you kiss a girl? ›
Press your lips into her lips without pushing her or shoving your nose into her face. Apply light pressure and embrace her by pulling her closer. Kiss her for 1-4 seconds before moving back with your lips still on hers to give her a moment to catch her breath or adjust her position. Keep your lips soft as you kiss.Who is No 1 Korean actress? ›
Song Hye Kyo is a phenomenal top Korean actress. She was born on November 21, 1981, at 40 years old. She belongs to the city of Daegu, South Korea. She has about 12.7 Million followers on her Instagram.What is Goblin called in Korean? ›
Dokkaebi (Korean: 도깨비) are legendary creatures from Korean mythology and folklore. Dokkaebi, also known as "Korean goblins", are nature deities or spirits possessing extraordinary powers and abilities that are used to interact with humans, at times playing tricks on them and at times helping them.Are goblins happy? ›
Goblin does have a happy ending, but the quota of sad scenes and plot twists are just heart-wrenching. “What on earth dude”, I thought, as our beloved Kim Shin, literally and figuratively disappears after stabbing that evil minister spirit monster, or whatever.What is the age gap in Goblin? ›
She's 19 and he's centuries old, so in reality even if she was like 5 years older it would not make a difference at all.