Over the previous couple of many years, the South Korean movie trade has been considerably of a darkish horse within the context of world cinema. Although there have been clear indicators of potential, it was solely in 2020 that these indicators reworked into important accolades. Bong Joon-ho created historical past by successful the Academy Award for Greatest Image for a non-English language movie. Moreover, Joon-ho’s Parasite gained a complete of six Academy Awards — a feat that globally introduced South Korea’s arrival within the panorama of world cinema.
Since its early days, South Korea has been churning out gems throughout a number of genres, with a specific knack for psychological thrillers. Starting from gore-filled, rage-driven movies to the extra delicate, psychological dramas, this is a listing of tweleve South Korean movies that may disturb you for days.
Up to date Might 23, 2023: Should you get pleasure from watching bone-chilling South Korean films, you may be completely happy to know this text has been up to date with extra content material by Darren Gigool.
12 A Story of Two Sisters (2003)
Unsettlingly thought-provoking, A Story of Two Sisters stands as a psychological horror traditional in South Korean cinema. Director Kim Jee-woon masterfully crafts this 2003 film based mostly on a Korean people story. The narrative spins round two sisters, Soo-mi and Soo-yeon, who navigate the eerie aftermath of their return from a psychological establishment to their father’s dwelling. The ominous assembly with their malevolent stepmother and the collection of unusual incidents that ensue forged a deeply unsettling shadow over their reunion.
Critics heap praises on the movie for its profoundly disturbing psychological thriller elements. The harrowing story, full of spectral hallucinations and stunning disclosures, shatters viewers’ notion of actuality. Past psychological manipulation, the movie’s disquieting cinematography amplifies the creepy undertone. An nearly ghostly aura pervades the massive, dimly illuminated home, the movie’s major setting. Hid horrors are implied by means of its shadowy corners and resonating silences. Haunting photographs, shocking views, and calculated lighting and shadow work synergize to foster a way of dread that haunts the viewers lengthy after the credit roll.
11 The Host (2006)
Unexpectedly touching, The Host is a 2006 monster film from South Korea that made waves. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, this movie marries parts of horror, comedy, and political commentary. It facilities on a dysfunctional household’s determined battle in opposition to a monstrous creature that surfaces from the Han River and kidnaps their younger lady. As they confront the nightmare and try to reclaim their kin, they conflict in opposition to detached authorities and societal apathy.
Bong’s creation unsettles viewers on a number of dimensions. Basically, it subverts creature movie tropes to induce palpable horror. An early daylight reveal of the monster within the narrative enhances the pervasive sense of impending doom. Nonetheless, the movie’s disquieting nature extends past overt terror. The Host stirs discomfort with its scathing societal critique, casting gentle on authorities ineptitude and public indifference. The actual horror regularly stems from human shortcomings quite than the creature itself, contributing to the movie’s enduring influence.
10 Thirst (2009)
A chilling exploration of morality, Thirst is a novel entry into South Korea’s horror cinema panorama. The 2009 movie, directed by famend filmmaker Park Chan-wook, delves into the disturbing story of Sang-hyun, a Catholic priest-turned-vampire. A botched medical experiment leads him down a path of want and ethical degradation, distinctively portraying vampirism from a refreshing angle. Moderately than indulging in stereotypical vampire representations, Thirst scrutinizes the moral repercussions of vampirism.
The viewers finds itself questioning moral boundaries as Sang-hyun grapples together with his sudden carnal cravings. His bloodlust, an allegory of his inner battle, turns into disconcertingly relatable. The ethical dilemma in Thirst amplifies its unsettling attract. The movie confronts the implications of its premise head-on, delving into the potential darkness inside the human psyche.
9 The Wailing (2016)
From the thoughts of Na Hong-jin, comes this deeply darkish and twisted story of shamanistic horror. The Wailing revolves round a collection of murders that happen in a small city in South Korea, eerily overlapping with the arrival of a mysterious man from Japan. These puzzling collection of murders fall within the lap of native rock-headed police detective Jong-gu (Do Gained Kwak)
As Jong-gu goes by means of the motions, he realizes there’s greater than meets the attention and every thing isn’t as black and white because it appears. Na Hong Jin manages to maintain viewers hooked by masterfully constructing atmospheric stress by means of thematic parts akin to rain, mud, and blood. The movie’s climax is closely mentioned and debated among the many varied corridors frequented by movie fanatics, however one factor is for certain, when you watch The Wailing, it’ll reside in your head rent-free.
8 I Noticed the Satan (2010)
On a snowy night time, a pregnant lady is killed by a ruthless, bloodthirsty psychopath, Jang Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik). As the girl is preventing for her life, the girl calls her fiancé, who occurs to be an elite officer of the NIS (Korean Particular Forces). Unable to assist his fiancé and their unborn child, officer Kim Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun) units out on a sadistic cat-and-mouse recreation of his personal.
Kim Jee-woon’s I Noticed The Satan, stands out from the remainder of the revenge dramas as a result of it lets the theme of revenge simmer. Moderately than making it a mainstream revenge saga, Jee-woon’smovie focuses on the predator discovering himself to be the prey.
7 The Chaser (2008)
The Chaser, directed by the legendary Na Hong Jin (The Wailing) revolves round an ex-policeman, turned pimp who finds himself going through a formidable foe when considered one of his ladies goes lacking. The Chaser marked the debut of Na Hong Jin and is impressed by the real-life serial killer Yoo Younger-chul. Upon its launch in 2008, The Chaser obtained loads of crucial and industrial acclaim making it one of many top-five Korean movies of the 12 months.
6 Oldboy (2003)
Oldboy is Park Chan-wook’s masterpiece that took the South Korean movie trade by storm and is taken into account to be the Magnum Opus of motion movies. There are only a few movies that handle to chop transcend the language barrier and attraction to audiences across the globe in addition to Oldboy did.
What makes Oldboy an epic story of revenge is the amalgamation of a twisted storyline married to a daring, unflinching visible fashion. Upon its launch in 2003, it took Oldboyno time to turn into a family identify worldwide, spawning diversifications in Hollywood and Bollywood. The movie additionally earned Park Chan-wook a Grand Prix Award at Cannes.
5 Practice To Busan (2006)
Yeon Sang-ho’s Practice to Busan is credited with being one of many few zombie movies that tackles the dystopian/apocalyptic style with a way of actuality. The zombies featured within the movie aren’t portrayed as gradual and dumb, successfully breaking away from the same old stereotype that’s connected to them. Moderately, the movie’s zombies are quick, bloodthirsty, and cruel, giving them an aura of evil so sinister that it stays with you method after you’re completed watching the movie.
Practice To Busan was a crucial and industrial success on the field workplace with Warner Bros buying the rights for the movie and dealing on a remake titled The Final Practice To New York.
4 Recollections of Homicide (2003)
Method earlier than Bong Joon-ho made Parasite, he made Recollections of Homicide. A bone-chilling story loosely based mostly on South Korea’s first serial murders that came about between 1986 and 1991. The movie’s screenplay was tailored from Kim Kwang-rim’s stage play Come to See Me, which was based mostly on the identical topic. Recollections of Homicide gained quite a few awards globally and is taken into account to be one of many best movies to have come out of South Korea.
3 Mom (2009)
When her mentally challenged son is accused of the ghastly homicide of a younger lady, a mom goes to battle with the world to show the innocence of her son. Bong Joon-ho’s Mom is a traditional case examine of the lengths people would go to guard their very own. Mom, contended on the 2009 Cannes Movie Pageant and had its US premiere in 2010.
2 Pietà (2012)
Pietà is a movie directed by grasp filmmaker Kim Ki-duk. The movie revolves round a mortgage shark’s chaotic relationship with a lady who mysteriously enters his life and claims to be his mom. The movie offers with complicated themes akin to symbolic sexuality, loss, and redemption. Pietà isn’t a simple movie to observe with its expletive use of sexual interjections coupled with parts of carnality, however for those who handle to stick with it, it is disturbingly rewarding.
1 Gon-ji-am: Haunted Asylum (2018)
Primarily based on a real-life psychiatric hospital of the identical identify, Gon-ji-am: Haunted Asylum is a function movie directed by Jung Bum-shik. The movie revolves round a crew of filmmakers that journey to a haunted asylum for a reside broadcast to spice up their rankings, quickly discovering themselves in a haunted hospital, with nowhere to cover.
The movie was shot in an precise haunted hospital, labeled by CNN Journey as one of many freakiest locations on this planet. Gon-ji-am was a industrial and significant success, turning into the second-biggest-grossing Korean horror movie behind A Story of Two Sisters.