Halloween is over, but it seems like the dark and sombre vibes are still prevalent in the atmosphere. The best way to enjoy the post-Halloween week is by spending it on watching some real scary movies and shows for an adrenaline rush, since we usually spend the red-letter day wearing scary costumes, carving pumpkins and partying. Luckily, the Korean entertainment industry has everything in store for you, be it fluffy rom-coms, intense crime-drama or thrilling horror shows. Although horror-thrillers aren’t very popular a genre in the Asian film culture, there are a handful of movies that are more than enough to help you have an unsound sleep at night.
Check out our freshly-made list of the top ten most popular horror movies from Korea that you should definitely have on your watchlist. You might have watched some of them if you are a hard-core Korean horror movies fan. Get ready to experience some twists and scares, terror and chills!
10. The Piper (2015)
Starring: Ryu Seung Ryong, Lee Sung Min, Chun Woo Hee, Lee Joon, Jung Kyung Ho, Gu Seung Hyun
Where to Watch: Prime Video, YouTube
‘The Piper’ is a twisted version of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin that we have read in our school days. It revolves around Woo Ryong, who along with his father, arrives on a deserted mountain village in search of a job to earn enough to be able to move to Seoul, after the Korean War. Woo Ryong gets to know about the major rat infestation with which the whole village has been suffering and decides to drive them away in exchange for a fee.
Just like the mid-century Pied Piper, he does his work but gets cheated as the chief of the village double-crosses him and refuse to pay his fees. Frustrated Woo Ryong vows to get back at him by bringing back all the rats to the village. The movie showcases an unknown side of humanity, the deeds of cruel and wicked people and the kindest souls losing their hopes. You are either going to love the movie or absolutely dislike it.
9. The Closet (2020)
Screenwriter & Director: Kim Kwang Bin
Starring: Ha Jung Woo, Kim Nam Gil, Heo Yool, Kim Shi Ah, Shin Hyun Bin, Kim Soo Jin
Where to Watch: iQiyi
The story follows an architect named Sang Won and his daughter, Yi Na, who relocates to a new house to cope up with the death of his wife in a traffic accident. However, soon after they arrive, Yi Na’s personality totally changes. From not speaking a word to her father, she turns into a cheerful girl, claiming that she has got a new friend there. Her abnormal behaviour continues until one day, when she disappears from the house mysteriously.
After looking for her for over a month, people get suspicious if Sang Won has killed her own daughter. The news grabs the attention of a mysterious man named Kyung Hoon who approaches him, saying how he has been investigating 32 such cases of missing children for ten years. Kyung Hoon and Sang Won begin to work together in order to dig deep into the mystery of the missing children.
8. The Host (2006)
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Screenwriter: Baek Chul Hyun, Bong Joon Ho
Starring: Song Kang Ho, Byun Hee Bong, Park Hae Il, Bae Doo Na, Go Ah Sung, Oh Dal Soo
Where to Watch: Netflix, Tubi
The movie, ‘The Host’ can be considered as another great work of the talented director Bong Joon-ho! The story has its origin in the Han river of Korea’s capital city, Seoul, in the depth of which a mysterious creature takes birth. Nothing changes in the city as people continue to live their normal lives until five years later, when the creature suddenly shows up, emerging from the river and beginning a mass slaughter. In the process, it devours a little girl named Park Hyun Seo, the only daughter of Park Gang-du, a snack bar manager living nearby.
The government bans everyone from going close to the river but Park Gang-du, without paying any heed, rushes to save his daughter along with his family. The movie has a perfect blend of drama, suspense and horror, keeping you at the edge of your seats throughout its run. Moreover, it succeeds in delivering lessons on family relationships and addresses a few political issues prevailing during that time.
7. The Divine Fury (2019)
Screenwriter & Director: Jason Kim
Starring: Park Seo Joon, Ahn Sung Ki, Woo Do Hwan, Choi Woo Shik, Park Ji Hyun, Jung Ji Hoon
Where to Watch: Viki
The movie revolves around a martial arts champion, Yong-hoo, who ends up having divine powers in order to fight against a powerful evil force. After losing his parents, Yong-hoo had to suffer from a tragic childhood, which forces him to turn his back towards the Almighty. He turns his anger and deep resentment into power, becoming a successful MMA fighter.
Soon after his bout in the United States, he realises he has developed unusual stigmata which makes him restless. Unable to find any solution, he seeks help from the priest and exorcist Ahn. He discovers potential in Yong-hoo after he finds his wound defeating a demon. The two of them join forces and get themselves involved in a case to battle a powerful evil.
6. Bedevilled (2010)
Director: Jang Cheol Soo
Starring: Seo Young Hee, Ji Sung Won, Park Jung Hak, Bae Sung Woo, Oh Yong, Ah In
Where to Watch: AsianCrush
The story of the movie follows a stern single woman named Hye Won who has been working in a bank in Seoul. She is an independent but selfish woman who doesn’t care to help anyone in need. When she faces some unavoidable problems at work, she decides to take a break at her grandfather’s house on Mudo island. There, she comes across her childhood friend, Kim Bok Nam, now a delightful mother.
Soon enough, the injustice and misogyny with which Bok Nam has been treated by the socially regressive inhabitants of the island come in the eyes of Hye Won. Although she knows that her childhood friend needs her help, she doesn’t come forward but she still gets involved eventually.
5. White: The Melody of the Curse (2011)
Screenwriter & Director: Kim Gok, Kim Sun
Starring: Ham Eun Jung, Hwang Woo Seul Hye, Seo Hyun Woo, Nam Sang Ran, Choi Min Chul, Kim Young Min
Where to Watch: Prime Video
‘White: The Melody of the Curse’ is a reasonable suspense-filled horror flick with a well-built original story. The premises centres on a struggling rookie girl group named ‘Pink Dolls’ formed with Eun Ju, the frontwoman, Jenny, the lead vocalist, Shin Ji, the lead dancer and Ah Rang, the youngest member. Coincidentally, Eun Ju finds an old videotape in the new office of the agency containing a dark, gloomy but mesmerizing music video. Soon after the group showcases the song, its fame hits the sky.
The members of the Pink Dolls think of releasing the song as their new single titled ‘White’. As they begin their tight practice regimen, strange things follow, starting from the vocalist passing out while practising, Ag Rang turning hostile towards her friend Shin Ji and the latter gets an ugly reaction to a cosmetic.
4. The Wailing (2016)
Screenwriter & Director: Na Hong Jin
Starring: Kwak Do Won, Hwang Jung Min, Kunimura Jun, Chun Woo Hee, Kim Hwan Hee, Heo Jin
Where to Watch: Viki, Hulu, Prime Video
2016 was a great year for K-drama as well as K-movie fans and ‘The Wailing’ is one of the masterpieces created during that time, as a parade of almost every horror trope that one can imagine. The story follows a rural village, that looks pretty normal on the surface, which suddenly begins to face mysterious and violent deaths. The villagers suspect it has something to do with an older Japanese man living nearby. Officer Jong Goo, after some digging, comes across a witness who can place the foreigner at the crime scenes, which makes Jong Goo doubt the latter.
To make the matters worse, he discovers that his own daughter has begun to experience similar symptoms that the other villages had faced before death. He immediately advances towards the mountain home of his prime suspect, to solve the mystery and protect his daughter along with the others.
3. Train to Busan (2016)
Director: Yeon Sang Ho
Screenwriter: Yeon Sang Ho, Park Joo Seok
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu Mi, Kim Soo An, Ma Dong Seok, Choi Woo Shik, Kim Eui Sung
Where to Watch: Prime Video
One of the most popular Asian films ever, ‘Train to Busan’ is an action-fantasy movie featuring a zombie apocalypse that has engulfed the entire nation while the passengers in a train, off to Busan, run to save their lives. The protagonist of the story is a fund manager named Seok Woo, a single father, who struggles to spend time with his daughter due to his job. However, when his daughter forces him to take her to Busan, where her mother resides, for his upcoming birthday, Seok Woo is left with no other option.
However, their journey gets cursed when a girl, infected with a zombie bite, enters the train before it departs. Before she knows, she turns into a zombie herself and runs after the others on the train, converting them into zombies one after the other. Seok-Woo, his daughter, Soo-An along with some other passengers join hands to escape the situation at any cost. The question is, if they can battle against the brain-dead zombies all by themselves, while the latter are uncountable in number.
2. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Screenwriter & Director: Kim Jee Woon
Starring: Kim Gab Soo, Yeom Jung Ah, Im Soo Jung, Moon Geun Young, Park Mi Hyun, Woo Ki Hong
Where to Watch: Prime Video
‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is a Korean classic with an unusual horror and thriller concept, full of unexpected turns. After Su Mi and Su Yeon return home from a long hospital stay after the death of their mother, they are being harassed by their stepmother. While the elder sister Su Mi speaks up whenever needed, the younger Su Yeon is timid and looks to her sister for help. Despite the treatment they get at home, they endure it for the sake of their father. Su Mi determines not to let their stepmother torment Su Yeon anymore and soon after that, unexplainable things begin to take place.
Su Yeon starts to feel someone’s presence at the house who runs up the stairs, opens the door and walks up to her bed. At first, it appears to be another foul trick played by her stepmother, but soon she begins to think of it as an act of a supernatural force that wants to drive them away from the house.
1. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)
Screenwriter: Park Sang Min
Screenwriter & Director: Jung Bum Shik
Starring: Wi Ha Joon, Park Sung Hoon, Oh Ah Yun, Park Ji Hyun, Moon Ye Won, Yoo Je Yoon
Where to Watch: Prime Video
The story follows an internet broadcaster who, in order to prove whether the rumours at notorious Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital are true or not, hires a handful of people to visit the place for his new show, ‘Experience the Horror’. The hospital has been closed since 1979 after 42 patients had killed themselves and the director of the hospital went missing. The group sets out to visit and live stream the haunted asylum, labelled as one of the freakiest places on the earth.
The show hosts play surprisingly tricks on their guests in order to attract more viewers but soon come to realise that things are going out of their hands. The storyline of the movie is something we are pretty familiar with— a group of goes to a crazy place to film face the consequences. However, it’s amazing how the movie pulled off that concept as well, getting you on your nerves, in an unexpected way.