Are you looking for a quick fix of slick action and hair-raising thrillers at the end of a long day? Fret not! We have a perfectly-curated list for you. If you loved “Parasite,” you should definitely check out these films for they’re all just as unique and chilling. Follow along as we count down some of the best Korean thrillers that will undoubtedly satisfy your cinematic taste buds!
7. “The Yellow Sea” (2010)
Directed by Hong Jin Na, “The Yellow Sea” is a perfect balance between ultraviolence, gore, and a touching personal struggle. The hunter becomes the hunted in this film where a taxi driver hired to travel from China to South Korea and kill a Professor, in turn, becomes the target of bloody murder and now has to run for his life. With an incredible climactic finale, this film will keep you at the edge of your seat until the very end. Watch the intriguing trailer below!
6. “The Chase” (2017)
Aridong’s most obnoxious landlord (Baek Yoon Sik), who goes around collecting rent from the houses he owns in a middle-class residential area, happens to form an accidental unlikely duo with a former detective (Sung Dong Il) to solve strange cases popping up around town. A serial killer is on the loose and they have no time to waste. Directed by Kim Hong Seon, this film is easily a masterpiece of crime/detective fiction.
5. “Joint Security Area” (2000)
An impasse is caused by a firefight that occurs at the “Bridge of No Return” in the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone), and two North Korean soldiers are killed. The North claims that it was a blatant attack from the South, whereas the South claims that one of their soldiers was kidnapped. In order to solve the deadlock, Major Sophie E. Jean (Lee Young Ae) is dispatched to look into the case. When she discovers that the count of bullets does not add up, she digs deeper into the case to reveal a strange relationship between the soldiers. Featuring Song Kang Ho and Lee Byung Hun, this one’s a must-watch for all Korean film lovers out there. It even ended up winning multiple International Film Festival Awards.
4. “Forgotten” (2017)
Kang Ha Neul gives a heart-wrenchingly brilliant performance in this Jang Hang Jun movie as Jin Seok, a man determined to find out the truth behind his older brother Yoo Seok’s (Kim Moo Yul) disappearance for nineteen days after which he returns with no recollection of the time while he was gone. This movie will keep you guessing right until the last minute of the film and you still won’t be able to tell the truth from imagination. Catch this thriller on Netflix on your next binge session.
3. “The Office” (2015)
Directed by Hong Wong Chan and featuring the incredible Park Sung Woong, this is the story of a the mysterious and inexplicable mass murder committed by a white-collar office worker who comes home one day and kills his entire family. Detective Jong Hoon hopes to solve the case by first interrogating his co-workers, but they all seem rather uncooperative. The storyline progresses slowly but steadily as we figure out, along with the Detective, what exactly drove him to the edge.
2. “Train To Busan” (2016)
One could never have imagined that a film about a zombie outbreak could leave you with tears. yet here we have Yeon Sang Ho‘s masterpiece “Train To Busan” featuring Gong Yoo, Ma Dong Seok, and Jung Yu Mi. With a stellar cast like this, nothing could ever go wrong. While being thrilling in the traditional sense, it also forces you to think “What would Gong Yoo Do?”. A father comes out of his self-centered shell and realizes that short-sighted attention is not sustainable for life to prevail. What makes the zombies so strong is their single-mindedness, and it is the same thing that makes humans weak. So when Seok Woo (Gong Yoo) overcomes that, survival becomes possible. You can watch “Train To Busan” on Netflix now! As a bonus, the sequel to Train To Busan, entitled “Peninsula,” was also recently released and is just as much of a rollercoaster as the first movie.
1. “Oldboy” (2013)
Finally, the top spot is held by Park Chan Wook’s “Oldboy.” Oldboy is a neo-noir, psychological, action-thriller film starring Choi Min Sik as Oh Dae Soo, the protagonist of the film. Oh Dae Soo is imprisoned without explanation or warning and locked in a cell for 15 years. Five days after his abrupt release, he finds out the reason behind his imprisonment and swears to take revenge on the man who tore him away from his family. On the journey, however, he begins to realize the horrible truths about the atrocities he has committed himself, leaving him on the edge of insanity.
What’s your favorite Korean thriller movie? Did it make it onto this list? What else would you have added? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1
Ishani Sarkar is a self-professed learner for life, trying to find meaning and happiness in the smallest of things. She found her safe haven within the world of Korean entertainment and she’s never letting go.
Media: As Credited