These five are both powerfully terrifying.
East Asian movies seem to strike a special chord with the Western audience. Unlike Hollywood, Chinese, Korean and Japanese filmmakers tend to draw inspiration from traditional dramaturgy and historical memory to create original and profound works of art.
This applies to the Korean horror genre in particular. Many of such films contain sharp social commentary, criticizing the flaws of Korean society and exploring the horrors the country faced throughout its history. Train to Busan, The Wailing, Memories of Murder, A Tale of Two Sisters — these are just a few famous titles, and all of these stories suggest that the scariest creature of all is humanity itself.
But there are many more prominent examples of Korean horror. Here are five more movies that will leave you speechless and shaken to the core.
5. #Alive (2020)
In most zombie stories, the protagonists are shown out in the streets or the wilderness, relying on their survival instinct and trying to reach a safe haven. But let's face it, if a zombie apocalypse does happen, most of us would probably isolate ourselves at home, clinging on to the comfortable environment and unwilling to accept the reality outside.
The protagonist of #Alive does just that, staying at home amidst a zombie apocalypse and gradually losing touch with the outside world while running out of supplies.
4. Bedevilled (2010)
There are no zombies or supernatural beings in this movie, but it is no less scary than the previous one. Here, horror comes from the harsh conservative and patriarchal realities of an isolated Korean community and the protagonist's indifference to her friend's struggles. The amount of violence is terrifying, and the consequences are truly tragic.
3. The Chaser (2008)
Like Memories of Murder, The Chaser tackles the themes of police incompetence and bureaucracy leading to irresponsible acquiescence and dire consequences. The film is built around a serial killer who manages to continually get away with his crimes due to loopholes in the system and law, while the police are preoccupied with other priorities.
2. Whispering Corridors (1998)
After the end of military dictatorship and lifting of censorship restrictions, South Korean cinema experienced an influx of films that openly criticized the system. One of the most prominent examples is Whispering Corridors, a supernatural horror set in an all-girls high school. The movie criticizes the authoritarian hierarchy, conformity, and abusive education system.
1. Acacia (2003)
Free from the censorship restrictions, Korean horror films of the early 2000s delved into genuinely creepy plots and topics. Acacia tells the story of a family who adopts a little boy. While his behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, it turns out that the real problem is with the boy's mother whose actions lead to a terrible tragedy.