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K-drama Flashback: 15 Creepy Korean Horror Films You Must See

Korean cinema, also known for violent thrillers with horror undertones, might just be what you’d like to watch over the weekend. Here are some of our recommendations

Debashree Dutta Mar 11, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

Sorum (2001)

Yoon Jongchan made his directorial debut (for a film) with Sorum.  It tells the story of a taxi driver (Kim Myungmin) who moves into a rickety apartment that may be cursed. A 30-year-old mystery emerges, consuming the lives of the residents. The film was nominated for and won multiple awards.

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

Unborn But Forgotten (2002)

Han Ujin, a reporter, discovers that several pregnant women have died under mysterious circumstances after accessing a website called the ‘White Room’ in Im Changjae’s 2002 horror mystery. She begins her investigation into the unusual case and ends up visiting the site herself which leads her into experiencing bizarre symptoms. 

Into the Mirror (2003)

Directed by Kim Sungho, this film sees ‘Woo Youngmin’ (Yoo Jitae), a former cop, mentally plagued by the memories of a bungled hostage scenario that cost him his job and killed his colleague, currently working as a guard in a department store (set to reopen after a fire disaster).  Woo begins an investigation after a series of grisly and strange suicides in the business. While the police suspect a serial killer, Woo follows a more irrational investigation, attempting to connect the inexplicable deaths to a ghost who uses mirrors as a portal to the living world. 

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

R-Point (2004)

R-Point, written and directed by Kong Suchang is a psychological horror war film starring Kam Woosung and Son Byongho as members of the South Korean military in Vietnam in 1972. During the Vietnam War, the troops fall prey to a curse while scouring the forest for the origin of a strange warning signal.

The Wig (2005)

The Wig, directed by Won Shinyun and starring Chae Minseo and Yoo Sun, is about ‘Su Hyeon’, dying of cancer who’s gone bald as a result of chemo treatment. ‘Ji Hyeon’, her sister, gets a long-haired wig. Su regains her health while wearing it but suddenly attacks Ji’s ex-boyfriend ‘Ki Seok’. When Ji realizes that the wig is possessed by a demon, she discovers that the wig was made with corpse hair and has a dark secret.

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

Cinderella (2006)

After her father passes away, high school student ‘Hyun Su’ (Shin Sekyung) stays with her mother, ‘Yoon Hee’ (Do Jiwon), a plastic surgeon. Yoon performs individual facelifts, eyelifts, and other procedures on Hyun’s friend’s post which all of them start encountering ghosts and feel driven to inflict injuries on themselves. As her friends begin to die, Hyun delves into her mother’s past to uncover a terrible secret.

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Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait (2007)

Muoi follows a Korean author as she travels to Vietnam in quest of a subject for her second novel. There, she learns of a mystery involving a century-old malevolent spirit. This 2007 horror film starring Jo An, Cha Yeryun, and Anh Thu became the first horror film in Vietnam after The Fall of Saigon, as well as the first classified film.

Death Bell (2008)

Lee Beomsoo, Kim Beom, Nam Gyuri, and others star in Death Bell. The film is set in a Korean high school, and the title relates to ‘Gosa’ a mandatory midterm exam. Teachers ‘Mr. Kim’ and ‘Ms. Choi’, assemble top students for a Saturday study session, but things begin to go wrong as students start vanishing followed by brutal deaths, sometimes in full view of the others via closed-circuit television. Teacher Kim leads in trying to solve the problems, hoping to save the students. Death Bell was a huge success at the box office.

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

Thirst (2009)

Park Chanwook wrote, produced, and directed the 2009 horror-thriller Thirst. Song Kangho plays ‘Sanghyun’, a Catholic priest who becomes a vampire after a botched medical experiment and falls in love with ‘Taeju’ (Kim Okbin), the wife of a longtime friend (Shin Hakyun). Thirst got mostly excellent reviews from critics and was nominated for the ‘Palme d’Or’ at the 2009 ‘Cannes Film Festival’, where it also won the ‘Jury Award’.

Bedevilled (2010)

Seo Younghee and Ji Sungwon appear in the award-winning horror-mystery-thriller Bedevilled. At the 2010 ‘Cannes Film Festival’, the movie opened as an official choice of ‘International Critics’ Week’. In the film, ‘Hae Won’ agrees to pay a visit to an old friend, ‘Bok Nam’, on a distant island, only to learn that Bok is a slave to the other occupants. When tragedy hits, Bok vows vengeance on all of her abusers.

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White: Melody of Death (2011)

With the release of their new song “White”, a remake from an unnamed source, the girl group Pink Dolls become overnight sensations. Breakdancer ‘Eun Joo’, the singer ‘Je Ni’, vocalist ‘Ah Rang’, and rapping talent ‘Sin Ji’ are the band members. As the group grows in popularity, rivalry among the members for the role of lead singer intensifies. However, when a girl becomes the lead singer, she is killed in a tragic accident. Eun learns that “White” is an accursed song and ventures out to solve the mystery.

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

Don’t Click (2012)

A forbidden video wreaks havoc by killing the person who watches it. ‘Jung Mi’ (Byeol Kang), a high schooler lands in trouble after seeing the clip. ‘Se Hee’ (Park Boyoung), Jung’s sister, tries to figure out the truth with the support of ‘Joon Hyuk’ (Joo Won), her lover, while Jung loses her sanity.

Photo: Courtesy of HanCinema

Hide and Seek (2013)

Written and directed by Huh Jung Hide and Seek focuses on ‘Sung Soo’, an affluent man who is an insomniac and also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. When his brother mysteriously disappears, Sung tries to look for him, only to discover a darker side of shadowy residential trespassers and terrifying rumors about them.

Mourning Grave (2014)

Mourning Grave is another South Korean mystery horror film where ‘In Soo’ (Kang Haneul) isolates himself from the other students due to his ability to see ghosts. He transfers to a high school on the outskirts of Seoul and meets a female ghost (Kim Soeun). While the two become friends their classmates begin to disappear one after another.

The Piper (2015)

Kim Gwangtae wrote and directed The Piper, a period horror-thriller film based on the legend Pied Piper of Hamelin. After the Korean War, Woo Ryong (Ryoo Seungryong) and his son Young Nam (Goo Seunghyun) travel to Seoul. Woo wishes to diagnose and treat Young for tuberculosis. Soon, they come across a village, well suited to living but filled with rats. Woo and Young strike a deal to get rid of them but when the village chief belittles the father and the son, they tempt the rodents to return.

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