Are you ready to fall in love with South Korean #horror? Out of the vastness of Asian horror cinema, Japanese horror stood out the most due to its boom in the late '90s and the remake craze from the early 2000. K Horror, for instance, rarely gets the attention it deserves — except for maybe The Host and A Tale of Two Sisters, which are frequently pointed out among the best of the century.
Earlier this year, Hong-jin Na's The Wailing (Goksung) was nominated for the Palme d'Or, which is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival. Horror movies might not be making to the Oscars, but who needs the academy when you have Cannes?
While The Wailing was a more atmospheric and profound kind of horror, another South Korean flick came out, storming box offices and winning the hearts of critics and public alike all over the world. The action-packed #zombie mayhem #TrainToBusan was compared to #MadMax and #WorldWarZ (only better).
The following list consists in eight movies every horror fan should watch to warm up to Train to Busan and to start a journey inside the wonderful world of contemporary K Horror.
8. Into The Mirror
Out of the many remakes from the 2000s, Alexandre Aja's Mirrors was one of the least popular, even though it got a sequel (which was even less popular). What most people don't know is that the original film is not Japanese, but South Korean. #IntoTheMirror has a very similar plot and narrative from the Aja's version; however, as anyone familiar with Asian cinema might have guessed, the atmosphere and the eeriness is much more intense in the original.
7. Hansel & Gretel
Criminally underrated and underseen, this retelling of #HanselAndGretel's fairy tale is unlike anything you have ever seen. It offers a dark and unique twist in the traditional tale and it does so in the most gorgeous way one can conceive. The attention to detail in creating the "witch's candy house" is a true feast for the eyes. The amazing cast of children is equally #creepy and cute.
If you are tired of rape revenge you could try having some fun with oppression/revenge. A film that is more actual than ever, #Bedevilled explores the complete breakdown of a woman whose life was made miserable (especially by men) in her small village. This #gory #slasher of sorts won many prizes upon its release, inside and outside of Korea. It works greatly together with the recent wave of horror films portraying women against patriarchate and sexism in a brutal manner.
5. Killer Toon
Talking about unique movies. A series of violent and unexplained deaths becomes even more intriguing when the detective responsible for the case discovers that the crimes are live-action portraits of a comic book artist. And not even she can explain what is going on. The line between reality-fantasy and art-life becomes blurred as the investigation gets deeper and deeper into this #supernatural mystery.
4. I Saw The Devil
Although #Oldboy is still regarded as the best revenge thriller of the century, #ISawTheDevil owns it. This insanely relentless thriller directed by Jee-woon Kim asks an interesting question: You have just seen the #Devil, but can you tell which character he was?
Watching I Saw the Devil is both beautiful and shocking, like being stabbed by a super model (#NeonDemon, I'm looking at you), so you might avoid picking that one for a first date or family movie night.
3. The Guard Post
The single most underappreciated South Korean horror flick. Heavily inspired by #TheThing, it shows a group of soldiers trapped inside an isolated military base where something evil has spread. The feeling of paranoia is absolutely nerve wrecking. Although it never gets fully sci-fi like The Thing, the atmosphere and the all-male cast makes for the most "Carpenter-esque" South Korean film out there.
Chan-Wook Park must be some sort of Midas, since everything he touches turns to gold. Just look at what he has done with #vampires when the only people caring about them were 13-year-old teens. Wonderfully poetic, #Thirst is so chilling that your blood will probably freeze in your veins. A perfect film for cold and dark nights.
1. The Wailing
Train to Busan might have been the most popular South Korean movie of the year, but #TheWailing remains the best. It's safe to say that it's among the best horror films of the century, period.
I strongly recommend you go into it completely in the dark, since it benefits a lot from not knowing what the hell is going on. To be honest, you'll probably walk out of it still not knowing what the hell was going on. It's a layered film that plays with tropes just enough just to trick you into believing you're understanding some of the events. However, the complexity of ideas on display is far deeper than it seems.
Check out the trailer for Train to Busan below:
Which one is your favorite K horror film of the 21st century?