With Korean dramas and pop music being the talk of the town these days, most of us are aware of the immense popularity of South Korea and all things K. Korean movies too, have been equally favoured. While romantic Korean movies and shows are known for their swoon-worthy portrayals of love, one can’t ignore the gripping storylines and thrilling sequences of South Korean horror movies that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Besides the horror aspect in Korean movies from this genre, they also include underlying themes of psychological thrillers, suspense and survival that make them more interesting. The Call or Bedevilled are some examples that have all elements and are a complete package for the lovers of the genre.

So, upgrade your watchlist with some of these amazing movies from the Korean horror genre that are incredibly entertaining and unforgettable.

Here are some of the best Korean horror movies that may keep you up all night

Whispering Corridors (1988)

WHISPERING CORRIDORS_Korean Horror Movies
Image: Courtesy Whispering Corridors/IMDb

Cast: Choi Kang-hee as Yoon Jae-yi, Kim Gyu-ri as Lim Ji-oh and Kim Roe-ha as the math teacher.

This horror flick was released over two decades ago when freedom of expression started gaining importance in Korea. This is not just one of the classic Korean horror movies but also one that highlights social issues.

When the staff and students of an all-girls school, allegedly possessed by a ghost, start disappearing after a teacher’s suicide, it creates panic among all.

The franchise is packed with powerful Korean horror movies, including Mememto Mori (1999), Wishing Stairs (2003), Voice (2005), Blood Pledge (2009) and the most recent one The Humming (2021).

Whispering Corridors has been directed by Park Ki-hyeong.

Watch the film here.

A Tale of Two sisters (2003)

Korean Horror Movies_A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
Image: Courtesy A Tale of Two Sisters/IMDb

Cast: Moon Geun-young as Bae Soo-yeon, Lim Soo-jung as Bae Soo-mi and Yum Jung-ah as Heo Eun-joo.

Another classic horror film by Kim Jee-woon, this movie has all the elements of a psychological thriller, including deaths in the family and a dark past.

Based on folklore from the Joseon Dynasty, the story revolves around two sisters, who return to their home from a mental hospital, only to face disturbances created by their brutal stepmother. Adding to their woes are ghosts who haunt them for revenge and shocking truths related to their family that are unveiled.

One of the best Korean horror films that scored high at the box office, A Tale of Two Sisters was remade in Hollywood as Uninvited (2009), starring Emily Browning and Elizabeth Banks.

Watch the film here.

The Red Shoes (2005)

The Red Shoes_Korean Horror Movies
Image: Courtesy The Red Shoes/IMDb

Cast: Kim Hye-su as Sun-jae, Kim Seong-su as In-cheol and Park Yeon-ah as Tae-su.

A distressed woman comes across a pair of red heels while crossing the subway with her daughter and brings them home. She soon realises that wherever the gorgeous pair goes, it leads to greed, envy and death coupled with nightmares about ghosts and blood.

The movie has been directed by Kim Yong-gyun.

Watch the film here.

The Evil Twin (2007)

Korean Horror Movies_THE EVIL TWIN
Image: Courtesy The Evil Twin/IMDb

Cast: Park Shin-hye as So-yeon, Hee Jae as Hyun-sik and Yang Geum-seok as So-yeon’s mother

This horror movie follows twin sisters who fall into the water but sadly only one, So-yeon, is rescued, while the other drowns. As the young woman comes to terms with reality after a 10-year coma, she discovers a gruesome secret about her family.

With Park playing the character of So-yeon and the impeccable direction by Kim Ji-hwan makes this film one of the scariest flicks on this list.

Watch the film here.

Death Bell (2008)

Death Bell_Korean Horror Movies
Image: Courtesy Death Bell/IMDb

Cast: Kim Bum as Kang Hyun, Hahm Eun-jung as Kim Ji-won and Kong Jeong-hwan as Lee Chi-young

Directed by Yoon Hong Seung, this flick follows a murderer with a sadistic mentality, who brutally kills around 20 students of a class to achieve academic goals.

Some of the scenes are quite disturbing, as they depict the killing of students for not being able to complete exercises.

Watch the film here.

Thirst (2009)

Korean Horror Movies_Thirst
Image: Courtesy Thirst/IMDb

Cast: Song Kang-ho as Sang-hyun, Kim Ok-bin as Tae-ju and Kim Hae-sook as Mrs. Ra

One of the most seductive horror films, Thirst is a different take on the vampire film genre, from the director of Oldboy, Chan-wook Park.

This film has all the dramatic elements, including horror, fantasy and romance. It revolves around a priest who is resurrected as a vampire and volunteers at a hospital. Things turn gory when he starts consuming the blood of his patients.

Watch the film here.

Bedevilled (2010)

Korean Horror Movies_Bedevilled
Image: Courtesy Bedevilled/IMDb

Cast: Seo Yeong-hie as Kim Bok-nam, Ji Seong-won as Hae-won and Hwang Min-ho as Dodger.

Not just one of the best Korean horror films, Bedevilled also brings the popular idiom ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ to life.

Directed by Jang Cheol-soo, this horror-suspense flick is about a woman who is subjected to all forms of abuse — mental, physical and sexual on an isolated island. The movie powerfully depicts her vengeance against her torturers.

Watch the film here.

Train to Busan (2016)

Korean Horror Movies_Train to Busan
Image: Courtesy Train to Busan/IMDb

Cast: Gong Yoo as Seok-woo, Jung Yu-mi as Seong-kyeong and Ma Dong-seok as Sang-hwa

Slightly different from regular zombie movies, this film is about a father (Gong, best known for the K-drama Goblin, 2016) who goes to lengths to save his daughter from a zombie outbreak.

They board a train going from Seoul to Busan which is also boarded by a woman, who is infected by a leaked virus that turns humans to zombies.

Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, Train to Busan is one of the highest-grossing Korean movies. It also has an animated prequel named Seoul Station (2016) by the same director, which has been voiced by Ryu Seung-ryong and Shim Eun-kyung.

Watch the film here.

The Wailing (2016)

Korean Horror Movies_The Wailing
Image: Courtesy The Wailing/IMDb

Cast: Kwak Do-won as Jong Goo, Hwang Jung-min as Il-gwang and Jun Kunimura as the Japanese Man.

This film reportedly did extremely well at the box office with a collection of over USD 50 million and has all the ingredients of a perfect horror film with hints of Korean culture and some comic elements as well.

Directed by Na Hong-jin, the story revolves around a village that gets affected by a bizarre disease after the arrival of an unidentified man. Following this, a policeman gets involved who tries to find out how the outbreak began.

Watch the film here.

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

Korean Horror Movies/Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
Image: Courtesy Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum/IMDb

Cast: Wi Haa-joon as Ha-joon, Park Sung-hoon as Sung-hoon and Lee Seung-wook as Seung-wook.

This horror film is special for lovers of Paranormal Activity (2007- ) and follows a team of makers of a horror show who set out to an infamous asylum known for paranormal activities. The team expects to make money if they stream the happenings live, owing to the previous failed attempts by several people who fortunately come out unhurt. However, reality holds something else for them.

The footage-style screenplay gets a different touch in this film directed by Jung Bum-Shik.

Watch the film here.

The Witch Part 1: The Subversion (2018)

Korean Horror Movies_The Witch Part 1: The Subversion
Image: Courtesy The Witch Part 1: The Subversion/IMDb

Cast: Kim Da-mi as Koo Ja-yoon, Kim Byeong-Ok as police officer Do and Choi Woo-sik as teacher Koo.

Directed by Park Hoon-jung, this horror film tells the story of a high-school girl Ja-yoon, who’s well brought up by doting parents and has a loyal best friend. However, things are not as they seem.

Ja-yoon has amnesia, and her life takes a dark turn when she tries to find out what exactly happened to her.

Watch the film here.

The Wrath (2018)

Korean Horror Movies_The Wrath
Image: Courtesy The Wrath/IMDb

Cast: Choi Hong-il, Seo Yeong-hie and Lee Kyu-sung as Buddhist monk

Directed by Yoo Young-sun, this supernatural thriller dates back to the 14th century. Revolving around a high-ranking official in the Joseon kingdom, it tells the story of a pregnant woman who comes to know about a wicked soul that haunts the house. The woman gets pregnant with one of the three sons of the officer who dies under mysterious circumstances.

Watch the film here.

The Call (2020)

Korean Horror Movies_The Call
Image: Courtesy The Call/IMDb

Cast: Park Shin-hye as Seo-yeon (who also stars in The Evil Twin), Jeon Jong-seo as Young-sook and Kim Sung-ryoung as Seo-yeon’s mother.

This movie is inspired by the British and Puerto Rican supernatural thriller The Caller (2011).

The Korean film follows a woman who visits her old home and gets a call from another woman, who claims to be tormented. Following the notion of a parallel universe, it is later revealed that it is the same house from where the mysterious woman was calling but 20 years before the current scenario.

This suspense-horror is directed by Chung-Hyun Lee.

Watch the film here.

The Closet (2020)

Korean Horror Movies_The Closet
Image: Courtesy The Closet/IMDb

Cast: Ha Jung-woo as Sang Won, Yool Heo as Yi Na and Kim Nam-gil Keong Hoon

Directed by Kim Kwang-bin, the horror flick is based on a father-daughter relationship and follows an architect who is distressed after his wife’s death and daughter’s disappearance. Things take a spooky turn when he is told to search for her in the closet by an unidentified man.

Watch the film here.

#Alive (2020)

Korean Horror Movies_#Alive
Image: Courtesy #Alive/IMDb

Cast includes: Yoo Ah-in as Oh Joon-woo, Park Shin-hye as Kim Yoo-bin and Jeon Bae-soo as Mask man

Another film based on zombie-apocalypse and survival, #Alive is a modern take on the theme and stars the horror queen Park with one of the leads (Yoo) from the Korean series Hellbound (2021). #Alive is written and directed by Il Cho.

When a zombie attack hits Seoul, a gamer (Yoo) is left only with some ramen and water, after being separated from his family. What he has besides that is his will to survive.

Watch the film here.

(Main and Featured image: The Call/ Netflix)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What is the best horror movie in Korea?

Answer: The Wailing (2016) is perhaps the best horror movie in Korea. Centred on a village afflicted by a bizarre disease upon the arrival of an unidentified man, it has a 99% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Question: What are your top 10 favourite Korean movies of all time?

Answer: Our top 10 picks are: The Wailing (2016), The Call (2020), Train To Busan (2016), A Tale of Two sisters (2003), Whispering Corridors (1988), #Alive (2020), The Closet (2020), Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018), Death Bell (2008) and Thirst (2009).

Question: What are the best horror movies of all time?

Answer: Outside of Korean films, some of the best horror movies of all time include The Exorcist (1973), Scream (1996), Silence of the Lambs (1991) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Question: What are some of the best horror movies in 2022?

Answer: Some of the best horror movies in 2022 are The Black Phone, The Invitation, Incantation, Umma, Smile, Nope and Fresh.

written by.

Pyusha Chatterjee

A journalist, Pyusha has previously worked with media organisations including The New Indian Express and Hindustan Times. A solo traveller by choice, she loves exploring life more than anything else, after food of course. When she isn't gardening, writing, reading, cooking or singing out loud, you can spot her watching films and series, debating with friends or organising things unnecessarily.

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