The various Asian movie industries play a big role in Asian cultures and lifestyles, with horror and fantasy being two of the biggest genres favored in that region of the world.
And South Koreans in particular love their horror movies, having perfected their ability over the years to bring to life all kinds of creepy characters, intense special effects, and dreadful atmospheres.
While many Korean horror movies center on stories of hate and revenge, you’ll also find plots that revolve around heinous crimes, witchcraft, demon possessions, and more.
Think you’ve seen it all? Here are some of the best Korean horror movies you might have overlooked. Add them to your watchlist and get ready to be scared!
6. Death Bell
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If you love mystery, Death Bell will give you chills. It’s a perplexing story about guilt, grief, death, and revenge.
Death Bell starts with a group of elite high school students who are taken down one by one by a mysterious figure. Combined with the disappearance of the top student, this mystery figure leaves questions for the students and teachers to answer.
The movie feels a lot like the original Saw—where the culprit leaves puzzles to be solved by the victims—with a Korean twist.
Witchcraft is a frequent topic of interest in Korean horror movies, and Bunshinsaba is a prime example of the genre.
Bunshinsaba involves a group of high school girls are bullied by their classmates. To exact revenge, they use a Ouija board to place curses on their bullies—now their class is haunted by the spirit of the dead that they summoned with the ritual.
The movie touches on themes of discrimination, bullying, arrogance that leads to one’s downfall, and how far people will go to get revenge. As the story progresses, feelings of guilt grow stronger than revenge—but it’s too late to turn back.
4. The Mimic
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The Mimic is a horror-thriller story written and directed by Hu Jung, based on a popular South Korean legend.
The story revolves around a family that lives in the woods. One day, the mother takes in a lost child whose voice sounds exactly like her own daughter’s, while the father remains wary and warns her not to. As you’d expect, the lost child is not what they seem.
The Mimic is based on the myth of the Jangsan Tiger, which lures its victims by mimicking human voices—especially those of women and children—into its den to be devoured.
3. The Call
The Call is one Korean horror movie where past meets future, featuring an unexpected connection of two people from different timelines through an old phone.
At first, the relationship is mutual. As the relationship grows deeper, the mutuality is eventually broken when it’s apparent that only one side benefits. The one being taken advantage of begins to plot ways to harm the other—physically, emotionally, and mentally.
While The Call isn’t horror in the sense of ghosts, paranormal activities, and creepy atmospheres, the story is indeed horrifying. How does one defeat the past when it continues to linger in the present? It’s enough to send chills down your spine.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is a found-footage horror movie involving a group of content creators who visit a haunted asylum in South Korea to boost their views. It’s based on a real-life psychiatric hospital that’s famous for ghost sightings and paranormal activities.
The story begins with the crew preparing for their expedition. As they arrive and begin shooting, delving deeper into the wards, unexplained occurrences and appearances happen before the crew’s eyes.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is a strong example of found-footage movies done well, making viewers feel like they’re right there with the crew. The atmosphere and characters are totally creepy, amplifying the story that’ll make you want to watch with eyes half-closed.
Demonic possession is a popular angle for horror movies, and Metamorphosis does it extremely well. With a concept that feels familiar if you’ve seen The Conjuring, Metamorphosis involves a family that’s haunted and disturbed by an evil spirit.
The story involves a priest who fails to exorcise a demon and ends up being cursed along with his family. The atmosphere and special effects look like the real thing, including one dead cat and a dead goat that’s cut open and mutilated.
Yes, Metamorphosis contains animal butchering on top of occult rituals and spiritual possession. It may be too much for someone who isn’t good with gruesome violence and inhuman acts.