Korean horror movies


Cover ImageKorean horror movies
Image adapted from (left to right): IMDb, IMDb, and IMDb

When it comes to pop culture, South Korea is best known for two things – K-Pop and K-dramas. But besides catchy tunes from the likes of BTS and Twice, as well as hit dramas such as Crash Landing on You, Itaewon Class, and Kingdom, Korea also has another thing to offer: Korean horror movies.

Like Japan, South Korea has mastered the art of making horror films that keep you coming back for more. Even better – many of these films star A-list actors such as Park Seo-joon, Park Min-young, and Park So-dam. We’ve curated a list of 20 Korean horror movies that will send chills down your spine, so turn off the lights, get comfy and put one of these films on. And if you feel like someone’s watching you in the middle of the night, it’s probably nothing…


1. The Closet (2020)


The Closet
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Ha Jung-woo as Sang-woon
  • Kim Nam-gil as Kyung-hoon
  • Heo Yool as Yi-na

Released back in February 2020, The Closet surprised viewers by being more than just a horror film, weaving in a heartwarming father-daughter relationship amidst the scares.

After the passing of his wife, Sang-woon decides to move into a new home with his daughter, Yi-na, to rebuild their relationship. But his plan to do so is interrupted by Yi-na’s newfound friend a spirit who lures her into a closet, resulting in her disappearance. 

With news of Yi-na’s disappearance spreading across different media outlets, a mysterious man by the name of Kyung-hoon visits Sang-woon to let him know that 32 other children have disappeared in the house and he has been working on the missing cases for close to a decade. 

With no one else to turn to for help, Sang-woon agrees to work together with Kyung-hoon to find his daughter. 

Watch the trailer here.


2. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)


Gonjiam Haunted Asymlum
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Park Ji-hyun as Ji-hyun
  • Moon Ye-won as Charlotte 
  • Lee Seung-wook as Seung-wook
  • Park Sung-hoon as Sung-hoon
  • Wi Ha-joon as Ha-joon
  • Oh Ah-yeon as Ah-yeon
  • Yoo Je-yoon as Je-yoon

A horror film based on an actual abandoned hospital is as real as it can get. 

When a group of six individuals set out to livestream their experience in Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital which really exists in Gwangju and has been mentioned in CNN’s list of the 10 freakiest places around the world you can only expect the worst for them. 

And when the streaming goes live, strange occurrences start to happen and they soon find themselves too frightened to even move an inch.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Viu and Amazon Prime


3. The Mimic (2017)


The Mimic
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Yum Jung-ah as Hee-yeon
  • Park Hyuk-kwon as Min-ho 
  • Shin Rin-ah as Girl
  • Heo Jin as Soon Ja

When Hee-yeon’s son goes missing without a trace, she decides to move into a house in the countryside with her family to cope with the loss. There, she meets a girl who has lost her way in the woods. With a voice sounding eerily similar to her son’s, Hee-yeon can’t help but empathise with the little girl and eventually takes her in. 

There’s an urban legend in Korea that tells of a creature that’s freakishly good at mimicking voices. And when unusual things start happening around the family, they question if the little girl is even human to begin with.

Read more about this urban legend here.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime and Viki  


4. The Divine Fury (2019)


The Divine Fury
Image credit: Asianwiki

Main cast:

  • Park Seo-joon as Yong-hoo
  • Ahn Sung-ki as Father Ahn
  • Woo Do-hwan as Ji-shin

Well, even if horror isn’t something up your alley, it’s hard to give this one a miss when the main cast consists of Park Seo-joon from Itaewon Class and Woo Do-hwan, that good-looking captain from The King: Eternal Monarch

Park Seo-joon plays Yong-hoo, a successful MMA fighter who doesn’t believe in a higher power after having lost his father in an unfortunate accident when he was younger. But when a wound appears on his palm, Yong-hoo turns to an exorcist, for help, only to find himself embroiled in a fight against evil forces – which is something he didn’t sign up for.

Watch the trailer here.

 Available on: Viki, Viu, and Amazon Prime 


5. The Silenced (2015)


The Silenced
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Park Bo-young as Joo-ran
  • Uhm Ji-won as Headmistress
  • Park So-dam as Yeon-duk

The Silenced is set during the Japanese Occupation of Korea. 

Park Bo-young plays high school student Joo-ran. She has recently been transferred to a female boarding school in Keijo present day Seoul to nurse her frail body back to health

Everything seems fine until she starts to notice the disappearances of her classmates with each passing day. She’s even more certain that something is amiss when she feels weird bodily changes, such as the inability to control her emotions and increased physical strength. 

She and her best friend Yeon-duk try to escape after discovering that the girls in the school – including themselves – are actually test subjects for a newly invented drug by the Japanese. But finding a way out isn’t simple as they stumble upon a Japanese military base at the edge of their school compound. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime


6. Thirst (2009)


Thirst
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Song Kang-ho as Sang-hyun
  • Kim Ok-bin as Tae-ju
  • Shin Ha-kyun as Kang-woo
  • Kim Hae-sook as Mrs. Ra
  • Park In-hwan Priest Roh

International fans may know Song Kang-ho for his role in the movie Parasite, but he’s actually one of the most outstanding actors in Korea, having won awards for films such as The Snowpiercer (2013), Memories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), and The Taxi Driver (2017). Thirst also saw this actor snagging the Best Actor award in four different award ceremonies. 

In this film, Kang-ho plays a selfless Catholic priest who has been serving people faithfully for years. He decides to volunteer for a project that aims at creating a vaccine to eradicate a deadly virus, but ends up contracting it himself. However, he miraculously regains his health after undergoing a blood transfusion. 

Words spread fast across town about Sang-hyun’s speedy recovery, but little known to them, a vampire’s blood now flows in him and his desire for humans’ blood and flesh has never been greater. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime 


7. Don’t Click (2012)


Don't Click
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Park Bo-young as Se-hee
  • Joo Won as Joon-hyuk
  • Kang Byul as Jung-mi

Jung-mi regularly uploads videos online to earn some extra cash for her and her sister, Se-hee. When she comes across a folder labelled as “forbidden video”, she immediately contacts Se-hee’s boyfriend, Joon-hyuk, to help crack open the encrypted file. 

But after watching the video together, Jung-mi and Se-hee’s lives are now a living nightmare, constantly haunted by a presence they can’t even track down. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime and Asiancrush


8. The Wicked (2014)


The Wicked
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Park Joo-hee as Se-young
  • Na Soo-yoon as Lee Sun
  • Lee Mi-soo as Se-min
  • Shin Ye-jin as Eun-jung
  • Han Jae-yi as Hwa-young
  • Lee Ik-joon as Min-ho 

While a blossoming office romance is common in many K-dramas, it often overshadows the office politics that are playing out in the background. But in The Wicked, that takes a centrestage as backstabbing and sabotaging are brought to a whole new level, surpassing petty politics.

A new employee by the name of Se-young is constantly picked on by her superior, Lee Sun, due to her withdrawn and introverted personality. But as the saying goes, what goes around comes around Se-young is ready to get her revenge on Lee Sun through wicked ways. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Asiancrush and Amazon Prime


9. Hide and Seek (2013)


Hide And Seek
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Son Hyun-joo as Sung-soo
  • Jeon Mi-sun as Min-ji
  • Moon Jung-hee as Joo-hee
  • Jung Joon-won as Ho-se
  • Kim Soo-ahn as Soo-ah
  • Kim Ji-young as Pyeong-hwa 

When a simple game of hide-and-seek goes terribly wrong, you only have yourself to blame for joining in the fun – but that’s if you voluntarily sign up for it though. 

Sung-soo has a successful business and lives a comfortable life in a luxury apartment. However, he has always wondered how his brother is doing and decides to pay him a visit at the rundown apartment he lives in. 

Over there, Sung-soo runs into a neighbour, Joo-hee. She’s terrified of Sung-soo’s brother and begs him to talk his brother out of spying on her and her daughter. Baffled by this, Sung-soo decides to scan through the building, only to realise that every unit is marked with different signs that indicate the number and gender of the people residing in them. 

These signs eventually find their way right outside of his own apartment and he’s roped into a twisted game of hide-and-seek, Sung-soo has trouble getting a hold of the suspect, who’s most certainly his brother. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Viu, Asiancrush, and Amazon Prime


10. Wishing Stairs (2003)


Wishing Stairs
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Song Ji-hyo as Yun Jin-sung 
  • Park Han-byul as Kim So-hee
  • Jo An as Uhm Hye-joo
  • Park Ji-yeon as Han Yun-jin 

Having your desires granted without having to lift a finger sounds tempting, doesn’t it? Wishing Stairs revolves around a mysterious 29th step on a flight of stairs that grants you a wish if you ever come across it. 

While Jin-sung and So-hee are good friends in an all-girls school, they are also competitors for a spot at a renowned ballet school in Russia. 

After learning about the legend of the mysterious step from Hye-joo, Jin-sung, who’s desperate for the spot, decides to see for herself if her wish will really come true. Unbeknownst to her, comes with a hefty price the life of So-hee. 

Overwhelmed with grief, Hye-joo sets out to find this very step to wish for So-hee’s return. And like the wish before hers, it comes with a consequence – the return of a vengeful spirit.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Asiancrush and Amazon Prime


11. Cinderella (2006)


Cinderella
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Do Ji-won as Yoon-hee
  • Shin Se-kyung as Hyun-soo
  • Ahn Gyu-ryun as Sung-eon
  • Yoo Da-in as Su-kyeong
  • Jeon So-min as Hye-won

It’s no secret that beauty comes with a price. But no one would’ve expected to get more than what they’ve bargained for after having a procedure done by one of the most famous and successful plastic surgeons in the country, Yoon-hee. 

Hyun-soo, the daughter of Yoon-hee, and most of her friends have had their faces done by her mother. But things turn ugly when, one by one, they start to cut up their faces. 

She’s horrified by these occurrences and there’s one thing she’s certain about is all the cases are linked to her mother. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Asiancrush and Amazon Prime


12. Death Bell (2008)


Death Bell
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Lee Beom-soo as Hwang Chang-ok
  • Kim Bum as Kang Hyun 
  • Nam Gyu-ri as Yi-na 
  • Yoon Jung-hee as Choi So-young 
  • Lee Chae-won as Yum Ji-hyang 
  • Moon Woong-ki as Kim Hyung-jin 

The brightest students are locked up in a school compound with their teachers, Hwang Chang-ok and Choi So-young. There, they have to answer a question correctly within a time limit or a student trapped in a water tank will drown and die. 

They fail their first test, resulting in her death. While scrambling to find a way out of the school, despite being told otherwise, they witness the unnatural deaths of their fellow classmates.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime


13. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)


A Tale Of Two Sisters
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Im Soo-jung as Bae Su-min
  • Moon Geun-young as Bae Su-yeon
  • Yum Jung-ah as Heo Eun-joo
  • Kim Kap-soo as Bae Moo-hyeon

Bae Su-min, a young teenage girl who suffers from a mental disorder, recently got discharged from a mental institution and returns home to her family. However, life back at home is no longer the same as before with the addition of a new family member, stepmother Eun-joo. 

As Su-min constantly witnesses the abuses her little sister Su-yeon endures under their stepmother, her hatred and anger toward Eun-joo escalates. The abuse eventually leads to Su-yeon’s death.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime and Asiancrush


14. I Saw the Devil (2010)


I Saw The Devil
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Lee Byung-hun as Kim Soo-hyun 
  • Choi Min-sik as Jang Kyung-chul 
  • Oh San-ha as Jang Joo-yun 
  • Jeon Gook-hwan as Detective Jang 
  • Kim Yoon-seo as Jang Se-yun
  • Chun Ho-jin as Detective Oh
  • Choi Moo-sung as Tae-joo
  • Kim In-seo as Se-jung

On a fateful night, Joo-yun’s vehicle stalls on an empty highway and Kyung-chul, a serial killer on the loose, offers her assistance. Days later, Joo-yun is found dead. 

Her fiance, Soo-hyun, then vows to hunt down Kyung-chul, even if it means turning into a person like him. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime


15. The Doll Master (2004)


The Doll Master
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Kim Yoo-mi as Hae-mi
  • Lim Eun-kyung as Min-ah 
  • Shim Hyung-tak as Tae-seong
  • Ok Ji-young as Young-ha
  • Chun Ho-jin as Choi Jin-wan
  • Kim Do-young as Im Jae-won 
  • Lee Ka-yeong as Sun-young 
  • Im Hyung-joon as Jung-ki 

Dolls and creepiness – name a more iconic duo.

The Doll Master follows five individuals from different walks of life: Hae-mi, Tae-seong, Young-ha, Jung-ki, and Sun-young. They are cordially invited to a doll museum, run by Choi Jin-wan and Im Jae-won, to have dolls specially made in the image of themselves. 

At the museum, Hae-mi keeps coming across Mi-na, a young girl dressed in red. She turns out to be the soul of the doll Hae-mi used to have by her side when she was younger. However, things start to get out of hand when those who came to the museum with Hae-mi meet their untimely ends.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime and Asiancrush


16. The Piper (2015)


The Piper
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Ryu Seung-ryong as Woo-ryong
  • Lee Sung-min as Village head
  • Chun Woo-hee as Mi-sook
  • Lee Joon as Nam-soo
  • Goh Seung-hyun as Young-nam 

Set in the period after the Korean war, The Piper follows Woo-ryung, a flautist, and his son as they venture into the forest in search of a new home. They come across a village that’s infested with rats said to gorge on human flesh. 

Woo-ryung makes a deal with the village head and promises to help him rid the village of vermin in exchange for a cow. But what seems to be a simple job isn’t as straightforward as it seems when the village head is hiding. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime


17. White: Melody of Death (2011)


White: Melody Of Death
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Ham Eun-jung as Eun-ju 
  • May Doni Kim as Shin-ji
  • Choi Ah-ra as A-rang
  • Jin Se-yeon as Je-ni
  • Hwang Woo-seul-hye as Soon-ye

“Pink Dolls” is a little-known girl group comprised of members Eun-ju, Shin-ji, Je-ni, and A-rang. After remaking an unreleased old song titled “White”, the band immediately shot to fame. Unbeknownst to them, the song is cursed, leaving all members dead but one. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime 


18. The Cat (2011)


The Cat
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Park Min-young as So-yeon
  • Kim Ye-ron as Hee-jin
  • Kim Dong-wook as Jun-seok
  • Shin Da-eun as Bo-hee

Park Min-young is well-known for her roles in hit K-dramas such as Healer and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim. But back in 2011, she actually starred in her first and only movie, The Cat

Pet groomer So-yeon takes in a cat named Bidanyi after its owner unexpectedly passes away in an elevator. Not long after, So-yeon’s life is turned upside down. She starts having recurring nightmares of a little girl, and to make matters worse, her best friend Bo-hee is found dead next to a cat she recently adopted. 

Baffled by strange occurrences that all seem to be linked to cats, So-yeon teams up with police officer Jun-seok to investigate the case.

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime


19. R Point (2004)


R-Point
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Kam Woo-sung as Lieutenant Choi Tae-in
  • Son Byong-ho as Sergeant Jin Chang-rok
  • Park Sang-won as Sergeant Cook
  • Lee Sun-kyun as Sergeant Park
  • Oh Tae-kyung as Sergeant Jang Young-soo
  • Son Jin-ho as Sergeant Oh
  • Mun Yeong-dong as Corporal Byun Moon-sub
  • Jeong Kyeong-ho as Corporal Lee Jae-pil
  • Kim Byeong-cheol as Corporal Joh Byung-hoon
  • Gi Ju-bong as Captain Park
  • Ahn Nae-sang as Captain Kang 

In 1972, during the Vietnam war, a South Korean military base suddenly receives a radio transmission from a team of 18 men who have presumably all lost their lives in Romeo Point. 

Together with his team, Lieutenant Choi Tae-in sets off into the dense jungle in an attempt to rescue those who are left stranded in R Point. But one by one, the men in Choi’s team meet with unnatural deaths. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Amazon Prime


20. Bedevilled (2010)


Bedevilled
Image credit: IMDb

Main cast:

  • Seo Young-hee as Kim Bok-nam 
  • Ji Sung-won as Hae-won
  • Park Jeong-hak as Man-jong
  • Baek Su-ryun as Dong-ho’s grandmother
  • Lee Ji-eun as Kim Yeon-hee
  • Bae Sung-woo as Cheol-jong

After experiencing unbearable stress at work in Seoul, Hae-won decides to visit her grandfather’s hometown, a secluded island in South Korea, for a much-needed breather. 

During her time there, she manages to catch up with her childhood friend Bok-nam, who seems to be having a rough time on the island where she’s constantly abused by her husband Man-jong and trampled on by other villagers. Despite knowing her plight, Hae-won refuses to help Bok-nam and her daughter Yeon-hee to escape to the city.

Bok-nam eventually musters up the courage to take flight with Yeon-hee when she learns that her daughter is being sexually abused by her father. This attempt is intercepted by Man-jong, which unfortunately resulted in Yeon-hee’s death.

Yeon-hee’s passing proves to be the final straw and Bok-nam is ready to release all that pent-up anger and hatred by inflicting pain onto the ones who did the same to her. 

Watch the trailer here.

Available on: Asiancrush and Amazon Prime  


Must-watch Korean horror movies


 K-pop, K-beauty, and K-dramas are probably the first few things that pop up when we mention Korea, and Korean horror movies might not even cross your mind. But we dare you to watch a few of these Korean horror movies that will certainly change your mind and leave you wanting for more

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