Top 10 Best Korean Thriller Movies of All Time

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Korean films are some of the most realistic and inventive in the industry today. Korea's film industry is the most well-known in the world for all types of ... read more...

  1. Park Chan-wook directed and co-wrote Oldboy, a 2003 South Korean neo-noir action thriller film. The film is based on the Japanese manga of the same name and tells the story of Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), who has been imprisoned in a cell that looks like a hotel room for 15 years without knowing who his captor is or what his captor's motivations are. When Dae-su is ultimately let free, he discovers that he is still caught up in a web of deception and brutality. When he falls in love with Mi-do, a beautiful young sushi chef, his own desire for revenge gets entwined with romance (Kang Hye-jung).


    At the 2004 Cannes Picture Festival, the film received the Grand Prix and strong acclaim from the jury's president, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Oldboy has garnered positive reviews from reviewers in the United States, with Roger Ebert remarking that the film is "powerful not because of what it shows, but because of the depths of the human heart that it exposes naked." It was highly praised for its action moments, particularly the single-shot combat. It has been hailed as one of the finest neo-noir films of all time, and various publications have named it among the top films of the 2000s. The film has been recreated twice, once in Hindi in 2006 and again in English in 2013.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Park Chan-wook
    Screenplay by: Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Jun-hyung, Park Chan-wook
    Based on: Old Boy by Garon Tsuchiya Nobuaki Minegishi

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364569

    Oldboy (2003)
    Oldboy (2003)
    Oldboy (2003)

  2. Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, and Chun Woo-hee feature in The Wailing, a 2016 South Korean horror film directed by Na Hong-jin and starring Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, and Chun Woo-hee. In order to save his daughter, a police officer investigates a series of inexplicable homicides and illnesses in the secluded Korean town of Gokseong. The picture was a critical and economic triumph.


    The strange presence of a mystery Japanese guy in a small Korean town, tightly knit by superstition and religious beliefs, counteracts a string of catastrophic crimes of intense devotion that perplex local law enforcement officials. The investigating detective, Jong-goo, removes himself from the tragedy but is forced to look further when his daughter exhibits symptoms of the same sickness that preceded the chaos. 'The Wailing' is masterful storytelling at its finest, reinforcing the claim about Korean films being flawlessly conveyed. Na Hong-jin transports viewers into a deep and convoluted vortex of suspense and tense drama that leaves you perplexed and heartbroken. This movie is fantastic.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Na Hong-jin
    Written by: Na Hong-jin
    Produced by: Suh Dong-hyun, Kim Ho-sung

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5215952

    The Wailing (2016)
    The Wailing (2016)
    The Wailing (2016)
  3. Park Chan-wook directed The Handmaiden, a 2016 South Korean sexual psychological thriller film starring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, and Cho Jin-woong. It is based on Welsh writer Sarah Waters' 2002 novel Fingersmith, with the setting moved from Victorian-era Britain to Korea under Japanese colonial control.


    Count Fujiwara, a con artist, enlists the help of Sook-hee, a crafty apprentice, to defraud a Japanese princess of her fortune by having her fall in love with him. But, as Lady Hideko's handmaiden, Sook-hee falls in love with her purity and pure beauty, as well as her own sensuality. She concocts a scheme with Hideko to fool Fujiwara, who had previously concocted a scheme with Hideko to deceive Sook. 'The Handmaiden' is a brilliant narrative that is masterfully unraveled in well-structured chapters. Its execution and speed are both spot-on, compelling you to get emotionally involved and experience the actual magic of movies.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Park Chan-wook
    Written by: Park Chan-woo, Jeong Seo-kyeong
    Based on: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4016934

    The Handmaiden (2016)
    The Handmaiden (2016)
    The Handmaiden (2016)
  4. Bong Joon-ho co-wrote and directed Memories of Murder, a 2003 South Korean criminal thriller film. It is partially based on the actual story of Korea's first proven serial killings, which occurred in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, between 1986 and 1991. Detective Park and Detective Seo, played by Song Kang-ho and Kim Sang-kyung, are two of the investigators attempting to investigate the crimes.


    On rainy days, Korea's first serial murderer targets ladies and demands that 'Sad Letters' be played on the radio. As a result of the seriousness of the issue, the local agencies enlist the help of a big-city detective, who egoistically eliminates the local detectives. The killings are still unsolved, despite the fact that the statute of limitations has passed. One of the most crucial aspects of a suspense film is pacing, and 'Memories of Murder' does it right. Its characters, particularly the investigator from Seoul, and the abrupt tonal shifts throughout the story reflect the film's startling feeling of emotional anguish. A film of the greatest caliber that ought to be seen by as many people as possible.

    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
    Written by: Bong Joon-ho, Shim Sung-bo
    Based on: Come to See Me (play) by Kim Kwang-rim
    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0353969

    Memories of Murder (2003)
    Memories of Murder (2003)
    Memories of Murder (2003)
  5. Park Chan-wook directed and co-wrote Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, a 2002 South Korean thriller film. Shin Ha-kyun plays Ryu, a young deaf-mute factory worker who tries to get money for his sister's kidney transplant by kidnapping the daughter of a wealthy man, and the path of retribution that ensues when the scheme goes astray. Song Kang-ho, Bae Doona, Han Bo-bae, and Im Ji-eun are among the film's cast members, in addition to Ha-kyun.


    Ryu is a deaf and mute manufacturing worker who is dismissed for acting inappropriately. Ryu's problems are exacerbated when his sister becomes unwell and is on her deathbed, as he is the family's sole earner. Fearing for her life, Ryu and his girlfriend kidnap a business tycoon's daughter, who does not reply in kind. The Vengeance Trilogy is widely regarded as Wook's masterwork and one of the deepest and genuine portrayals of the human psyche. Wook weaves an enthralling and magnificent narrative of vengeance and human appetite for violence in his trademark highly stylized way.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Park Chan-wook
    Written by: Park Chan-wook
    Produced by: Im Jin-gyu

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310775

    Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2005)
    Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2005)
    Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2005)
  6. Kim Yoon-seok and Ha Jung-woo feature in The Chaser, a 2008 South Korean action thriller film. Na Hong-jin made his directing debut with this film. Certain sequences were shot on-site at Mangwon-dong in Seoul's Mapo District, inspired by real-life Korean serial murderer Yoo Young-chul.


    Joong-ho is a disgraced cop who has become a pimp. He sends Mi-jin, his most dependable asset when one of his females goes missing. She doesn't come back and instead wakes up in a restroom, bound. Yeong-min, the man who put her there, is a serial murderer who has already killed six people. When Joong-ho collides with Yeong by accident, Mi is given a lifeline, and a pursuit follows, with the destiny of the two people in the balance. 'The Chaser' is unquestionably a strong directorial debut. The plot is well-written and the characters are well-developed. 'The Chaser,' which is immersive, engaging, and richly agonizing, lives up to its exhilarating title and presents a singular picture that appeals.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Na Hong-jin
    Written by: Na Hong-jin, Shinho Lee, Hong Won-chan
    Produced by: Kim Su-jin, Yun In-beom

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1190539

    The Chaser (2008)
    The Chaser (2008)
    The Chaser (2008)
  7. Kim Jee-woon wrote and directed A Tale of Two Sisters, a psychological horror-drama film released in South Korea in 2003. The film is based on the folktale Janghwa Hongryeon jeon, which has been converted to cinema multiple times throughout the Joseon Dynasty. The tale revolves around a newly released mental hospital patient who goes home with her sister, only to be confronted by horrific occurrences involving her stepmother and the spirits who haunt their home, all of which are linked to a terrible past in the family's history.


    Many consider 'A Tale of Two Sisters' to be one of the most polarizing psychological thrillers to come out of Korea. The story revolves around two sisters, one of whom is released from a mental facility on the same day as her stepmother's brother and his wife arrive at their remote estate. The sisters' birth mother's spirit stalks them as they begin their acclimatization back in the house. Director Kim Jee-Woon manages to carve out enough screen time for the characters to vent their sorrow in a tight tale, resulting in a picture with enough terrifying moments to keep you up at night.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Kim Jee-woon
    Written by: Kim Jee-woon
    Produced by: Oh Jeong-wan, Oh Ki-min
    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365376
    A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
    A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
    A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
  8. I Saw the Devil is a 2010 South Korean action thriller film written by Park Hoon-jung and directed by Kim Jee-woon. The film stars Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik and tells the story of NIS agent Kim Soo-hyun (Lee), who seeks vengeance after his fiancée is brutally killed by psychotic serial murderer Jang Kyung-chul (Choi). I Saw the Devil had a limited theatrical distribution in the United States after its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.


    'I Saw The Devil' begins as a lovely dream and concludes as a ghastly nightmare. The opening sequence is unquestionably one of the most memorable and lavish of the twenty-first century. In the snow, Jo-Yeon waits for a tow truck in her deflated automobile. A mysterious stranger approaches and offers assistance. He arrives out of nowhere and fatally wounds her before dragging her back to his place and chopping her up. Jo-father, Yeon's the district police head, gives her spouse, Soo-Hyeon, information on previous criminals. He finds and tortures Kyung-Chul, the guy who murdered his wife until his plan goes astray.

    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Kim Jee-woon
    Written by: Park Hoon-jung
    Produced by: Kim Hyun-woo
    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1588170

    I Saw The Devil (2010)
    I Saw The Devil (2010)
    I Saw The Devil (2010)
  9. The Man from Nowhere is a 2010 South Korean action thriller film directed by Lee Jeong-beom and starring Won Bin. With 6.2 million admissions, it was South Korea's highest-grossing picture of 2010. On October 1, 2010, the film was released in the United States and Canada. When the one person who seems to understand him is abducted, the film chronicles the narrative of a strange and shadowy guy (Won Bin) who goes on a deadly rampage. It's also Won Bin's final on-screen appearance till 2020.


    Chae-suk is a quiet man who owns and operates a pawn store. Suk makes a friend in a tiny child who lives next door and whose mother is an addict. The drug boss kidnaps the delinquent mother and her daughter after she steals narcotics from him. Suk, a distinguished ex-black operation, is approached by the guys who have arrived to fetch the bag, and instead begins looking for his lone buddy. 'The Man From Nowhere' does a very fantastic job of using tension to advance the plot. The gripping storyline forces the audience to devote their complete attention to the picture, which is rewarded with an intriguing and eerie tale of sacrifice and love.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Lee Jeong-beom
    Written by: Lee Jeong-beom
    Produced by: Lee Tae-heon

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527788

    The Man from Nowhere (2010)
    The Man from Nowhere (2010)
    The Man from Nowhere (2010)
  10. Confession of Murder is a 2012 South Korean action thriller film starring Jung Jae-young and Park Si-hoo and directed by Jung Byung-gil. It's about a cop who's troubled by the fact that he failed to apprehend a serial murderer 15 years ago, and who returns to the case after a novelist publishes I Am the Murderer, claiming responsibility for the killings.


    When the protagonist of a serial murder case 15 years ago reappears with his autobiographical sketch, 'I Am the Murderer,' therefore offering a written confession enough to catch or kill him, a repentant police officer has an opportunity to redeem himself. With subtle moments of passion and seductive elements of spine-chilling drama, Jung Byung-Gil manages to saturate his narrative. This action-thriller is elevated to a must-watch sanctuary because of the actors and clever directing.


    Detailed information:

    Directed by: Jung Byung-gil
    Written by: Jung Byung-gil
    Produced by: Lee Yong-hee, Jang Won-seok

    Link to watch: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2468774

    Confession of a Murder (2012)
    Confession of a Murder (2012)
    Confession of a Murder (2012)



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