Horror have always been one of my favorite genres. Sadly most American horror is based on loud noises or jump scares. Yes, I do flinch and no it doesn’t mean the movie will keep me up at night.
European horror movies have gotten better by the years but I do feel its dying out together with the american movies. Asian horror movies have always been good in my eyes and recently they are just getting better.
I have never flinched or been attacked with 20 jump scares in a Korean movie like in american. But they creep under my skin and I have a hard time sleeping. Why is that though?
I would say it has to do with Koreans knowing how to build a good character. You get a true feeling for them, you want the best for them. And the directors make it funny. They fool you to think this might not be a horror movie at all. Why you go into watching a horror you usually put a guard up and tell yourself you will be fine and not scared. So the Korean directors want to break this guard before they scare you. You laugh at the character when they fall or do stupid things and you start caring for them. So when the horror starts it turns on you and you are left with feeling creeped out. But the director don’t just want you to feel scared, they want to make you sad as well as happy. They will under the movie give you a roller coaster of feelings and twisted endings you never saw coming.
How do you scare someone if you don’t use loud noises or jump scares though? Well its not about being scared now in a mini second. The Korean directors want to creep you out and leave you with the sense that this could happened. And they love bringing in political or news worthy topics.
Here I have my top 10 favorite Korean horror movies for Halloween. They are not in any specific order.
A Tale of two sisters
This is a wild ride and it is worth watching without a doubt. Its about a girl Sumi who been in a mental institute and is on her way home with her dad where she is welcomed by her younger sister and her evil stepmom. The movie is almost designed as a mystery movie where we get a puzzle piece here and there to all the questions we truly have.
Why was she in a mental hospital? Why do the stepmom and both the sisters have their period at the same time? Why do her father not acknowledge the little sister and the stepmom at the same time?
The ending is more sad than scary and we get an almost heartbreaking end.
This movie is less known but have been on my favorite list for as long as I can remember. Its a movie that once you see it…you can’t not think about it. One this you do, even if its a mistake, can change the life of someone drastically.
The movie starts of with a classroom filled with lively kids drinking milk. There is laughter, singing, jokes etc. Shortly after there is a confession from a teacher. She is quitting her job to everyone delight. She then starts talking about her daughter, the daughter that came from the man of her dreams. A man who was diagnosed with aids and unable to be with her or their daughter. Instead she took care of the kid herself and gave her everything.
But someone in her class murdered her and she knows who did it and she put her husbands AIDS blood in their milk. And now they will have to suffer just like she had to suffer losing her only child.
Every shoot in this movie is perfect and like a masterpiece. Everything means something and everything leads to something. The most scary thing in the world is a human after all and what selfish things we would do for unimportant things.
Set in Gyeongseong in 1938 during the Japanese Occupation, the film centers on Ju-ran, a sickly young girl who gets transferred to a sanatorium/girls’ boarding school to recover her health. Her physical condition improves thanks to her new friend Yeon-deok, and the headmistress’s special treatment program. But she soon notices that students are disappearing one by one and that her own body is undergoing abnormal changes. Determined to uncover the truth, Ju-ran starts to investigate the mysterious happenings and the school’s possible role in them.
It’s a rather typical school horror with a mystery and I have seen many movies like this before. But its still something about the headmistress that makes me uncomfortable.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
I think most of us have seen REC or maybe even paranormal activity. A movie filmed at home or going into a haunted house to find a real monster/ghost. This movie do have jump scares but i think they truly made it in a better way that most other movies.
For a found-footage film, Gonjiam actually did well compared to other movies in the same genre. I mean, the shots were more steady and less dizzying . There’s not that much jump scares, which is also why its been getting bad reviews. It doesn’t rely on gore and jump scares, it relied on the unsettling and chilling atmosphere and convincing acting. The visuals and audio were unsettling, especially that one “possession” scene involving Charlotte. Ugh, I’m going to have nightmares of that scene.
This is a movie about what price you would pay to be beautiful or rather what price you would pay so that your daughter can be beautiful.
Yoon-Hee, a divorced plastic surgeon, is satisfied with her life as she has a lovely daughter, Hyun-Soo, who perfectly obeys her mother. However, her happiness comes to end as her patients, also friends of Hyun-Soo, commit a mysterious suicide in front of her daughter. Hyun-Soo, feeling suspicious of her mother, tries to find clues in the hidden basement of their house.
Witch Board (Bunshinsaba: Ouija Board)
Lee Yoo-Jin moves with her mother from Seoul to a small Korean village. She starts school there and immediately becomes the target of bullies, with two other students. One day, Yoo-Jin and her two bullied friends, uses an Ouija Board to put a curse on their bullies.
This is a revenge movie with a horrible twist, we can’t decide who we summon or when they should leave. Or even tell them what they should do. This movie have a similar theme to it as the Japanese Grudge (ju-on) movies.
Maybe you have heard the story about the piper man who played the fluet and lured all the kids into a cave and trapped them? This Korean movie is a twist on that.
It’s about a son and his wounded father on their way to the city. The father is a piper and playes the pipe for entertainment. He and his son comes to a very secluded village that has a problem with rats. As a thank you for the food a place to sleep he decies to help them with their problem.
But the towns chief is everything but a kind person and the village has more than one secret.
This movie reminded me of the movie Confession I talked about above. Its about a teacher, Ms. Park, and her caretaker who also is an ex-student to Ms. Park. The movie starts out with a detective Ma who is investigating a mass murder where only Ms. Park and her caretaker is survivors.
The teachers caretaker, Mi-Ja, decides to have a reunion for all her ex-classmates at Ms. Parks place but not all students are happy to see their old teacher again and the mystery on who killed who and why is being unfolded. Not all teachers want whats best for us. And not all teachers are kind humans.
Jung-won is an interior designer whose wedding date is approaching fast. He is having a hard time talking to his wife about some weird supernatrual things he been experiencing while spending the night in his and his fiancee’s new home that he decorated himself, he sees ghosts at the brand new dining room table. He also meets a mysterious woman named Yun. Once she meets Jung-won, she slowly begins to reveal her innermost self. Yun tells Jung-won about her ability to see spirits, and he talks to her about his supernatural encounters that he has been unable to share with his fiancee. Much to his surprise, Yun ends up drawing him into even greater, unimaginable horrors.
Sometimes it’s maybe best to just leave things as they are and not start pooking into them to much.
Hansel and Gretel
Much like the real story about Hansel and Gretel its about a young man who gets lost in the woods but finds himself in a beautiful house with three adorable children. With a warm fireplace and plenty to eat, the place seems too perfect to be true ― and impossible to exit.
If you like twists in your movies this is the one for you. You sit and wait for an ending you think will come and it still surprise you with something completely different. Maybe not all will understand this movie or the symbolism in it. But If you do it will be that one movie you will never forget and it will stay with you days after you watch it.
Movies I haven’t watched yet but will this Halloween are these two:
WARNING :DO NOT PLAY
What is your favorite horror movie of all time?
Do you like Korean movies?