Seven Scary Korean Films to Watch this Halloween

I love Halloween! While not really a holiday, it’s long been one of my favourite days of the year. Between my love of creating neat costumes – often from film characters and occasionally a bit too obscure as people don’t always guess who or what I am supposed to be – and my lifelong fascination with things that go bump in the night (vampires, werewolves and the like); Halloween is the perfect “holiday” for me. And so it came as a surprise to me that I’ve never created a list of horror and/or scary films in honour of the day. But that just left the door open for this article.

Unfortunately, I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t watched as many Korean horror films as I should (note to self, watch more) so my list is shorter than my normal 10 (I like top 10s) but I can definitely recommend any of the seven films below, albeit for different reasons.

So, without further ado, here are seven scary Korean films to check out tonight, or any night.

Train to Busan (부산행)

I loved this zombie film starring Gong Yoo (공유), a workaholic who boards a train to Busan to take his daughter to see her mother, just as a zombie outbreak is unleashed in Seoul. And I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it as it holds the title of the longest running Korean film in (Cineplex) theatres in Toronto. If you can, watch it with the animated prequel, Seoul Station (서울역).

If you want to know more about what I thought about this film, check out my review.

The Wailing (곡성)

A plague of horrible deaths start happening in a small village and a mysterious Japanese man living in the mountains gets blamed for them. Add in a policeman investigating the deaths whose daughter gets sick, an odd woman, and a shaman, and you have a dark yet captivating film.

If you want to know more about what I thought about this film, check out my review.

A Tale of Two Sisters (장화, 홍련)

This was the first Korean horror film I watched years ago and it’s still one of my favourites. Plus it often makes other people’s lists for great horror films so it’s not just me who liked it. A creepy yet fabulous film about family where things aren’t quite what they seem.

I Saw the Devil (악마를 보았다)

Okay, it’s more of a thriller than horror but I Saw the Devil, starring Lee Byung-Hun (이병헌) and Choi Min-Sik (최민식), makes for great Halloween viewing. A young woman’s car breaks down and is attacked and brutally murdered. Her fiance vows revenge.

Epitaph (기담)

Mostly set in the past, Epitaph is about a series of murders which happen around a hospital and are seen through the recollections of an old doctor who was an intern at the time of the murders. It’s as much a thriller as a horror film with fabulous acting.

If you want to know more about what I thought about this film, check out my review.

A Werewolf Boy (늑대소년)

A bit more coming-of-age fantasy than horror, and not really that scary but it’s still a great film for Halloween. Hello, it’s about a werewolf. So if you don’t really want to be scared tonight, this is the film for you (or the next one) as it’s equal parts sweet and scary. Well, a bit more sweet.

If you want to know more about what I thought about this film, check out my review.

Mourning Grave (소녀괴담)

A hybrid romantic comedy-horror film that stars Kang Ha Neul (강하늘) that’s both creepy and sweet – although generally not at the same time. Kang Ha Neul’s character, In Su, can see ghosts and moves to his family’s hometown to escape being bullied for it. There he is befriended by a sweet, pretty ghost but at the same time, the bullies in his new high school are being attacked by a vengeful ghost. Let’s just say, it doesn’t pay to be a bully.

If you want to know more about what I thought about this film, check out my review.

Final Thoughts

Okay, not all of the films are horror but they all work well for Halloween (note to self: I really need to watch more Korean horror films). So, if you’re not dressing up and heading out trick-or-treating (or to a party), check out one of the above films to get your Halloween groove on. And I totally won’t tell anyone if you dress up first! Besides, some of my favourite costumes come from films – Ramona Flowers, Susan, Josie (although that one’s more from the comic book than the film) – so dressing up to watch a film, I can certainly get behind the idea. ^^ Happy Halloween everyone!

What Korean film would you recommend for Halloween? Please let me know as I need more horror under my belt!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday – this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it’s taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I’m the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

4 thoughts on “Seven Scary Korean Films to Watch this Halloween

  • October 31, 2017 at 6:36 pm
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    Guess I need to find Mourning Grave!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2017 at 11:08 am
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    Well, it’s not a film and you’d need several days to watch it, but the early episodes of Master’s Sun were really spooky for me but I’ll a scaredy cat. (I watched for the romance and So Ji sub!)

    Train to Busan was really good but mainly just for the thrill of “Oh no! Are they going to get him/her?!” It didn’t really scare me at all which is great for me (so I could watch Gong Yoo without missing a second whereas usually I close my eyes during scary parts) but bad for people who like scary movies.

    Werewolf Boy – *sigh*. Not scary at all but *lonnnnng drawn out mushy romantic sigh* It’s wonderful.

    Reply
    • November 3, 2017 at 11:28 am
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      I liked Master’s Sun! And perhaps I should have said ‘spooky’ rather than ‘scary’ as not all the films recommended were scary but all are good for Halloween 🙂

      Reply

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