[PICK] Korean Horror Films Starring Star Actors

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung

Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Even up to mid-2000s, horror films, starring star actors, and featuring unique themes, consistently showed up in the theaters. Unfortunately, the popularity of horror movies has cooled off, and barely one comes out these days. If you’re fed up horror movies these days full of bad acting by rookie actors and sloppy directing, why don’t you watch the past films where eye-catching performances of prominent actors stood out? This article will introduce the horror films starring star actors, who revealed their spooky presence.


The Red Shoes (2005) -Kim Hye Soo


Andersen’s fairytale and Korean-style original “revengeful spirit” drama have met. The Red Shoes depicts a strange story that happens to a woman who feels ominous after bringing home a part of red shoes she accidentally picked up. Kim Hye Soo challenged the horror genre for the first time since her debut, playing the main character Sun Jae, who is bewitched by the red shoes and gets engulfed in fear and curse. You will get creeped out just from seeing Kim Hye Soo, who flawlessly performs the intense emotions, even without any special devices for fear.


Apartment (2006) – Go So Young


Based on Kang Full’s webtoon, it depicts a story of a series of mysterious deaths taking place after a woman, who lives alone in a high-rise apartment building, witnesses a strange phenomenon in the apartment across the street. Ahn Byung Ki, director of horror films Phone and Nightmare, directed the film. At the time, the fact that it was the comeback film of Go So Young in four years drew much attention. Unfortunately, it received a poor grade in the box office, but you will see a whole new side of the actor Go So Young, who had a confident and urban image.


Dead Friend (2004) – Kim Ha Neul


The movie is about a college student who suffered from amnesia and the confusion and fear she experiences while searching for her memory. Using the images of “water” that we drink every day and superstitious “water” that makes someone feel suicidal, the film creates a unique fear. It is also the first project where Kim Ha Neuk, who has been loved for her bright and innocent images since her debut, challenged a horror movie.


Face (2004) – Song Yoon Ah & Shin Hyun Joon

Credit: Cinema Service

It is a film that transplanted a forensic material of “facial reconstruction” into the Korean-style “revengeful spirit” story. The movie is about a facial reconstruction specialist getting caught up in a grotesque fear as he gets involved in a mysterious case. With Face, actors Song Yoon Ah and Shin Hyun Joon starred in their first horror movie. It is said that Song Yoon Ah, who enjoys horror films, showed dark and complex psychological performances, breaking away from her previous bright and sophisticated images. In contrast, Shin Hyun Joon, who is weak (?) when it comes to ghosts, was surprised throughout the filming and was able to perform realistic screams.


Whispering Corridors (1998) – Lee Mi Yeon

Credit: Cinema 2000

Whispering Corridors, the beginning of the school horror films, revolves around the horrific setting of a dead female student’s vindictive spirit roaming around the school. The movie gained syndrome-like popularity by portraying irrational reality in the educational world, such as bullying and competition for entrance exams. Lee Mi Yeon won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the Daejong Film Festival for her role as a young teacher who tracks questionable deaths in school.


R-Point (2004) – Kam Woo Sung

Credit: Cinema Service

It is a Korean horror film that stood out with its fresh attempt to choose the Vietnam War as the main topic. The movie takes place as a team gets dispatched to check the status of a missing soldier who sent SOS. Kam Woo Sung, who had a soft and gentle image, played the role of Choi Tae In, and drew psychological pressure to the end. You can also see the rookie days of Lee Sun Kyun.


Into The Mirror (2003) – Yoo Ji Tae

Credit: Cinema Service

The movie maximizes the fear of standing alone facing a mirror. It depicts a story of the detective-turned-mall security chief colliding with painful memories as he approaches a bizarre serial murder case that took place inside the mall. The movie drew attention as Yoo Ji Tae’s first big-screen comeback film in two years, and later was made into a Hollywood remake film Mirrors, starring Kiefer Sutherland.


Antarctic Journal (2005) – Song Kang Ho


Rarely as a horror film, Antarctic Journal used 9 billion KRW (approx. 7.5 million USD) as a production cost. The movie depicts a mystery that takes place when an expedition that had set off to conquer the unreachable point discovers a diary of a British expedition 80 years ago. The bitter cold weather, which is even overwhelming in the screen, creates psychological pressure and tension. In particular, Song Kang Ho, who plays the role of the expedition leader, received rave reviews for his eerie portrayal of a man going insane in an extreme situation.

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