[PICK] Korean Mystery Movies with Amateur Detectives

Korean Mystery Movies

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Some people dig into the truth behind various accidents with exceptional skills though they might not be detectives or police officers. And these people are called private investigators. Even if they might have more restrictions than detectives, these investigators show great investigative power and wit and reveal dark secrets behind the incident, conveying thrilling pleasure. This article introduces six movies that will fully satisfy your instincts to uncover various mysteries.


Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019)

Korean Mystery Movies
Credit: CJ Entertainment

Occult and mystery, two thrilling genres met. This movie by The Priests director Jang Jae Hyun revolves around Pastor Park, who uses his own talent to track the underlying truth behind the cult group Deer Mount. Pastor Park, who leads viewers to the mystery, has a sly, imposter-like vibe, breaking away from preconceptions about existing religious people. To borrow the line from the film, he is a so-called “man with a scent of business.” Following money rather than religious beliefs, Pastor Park digs into irregularities within various religious groups. But as he uncovers more and more truth about Deer Mount, he ends up facing difficulties and confusion he has never seen before.


Private Eye (2009)

Korean Mystery Movies
Credit: CJ Entertainment

The movie focuses on the enjoyment of mystery entertainment movies that you can kill time with. The story is about a private investigator digging into a mysterious murder case at the request of a medical student in danger of being framed for murder. Like Sherlock and Watson, Hwang Jung Min and Ryu Deok Hwan each play a private investigator and a medical student and convey the beauty of detective mystery dramas by unraveling secrets and meanings hidden in clues found at the scene. Uhm Ji Won, who hides her real identity as a daughter-in-law of a nobleman, joins forces with the duo as an inventor, flawlessly playing the role of an enabler.


Phantom Detective (2015)

Korean Mystery Movies
Credit: CJ Entertainment

A Werewolf Boy director Jo Sung Hee played a variation of the classic Korean novel “Hong Gil Dong.” The story is about Hong Gil Dong, the head of the illegal detective agency Hwalbindan, getting involved in a conspiracy of the dark and powerful organization Gwangeunhwe while searching for an enemy who killed his mother for revenge. Unlike the novel, Hong Gil Dong lacks empathy due to his childhood accident’s aftereffects and becomes a person who is quite far from being righteous. Though he is not friendly and has zero faith or justice, he goes after the bad guys by tracking clues with his brilliant wits. The distinction between the times is vague, and the stylish images that make you think you’re watching a hard-boiled noir film are undoubtedly fascinating.


The King’s Case Note (2016)

Korean Mystery Movies
Credit: CJ Entertainment

Based on the cartoon of the same name by Heo Yoon Mi, it’s a scientific investigation drama set in the Joseon Dynasty. It is about King Yejong, who prefers to visit the scenes than to enjoy his palace life, and his chronicle keeper Yoon Yi Seo, who has extraordinary memory, goes on a hunt for the truth behind a crime that threatens the throne and the stability of the country. Unlike the kings full of solemn charisma shown in various works, King Yejong is humane and full of curiosity in searching the truth behind the riddle. He combines clues based on extensive knowledge and shows pleasant chemistry with Yoon Yi Seo, who is often clumsy but plays a crucial role at the right moment.


The Queen of Crime (2016)

Korean Mystery Movies
Credit: Contents Panda

It is a movie in which an ordinary lady plays the lead role. Yang Mi Kyung is a nosy, broad-minded woman who senses something weird when her son received a 1.2 million won ( about 1,100 USD) water bill. The movie captures the struggles of Yang Mi Kyung, who moves to Seoul as she detects the “suspicious smells” at the place where her son lives, and digs into the mystery. Park Ji Young, who is known for her urban and sophisticated images, flawlessly portrayed a hardy middle-aged woman who jumps into the case using her friendly sociability.


The Accidental Detective (2015)

Korean Mystery Movies
Credit: CJ Entertainment

An amateur investigator and a veteran detective met. The story is about a comic book store owner, who always hangs around at a local police station to show off his Sherlock Holmes-level deduction skills, joining hands with a veteran detective, who he always fought like cats and dogs, when his close friend is framed for serial murder. The killing point of the movie is the bromance between the two men. The fact that how the two, who used to be at each other’s throat thinking the other as the obstacles, bond as they share joys and sorrows as husbands and fathers is captured as a “salty comedy” gives a pleasant boost to the mystery investigation that pursues brutal crimes. Thanks to its box office success, the sequel The Accidental Detective 2: In Action was released in the summer of 2018.

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