Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Halloween is just around the corner. Usually, we will dress up in bizarre costumes such as ghosts, skeletons and zombies, and enjoy various festive events, but unfortunately, with the spread of COVID-19, we will most likely stay at home this year. This article will cover thrillers and chillers to watch at home for a horror-filled Halloween.
Whispering Corridors (1998)
The movie transferred the Korean education system’s cold reality, including competition for entrance exams, bullying, and unfair corporal punishment, onto the big screen and successfully opened a new era of K-style school horror film. Many impressive scenes, such as the line “Do I still look like your friend?” and the famous jump cut editing, were introduced, and thanks to its huge commercial success, a total of five sequels were produced.
Into The Mirror (2003)
This horror film is about a former police officer, who became the head security of a department store after losing his partner in an incident, digging into a series of grisly deaths, all involving mirrors. It has received positive reviews for its solid story of using mirrors that we use every day as objects of fear. An American remake starring Kiefer Sutherland was produced in 2008, titled Mirrors.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The story broke away from the didactic tale and was reborn as a tragic family story triggered by guilty conscience. The conflict between the stepmother and the sister, which unfolds amid the beautiful mise-en-scène and the elegant melodies, presents eerie moments from time to time, providing twists after another twists. The movie expanded the realm of horror films by driving audiences into a world of interpretation.
It is a work that received favorable reviews for portraying the tragedy of war with terrifying horror. When the Vietnam War is nearing its end, a search party that sets off to find the missing soldiers must deal with various mysteries as it heads to the cursed area. The boundaries of reality are gradually blurred and the soldiers’ struggle for survival as they are engulfed in hallucination will send a chill down your spine till the very end.
The Host (2006)
A monumental monster film was born with the fresh idea of a monster appearing on the Han River, which we (Koreans) are so familiar with. The story of an ordinary family struggling to find their kidnapped daughter crosses comedy, thrill and action, but also maintains a critical eye toward a social system that is indifferent to the weak. Amid rave reviews, the movie attracted 10 million moviegoers in just 21 days.
It combines religion with a horror movie to portray an eerie moment caused by false beliefs. Instead of listing episodic fears that stimulate our peripheral nerves, human selfishness and desire double the tension by drawing the process of turning ordinary daily lives into chilling space with dense development. The meticulous relationships and stories behind the incident are closely fused to convey unconventional horror.
It’s a movie about cruel revenge on a remote island. Against the backdrop of a desolate island, a woman who has been receiving subhuman treatments, even being sexually assaulted, will be forced to take revenge after continued abuse and contempt. The movie observes violent patriarchal systems and modern people who are indifferent to others with a cynical attitude.
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Director Kim Ji Woon, who challenges different genres in every project, took a different approach to the familiar theme of “revenge.” The confrontation between a serial killer and a man dreaming of revenge goes beyond the usual pattern. The movie reveals a murderer’s identity from the very start and follows a man’s merciless journey filled with anger and will to avenge his pain.
The Wailing (2016)
It tells the story of people involved in mysterious events and bizarre rumors that began after a stranger appeared in a rural village. With Jong Goo, who is in the crisis of losing his daughter and has been seized by chaos, in the center, the movie conveys a new kind of horror that was never seen in any previous Korean films through a development that slowly intensifies the thriller. Director Na Hong Jin deftly creates a chilling atmosphere throughout the film with his skills and leads the viewers up the garden path, pushing them into the world of confusion.
Train To Busan (2016)
The film takes place on a train to Busan as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out in the country and threatens the passengers’ safety. The stories of people struggling to survive in the narrow passageways of a fast-moving train, whether them being selfish or otherwise, have created a fresh landscape that has never been seen in Korean movies. Like director Bong Joon Ho’s The Host, Train to Busan portrays the “hell” of “Hell Joseon (the word Koreans use to criticize the Korean society)” with a critical attitude towards the society.