[PICK] Underrated Time Travel Korean Movies

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

We often enjoy vicarious pleasure by watching movies or dramas. And the chance of it actually happening is close to zero, the more satisfied we are. This is why time travel became such a favorable topic. Fantasy of traveling time realizes unimaginable things on our behalf, providing odd excitement, pleasure and thrilling tension. Also, unpredictable time travel makes us look back on reality by asking us questions about life and love. Because of such charms, one becomes more and more addicted to time travel unfolded in various forms. Let’s take a look at time travel movies that received somewhat disappointing results at the box office.


Will You Be There? (2016)

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

The story of going back in time to try to protect the loved ones is often found in time travel movies. This is mostly because the desperate stories of the heroes give dramatic fun, and Will You Be There?, an adaptation of Guillaume Musso’s novel of the same name, deals with this familiar yet compelling time travel story. It tells the story of a man who happens to come across a magical pill that allows him to time travel and uses it to protect his girlfriend by joining hands with himself from 30 years ago. The fact that the same person from the past and the present partner up to solve a problem, unlike most time travel movies where you are banned from meeting yourself at different times, is quite impressive.


Time Renegades (2015)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Time Renegades is the story of two men from different time zones struggling to prevent their loved ones’ death. A man in 1983 and a man in 2015 start to share the same dream for some reason and realize that they are in love with the same woman. Furthermore, they find that the person they love will soon die. Directed by My Sassy Girl director Kwak Jae Young, the story of an exciting structure linking events from two different times creates one suspenseful thriller. Jo Jung Suk and Lee Jin Wook play two heroes who join hands, while Im Soo Jung showed perfect double roles that become the target of a chase.


The Phone (2015)

Credit: Next Entertainment World

A man received a phone call from his wife, who was murdered a year ago. With this call, he received one dire chance to put everything back to place. Will he be able to rescue his wife? Son Hyun Joo, whose name itself has become a genre, appears as a man struggling to save his wife. If the two works introduced above show heroes struggling to protect their loved ones without them knowing about it, The Phone presents a different approach as it is his wife who is asking for help. The fact that two people from different times converse through a phone and that these two join hands to perform missions for the same purpose gives tension as if you are watching two thriller movies simultaneously.


AM 11:00 (2013)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

Unlike many Korean films about time travel, director Kim Hyun Seok’s AM 11:00 mainly focuses on time travel itself. For the first time in Korean cinema, the time machine appears, and the time travel takes place in earnest. If previous time travel movies develop the plot with at least a year difference, AM 11:00 travels in a one-day interval. The story revolves around researchers desperately trying to prevent their own deaths, which are recorded in the surveillance camera footage recorded at 11 a.m. the next day.


A day (2017)

Credit: CGV Arthouse

Like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow, A day is about a time loop and follows two men who are trapped in an infernal time. If existing time loop movies center around one person getting stuck in the loop, A day is different in that there is another person who is also trapped in the same time loop and that they join hands to find the secrets. The movie tells the story of a man who desperately tries to save his daughter from an accident and another man who has to watch his wife die over and over again unravel the mystery behind the accident.

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