[Pick] Six Korean Horror Films Based on Spooky Urban Legends

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated Kim Yoo Hyang


MBC’s Late Night Ghost Talk has returned as a regular program from its pilot episode. It is Korea’s first-ever show to tell horror stories. As hosts read scary stories submitted from the viewers, a group of audiences, called ‘Spirit of Darkness,’ vote online for the best story. In addition, with an appalling reenactment clip, the show will scare the audience, stirring up their imagination. If you are a lover of spine-chilling stories that keep you awake at night, keep an eye out for the list of movies below.


Warning: Do Not Play (2018)

Credit: TCO

Warning: Do Not Play unfolds as a rookie director chases down the truth behind a horror movie that was banned for its brutality. Mi Jung is a director who has been making a horror movie for eight years. One day, she hears about a banned movie that left audiences in shock. Will the rumors turn out to be true? Amid a desperate situation where she received a final notice from the production company, Mi Jung searches for the film that disappeared without a trace. However, she is left with nothing but a frightening warning not to look for the film if she wants to be alive.

Warning: Do Not Play is a piece filled with a simmering sense of fear, twisted desires of the two directors obsessed with making a scary movie. Instead of creating isolated fears, the film leads viewers to get immersed in the plot with the tension between characters’ minds surrounding the creepy atmosphere. The dismal mood of the movie escalates with Gunsan’s National Capital Theatre, which had closed for the first time in 80 years, as its background.


Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2017)

Credit: Showbox

There’s always a reason behind places you shouldn’t go, but that can never stop characters from horror movies. Without a second thought, the characters enter prohibited areas and cause various incidents and accidents. Director Jung Bum Shik’s Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum follows the typical pattern. This time, the forbidden place is the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, one of the places chosen by CNN’s seven most horrifying places in the world in 2012. The movie centers around ghost adventure YouTubers trying to break into a haunted hospital to discover the frightening unforeseen truth in the form of a mockumentary. Though the theme itself is not fresh, it gives us vivid horror as if it were in a real haunted place with a thrilling sensation like riding a roller coaster.


The Mimic (2017)

Credit: Next Entertainment World

The movie is the second thriller directed by Heo Jeong based on a famous urban legend. The film depicts mysteries surrounding a family and Jangsanbeom, which tricks people by mimicking their sounds. While his previous work, Hide and Seek, created tension as a stranger breaks into a house, which should be the safest place, The Mimic focuses on the familiar voice from a stranger. The plot unravels as a family who loses their son moves into a village and takes in a girl left alone in the forest. Though the idea of a scary story related to voice is intriguing, the film received disappointing responses. Some claimed that the behaviors of the characters were dissatisfying to watch.


Hide-and-Never Seek (2016)

Credit: Prain Global

The Korean title ‘Hon Soom’ is short for “One Man Hide and Seek.” This horror film received attention as the act is a type of necromancy, playing hide and seek with a ghost by using a doll. It depicts the story of him tracking the case after receiving a video of a missing high school student who played the game. Similar to Gonjiam, it uses the structure of a mockumentary, making clever use of digital media. Surprisingly, it was refreshing to know that this movie was released earlier than Gonjiam. It’s not scary enough to be a horror film; however, the refreshing plot progression created a tight tension. And the lead character, Ryu Deok Hwan also received praises for his flawless acting skills.


Goedam: Collection (2020)

Credit: Netflix

The movie is an omniverse with eight short horror films. Each film is about 10 minutes long, and they portray famous urban legends that we’ve all heard about. These stories are set in daily spaces such as school, taxi, elevator, and live streams. Each episode has its deviations, and some of them have room for improvement. However, they are fun enough to watch and enjoy the scary stories. With the film released last year on Netflix, the production decided to come up with a sequel after its success to catch the hearts of horror fans. Many idol members, including Oh My Girl’s Arin, MONSTAX’s Shownu, BTOB’s Lee Min Hyuk, Golden Child’s Bong Jae Hyun, and THE BOYZ’s Joo Haknyun, will be appearing in it along with actors Kim Do Yoon, Lee Young Jin, Jung Won Chang, and Lee Soo Min.


Door Lock (2018)

Credit: Megabox Plus M

Door Lock deals with realistic fears that begin when a murder occurs in an officetel of a studio apartment complex. Kyung Min is an ordinary office worker and experiences something scary. After returning home from work, he finds his digital door lock cover is open. And during the night, he hears someone pressing the password just before he goes to bed. Even though he made a report to the police, they do not take it seriously. Door Lock theatrically delivers the extreme anxiety and horror that everyone likely to have experienced before. Moreover, Gong Hyo Jin’s performance in the film adds tension as she struggles alone.

Besides, the rumor says, Open The Door will be a sequel of the film. It is about a woman experiences mysterious events after buying a washing machine from a second-hand online website. Shin Hye Sun is in talks to appear in the movie.


Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

Leave your vote

186 Points
Related Posts

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.