30 December 2020 450 Views

Best Korean thrillers to start your love affair with Korean Cinema

by James Murphy

Parasite? That was JUST the BEGINNING! It is TIME to start embracing Korean Movies. BIG TIME.

When it comes to nail-biting psychological thrillers and crime stories, look no further than South Korea. The Hallyu wave that had hit South Korea in the early 2000s has introduced international viewers to K-pop, K-dramas, K-beauty and mind-numbing and gut-wrenching Korean films. Big names like Park Chan Wook, Kim Jee Won, Bong Joon Ho, Hong Sang-Soo have put the Korean entertainment industry on the global map. Even though romance and melodrama are the main elements of their films, their thrillers are a class apart. They are the right mix of violence, gore, bloodshed and suspense which can trigger and bring out the rawest emotions. What makes it different from the Hollywood thrillers is the treatment of characters and scenes. 

 

Korean thrillers do not provide a backstory to its characters. Instead, it explores the psyche and the dark side of a human mind to let the viewers connect with the characters. The audience learns more about the killer through his brutal and inhuman killings. While Hollywood presents violence in a stylised manner, Koreans are not afraid to portray raw depictions and imagery of gore and massacre on screen. Sometimes the violence can get very overbearing and distressing. Their gangster thrillers are more than just cats and mouse chase and packed with realistic action scenes. Since gambling is illegal in Korea, their movies will let the viewers see at least one scene with the mobsters and underdogs at a poker match. The players who want to gamble can start with an easy game like scratch cards at Winissimo: Scratch cards

 

Here is a list of thrillers people can watch to get hooked to the Hallyu wave.

 

Memories of murder

 

Bong Joon Ho had created history by winning the Oscars for his film Parasite. But this is not the first time he is known for delivering such a stellar masterpiece. His cinematic gem Memories of Murder is a force to reckon with. The story is loosely inspired from the first serial killer murders of 1985. It is set against the backdrop of a rural area where retired cop Park (Kang-ho) and optimistic officer Seo (Kim Sang-Kyung) are on a relentless manhunt to nab the killer who decimates his victims during rains. The serene, pristine village life is a stark contradiction to the ghastly, gruesome murders. The locals and the police are equally perturbed by this occurrence as the violence has disturbed the peace of the place. Scenes like the cop chase, the killer silently stalking his next victim, the manslaughter, etc. are bone-chilling and can send shivers down the spine. But what sets this film apart from the rest of the crime films is that it critiques police brutality and the broken justice system. The two protagonists become helpless and disillusioned by each passing day as they see no signs of hope.

 

Thirst

 

When people think of vampire movies they think of The Dracula or the cheap flick Twilight. But Thirst is a film that has done due justice to the vampire and gothic genre. Directed by the auteur of Hallyu wave, Park Chan Wook, who blessed the cinephiles with gems like Oldboy, The Vengeance series and The Handmaiden, has struck a chord with the horror fanatics with Thirst. The story revolves around a Catholic priest Sang-Hyun (Kang Ho) who participates in a blood transfusion experiment in Africa to eliminate a deadly virus. But instead, develops a strong liking towards blood. In addition to this newfound discovery, he also finds himself attracted to his best friend’s wife. Park is invested in depicting Sang’s struggle in coming to terms with his new self. A dark secret, moral dilemma, forbidden love affair, mild eroticism and some shocking blood-curling moments make Thirst a very gripping and intriguing watch. It has brought back the lost reputation of the vampiric films.

 



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