Discover The 11 Best Korean Horror Gems On Netflix

From THE WAILING to OLDBOY, here are the best Korean horror titles you can watch on Netflix right now.

By Amber T · @hornbloodfire · March 14, 2024, 4:00 PM EDT
best korean horror streaming netflix

South Korea has blessed the world with plenty of amazing exports, from kimchi and K-pop to some of the most terrifying horror movies of the modern age. While the country has a rich history of horror cinema, dating back to the 1960s with Kim Ki-young’s The Housemaid, over the last few years, South Korean genre fare has reached new heights of international success, from Parasite’s Oscar-win to the record-breaking Netflix original series Squid Game.

Often mixing extreme gore, well-established character development and humor blacker than a bowl of jjajangmyeon noodles, South Korean horrors like A Tale of Two Sisters, I Saw the Devil and Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum are beloved for their ability to blend genres and leave audiences shocked and stunned with stories that take things to new levels of bleak and brutal.

In 2021, following the gargantuan success of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s aforementioned Squid Game, Netflix spent a massive $500 million dollars on Korean movies and TV shows, including a slate of original content in addition to the excellent Korean movies and shows already calling the streamer their home. With so much choice out there, it can be daunting to know where to start. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up a list of the very best South Korean horror movies and television shows to fright and delight you.

1. The Wailing (2016) dir. Na Hong-jin

4. The Wailing 20th Century Fox

If you like your horror bleak and brutal, in the vein of Hereditary or The Exorcist, you can’t go wrong with Na Hong-jin’s emotionally battering religious horror, The Wailing. The story centers on the Korean village of Gokseong, where a bloody infection coincides with the arrival of a mysterious Japanese man. When police officer and father Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won) is tasked with investigating the violent deaths around the village, he suspects that the man may have more sinister intentions than first thought. Mixing themes of Christianity and traditional Korean shamanism, The Wailing is a dark descent into paranoia and tested faith, with bucketloads of blood and a hefty dose of gore.

2. Kingdom (2019 - 2020) dir. Kim Seong-hun & Park In-je


Based on Youn In-wan’s webcomic The Kingdom of the Gods, Kingdom is a historical horror series set in Korea’s 16th century Joseon Dynasty. Each episode unravels the story of the displaced Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) whose father, the King of Joseon, is afflicted with an unknown disease. As the political drama heats up, so does the gore, as the true, terrifying reality of the illness is revealed. Fans of period drama and historically-accurate horrors will have a blast with Kingdom, which refreshingly revives the zombie genre in a whole new landscape.

3. Goedam (2020) dir. Won Ki Hong

Goedam (2020)

The bite-sized episodes of anthology series Goedam are perfect for anyone who needs a quick hit of horror while they’re going about their day. Based on famous Korean and Japanese urban legends, the 8-15 minute episodes feature some pretty gnarly gore and unsettling supernatural ghosts and ghoulies, like the bisected vengeful spirit who drags her torso along at breakneck speed, or the twisted spirits of the infamous Elevator Game. If you’re a fan of myths and ghost stories from across Asia, Goedam is a series you won’t want to miss.

4. Train to Busan (2016) dir. Yeon Sang-ho


If you’re a fan of Korean horror, you’ve almost certainly already seen Train to Busan, but if you haven’t, it’s an absolute must-see. Starring Squid Game’s Gong Yoo and Eternals’ Ma Dong-seok, the horror thriller follows a train overrun by violent, bloodthirsty zombies. The claustrophobic setting and lashings of grisly gore will satisfy any horror hound, but it’s the characters that truly make Train to Busan so special.

From the heavily pregnant Seong-kyeong (Jang Yu-mi) to the adorable Su-an (an all-timer child performance from Kim Su-an), each of Train to Busan’s characters are fully fleshed, well-rounded heroes you can’t help but root for - and the human villains are even scarier than the zombies.

5. Gyeongseong Creature (2023) dir. Chung Dong-yoon & Roh Young-sub

Gyeongseong Creature (2023)

Korea’s painful history of colonization is often a source of inspiration for horror directors across the peninsular, and the 2023 series Gyeongseong Creature is a great example. Set in 1945, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the show follows pawnshop broker Jang Tae-sang (Park Seo-joon) and sleuth Yoon Chae-ok (Han So-hee) as they discover Japanese experiments in Ongseong Hospital may have created something truly evil.

Based on the very real-life horrors that took place in Japan’s Unit 731, Gyeongseong Creature is a chilling tale with excellent VFX, and is well worth catching up on before the second season, set in the modern day, hits Netflix later in 2024.

6. Oldboy (2003) dir. Park Chan-wook

oldboy 4

Ok, ok - Oldboy isn’t technically a horror movie, sure, but anyone who has seen Park Chan-wook’s thriller masterpiece will know that - even without ghosts, monsters or bumps in the night - it’s goddamn terrifying.

If you haven’t seen Oldboy, it’s imperative that you know almost nothing about the story, so all we’ll say is - it follows Oh Dae-su (the legendary Choi Min-sik) as a man recently freed after being imprisoned by a mysterious captor for 15 years. What follows is a bloody, brutal rampage of roaring revenge and an ending that’ll leave your jaw on the floor.

7. The Call (2020) dir. Lee Chung-hyun

The Call (2020)

Lee Chung-hyun’s twisty turny time travel thriller The Call follows two women, Kim Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) and Oh Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), living in the same house who communicate via an old telephone - the bizarre twist being that the pair are occupying different timelines, with Young-sook calling from 20 years in the past.

As Seo-yeon and Young-sook try to help each other by changing the events of each other’s lives, they soon realize that messing with the passage of time can have terrifying consequences. With powerhouse performances from its two leads, The Call is a chilling tale of jealousy, fate and manipulation, with a classically bleak Korean horror ending. Make sure you stick around for the mid-credits scene.

8. #Alive (2020) dir. Cho Il-hyung

1. #Alive Lotte Entertainment

South Korea has been at the top of the zombie apocalypse genre for the last few years, with Cho Il-hyung’s #Alive being a particular highlight. Accurately portraying the isolation and anxiety that came at the uncertain beginnings of the Coronavirus pandemic, #Alive follows a live-streamer named Joon-woo (Burning star Yoo Ah-in) who finds himself trapped in his apartment while violent zombies wreak havoc on the world outside.

Much like Train to Busan, the claustrophobic setting and lovable characters make #Alive a thrilling wild ride for fans of apartment block horror like 1986’s Demons 2 or Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise.

9. Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019) dir. Jang Jae-hyun

Svaha- The Sixth Finger (2019)

Many Korean horrors explore the conflict and combination of Christian mythology and more traditional Korean spiritualities like Buddhism and Mu-ism. Svaha: The Sixth Finger follows Pastor Park (Squid Game’s Lee Jung-jae), a priest sent to investigate a mysterious Buddhist sect. A typically Korean slow burn blend of genres work together to make Svaha a worthy watch for fans of Asian religious horrors like Incantation or The Medium.

10. All of Us Are Dead (2022) dirs. Lee Jae-kyoo & Kim Nam-su

web all of us are dead bookcase.jpg

A group of high-schoolers trapped inside a school would be a recipe for disaster at the best of times, but add in a rampant violent zombie infection and you’ve got a bonkers, bloody wild ride on your hands.

Based on a webtoon by Joo Dong-geun, All of Us Are Dead manages to balance guts and heart with an ensemble cast who are as endearing and irritating as real-life teens are. Feeling at times like a live-action anime, All of Us Are Dead is a must-see if you thought your high-school years sucked. Get caught up before the second season hits the streamer later this year!

11. Hellbound (2021) dir. Yeon Sang-ho


After revitalizing the zombie genre with Train to Busan, Yeon Sang-ho successfully demonstrated his directorial skills in the dark fantasy subgenre with the Netflix series Hellbound. The six-episode first series is set in an alternate version of South Korea, in which individuals know when they will die, and when they will be dragged to hell by giant, supernatural beings.

Things get even wilder (yes, really!) when a cult-like organization known as the New Truth Society faces off against Arrowhead, a violent gang striving to survive against their doomed fates. If that description excites you, you better get caught up before the second season hits Netflix later in 2024.