Ran out of K-dramas to watch on Netflix? Maybe it’s time to set your sights a little darker. How about navigating a train crawling with zombies or trying to outwit a crazed colleague beating people to death inside your office? If that sounds like your thing, here’s a list of 5 Korean thrillers you can watch on Netflix.
1. The Chase (2017)
Every day, an ageing landlord (Baek Yoon-sik) makes the rounds of the houses he owns in a middle-class residential area to ask for the rents he’s owed. Most of the tenants hate his sharp tongue, but that doesn’t bother him. He has no friends or family, and lives alone in a sparse apartment. But he has no time to feel lonely, because there’s a serial killer who targets on the loose. When a former detective (Sung Dong-il) asks the landlord to help him solve a 30-year-old cold case, a strange friendship develops between the two, resulting in hijinks and some heartwarming moments.
2. Joint Security Area (2000)
This movie, made by Park Chan-wook, the director of modern classics like Oldboy and The Handmaiden, at the turn of the century, is centred on the border between South and North Korea. Indians and Pakistanis would probably find it easy to relate to the tensions between two nations whose cultures are more or less the same.
Major Sophie E. Jean (Lee Young-ae), who works with the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission and is investigating the killings of two North Korean soldiers at the border, soon finds that this is no routine job. Joint Security Area shifts in tone between a buddy comedy and a mystery thriller, even as it raises some weighty ethical questions.
3. Forgotten (2017)
It can be really hard to let go of bad memories sometimes. But in this tricky thriller, it’s almost impossible, as our protagonist discovers. Jin-seok (Kang Ha-neul) thinks that his older brother, Yoo-seok (Kim Mu-yeol), has changed in disturbing ways since he was kidnapped and later released by unknown people.
His brother’s newfound behavioural traits puzzle him; so, he follows him through the dark alleys that Yoo-seok travels in the dead of night. The quaint opening scenes soon make way for a gritty flashback where there is no black or white, just shades of grey. Forgotten is an addictive thriller that gives you no time to collect your wits. Every time you think you’ve cracked the code, the movie shifts to land you in yet another maze.
4. Office (2015)
This is a creepy thriller, especially if you work in an office yourself. White-collar worker Kim Byeong-gook (Bae Seong-woo) goes back home from office one fine day and slaughters his family members. Why, we don’t know, but as the film progresses, we realise exactly what drove him to the edge. When detective Jong-hoon (Park Sung-woong) tries to make sense of the crime, Kim’s co-workers don’t cooperate. But Jong-hoon knows that they’re all hiding something from him.
5. Train to Busan (2016)
Zombies can be terrifying creatures, with their gaunt faces, godawful screams and propensity to try and turn you into one of them, but they’re also really stupid. That and other life lessons from this enjoyable thriller, about how to survive when unexpected tragedies hit you. Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) is such a distracted father that he buys his daughter the same gift twice. To young Su-an (Kim Su-an), her father comes across as too busy and full of himself. When father and daughter take a train to Busan to meet her mother on her birthday (the couple is separated), they find themselves trapped amidst a zombie outbreak. As passengers turn against each other, they run out of ideas to keep themselves safe from the undead.