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Best South Korean Thrillers of recent times (20+1list)

Best South Korean Thrillers of recent times.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Today’s list consists of only the Best South Korean Thrillers since this country seems to be specializing on this particular genre for some time now.

Memories of a murder posterOver the years South Korean film industry has evolved and produced numerous quality cinema that have achieved immense international acclaim!

The new-age South Korean directors have given some of the best suspense thrillers of our times. Be it the theme of the infamous gang war films or the merciless serial killer movies or the classic police-gangster action dramas or else the ever-popular gruesome revenge sagas – you name it and they have delivered it to perfection.

Enough said … let the fun begin!

20. Don’t Cry, Mommy (2012)

Don keu-ra-i ma-mi (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrTkEMXDPdw

South Korean ThrillersA rape of a young girl that eventually leads into her suicide, but will the rapists (being minors) get their desired punishments?

When the judgment of the law ends up favoring the three juveniles, the mother of the girl decides to take things in her own hands.

Directed by Yong-han Kim, this is one perfect revenge drama. 

19. The Suspect (2013)

Yong-eui-ja (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ctw3o_tv_k

South Korean ThrillersAbandoned during a mission and on the run, his wife and daughter murdered, this is a tale of a field agent in North Korea who is all set to take revenge on them who has destroyed his life.

Directed by Shin-yeon Won. an action pact drama where the central character’s only goal is to have his vengeance and finish the treacherous game of double cross and deceit.

18. Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012)

Bumchoiwaui junjaeng: Nabbeunnomdeul jeonsungshidae (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPRFKk3gYBE

South Korean ThrillersA corrupt customs official who was about to get fired randomly gets associated with a vicious gangster and becomes the most powerful crime partner of the town!

Directed by Jong-bin Yun, this one is a pure gangster flick with lots of twists and turns in the storyline. 

And it’s also about friendship and rivalry, loyalty and betrayal, respect and (of course) murder!   

17. Hwayi: A Monster Boy (2013)

Hwa-i: Goi-mool-eul sam-kin a-i (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EODuG-0Y9E

South Korean ThrillersA boy raised by five criminals (all fathers), who finally goes in search for the truth as he was forced to take part in a killing spree.

Directed by Joon-Hwan Jang, a brilliant film that needs to be much more popular to the thriller-fans all across the world.

Graphic violence is an essential part of the film, so you be prepared.

16. A Hard Day (2014)

Kkeut-kka-ji-gan-da (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r1lJuk4EjA

South Korean ThrillersA homicide detective kills a man in a car accident, and desperately tries to hide the body and he succeeds too … well almost.

Soon he is threatened by some mysterious guy who seems to have witnessed everything and knows all about it!

Directed by Seong-hoon Kim, a very well crafted thriller indeed.

15. Bedevilled (2010)

Kim Bok-nam salinsageonui jeonmal (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG2bObtGlsI

South Korean ThrillersAs Eleanor Roosevelt once said ‘A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.’

Directed by Cheol-soo Jang, this is the story of a woman living in an isolated island, who is abused and tortured in every possible way until one day she decides to avenge upon her tormentors! Extreme violence, disturbingly real and gory, and yet highly engaging.

14. The Terror Live (2013)

Deu tae-ro ra-i-beu (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om2BFo4c4QQ

South Korean ThrillersAn exclusive live broadcast with a terrorist is the only way for a news anchor to claim his top position back, but then how far is he ready to sacrifice to get what he wants?

Directed by Byung-woo Kim, an underrated thriller shot almost entirely in one room (the radio station), giving the impression of real time and a sense of claustrophobia. A combination of superb acting and intense drama.

13. Breathless (2008)

Ddongpari (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zzcGQkuTs4

South Korean ThrillersNot exactly a thriller in it’s true sense, but definitely one of the most brutal Korean crime drama of recent times.

A story of a touching friendship between a heartless loan shark and a troubled young school girl.

Directed by Ik-joon Yang, a brilliantly emotional film, much underrated as it deserves a lot more attention and appreciation.

12. A Dirty Carnival (2006)

Biyeolhan geori (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWtiC1JFRnE

South Korean ThrillersThis one is an action pact film portraying the life of the gangsters from a dangerously uncomfortable perspective.

Directed by Ha Yoo, this is the story of a man’s realization of the his capabilities and more importantly his own limitations; a fine crime drama that reveals the merciless world of crime and criminals from very close proximity.

11. Montage (2013)

Mong-ta-joo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV5Hom6_GxE

South Korean Thrillers15 years ago a crime was committed, a kidnap, and a mother lost her child forever.

And now, the crime is being repeated, another kidnap, same style – but this time can they stop the crime and tackle the kidnapper?

Directed by Geun-seop Jeong, a perfect thriller that turns out into a deadly game of wits.

10. Cold Eyes (2013)

Gam-si-ja-deul (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH15-Aj57fc

South Korean ThrillersThe police surveillance team with their latest techno gadgets clashes with a team of ruthless bank robbers who seems to be unstoppable in their mission.

Directed by Ui-seok Jo and Byung-seo Kim, this is a high voltage suspense drama that ensures to quicken your pulse till the end.

This Korean thriller was one of the biggest box office hit of the year!

9. New World (2013)

Sinsegye (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rln9Hx_wPFw

South Korean ThrillersThe police with the help of an undercover agent tries to take on the dangerous mafia but then certain unexpected twists completely turns the rules of the game.

A complex and gripping storyline, brilliant acting and the element of suspense intact till the very end.

Directed by Hoon-jung Park, this is South Korean thriller at its best.

8. Pieta (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MebVzBdz0OI

South Korean ThrillersA loan shark who leads a brutal and violent life encounters a strange woman who claims to be his long lost mother.

Directed by Ki-duk Kim, a unique film that revolves around a son taking revenge on his so-called mother because she has abandoned him in his childhood! 

A mother and son film with so many layers of emotions, never seen before.

7. The Man from Nowhere (2010)

Ajeossi (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38rPoGSr19U

South Korean Thrillers

A pawn shop owner who prefers to keep to himself befriends a little girl from the neighborhood.

And when this girl’s life is in danger this man from nowhere makes it his business to rescue his little friend from the ruthless gangsters.

Directed by Jeong-beom Lee, a gritty fast paced emotional tale told in great style.

6. The Yellow Sea (2010)

Hwanghae (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoyKIBiCb7Y

South Korean Thrillers

Directed by Hong-jin Na, this is the story of a poor taxi driver who is sent across the sea to kill someone. But instead of killing his target he starts searching for his wife!

A dangerous mistake that almost costed his life.

A tale of extreme vengeance; some of the action moments in this film are legendary even in Korean standards!

5. A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Dalkomhan insaeng (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Kcns8MujA

South Korean Thrillers

A gangster’s sweet life turns bitter when he refuses to follow his boss’s orders. But then, an ego clash with the dangerous mafia boss can surely cost you much, may be your happiness if not your life!

Directed by Jee-woon Kim, a classy film shot beautifully, crisp script and great performance by everyone. One of the best gangster movies I have seen till date.

4. Mother (2009)

Madeo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcxml0xeFlI

South Korean ThrillersDirected by Joon Ho Bong, this is an incredible story of a mother’s retribution.

When a mentally retarded boy is suspected of murder, his mother takes upon the task to find the real killer. Her maternal instinct to protect her child takes her to the ultimate level of desperation.

Powerful performances and a brilliant piece of story telling.

Another brilliant thriller from the same director is Memories of Murder (2003) – Salinui chueok (original title).

3. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwWgp1bqVwE

South Korean ThrillersA deadly game of vengeance between a secret agent and a serial killer is being played through out the film. But who will be the winner?

Insanely violent and graphic, a story of a psychopath being chased and tormented by an equally demented cop.

Directed by Jee-woon Kim, this thriller is so full of obsession, hatred and revenge.

2. The Chaser (2008)

Chugyeogja (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai0GambXj-s

South Korean ThrillersA detective turned pimp tries to trace his call girls who seem to vanish into thin air. Is there one particular client who may be responsible for their sudden disappearances?

Directed by Hong-jin Na, this gruesome thriller has some of the most extreme moments of tension and violence – terrific storyline and exceptionally natural acting. The best Korean thriller ever made till date!

1. Oldboy (2003)

Oldeuboi (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HkjrJ6IK5E

South Korean ThrillersAnd now, the most popular South Korean film ever made, included in the all time best 100 films list in IMDb!

A man has been kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, but why? Will he be released someday?

A unique and disturbing tale, directed by Chan-wook Park, full of violence and extreme vengeance.

Along with Oldboy, don’t you forget to check out the other two films of Chan-wook Park‘s Vengeance Trilogy, that also includes Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005).

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. The Housemaid (1960)

Hanyo (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40u9lEHrMa8

South Korean ThrillersA man in an illicit relationship with his housemaid eventually complexes his married life a bit too much for any scope of peaceful resolution.

Directed by Ki-young Kim, this is one of the most artistic film in this list, very well dramatized and superlative performances.

A classic South Korean thriller, that has not aged even after so many decades.

Similar Interest: Best Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times

Similar Interest: Best French Thrillers of Recent Times

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.impawards.com.

Lucy (2014)

My Ratings: 3/5.

Director Luc Besson, who has made awesome films like ‘Leon: The professional‘ and ‘The fifth Element‘ has come up with his latest – a Sci-Fi called Lucy.

Morgan Freeman in his deep, smooth voice explains to us that an average human being  only uses 10% of their brain capacity. And if somebody somehow uses more than that – the possibilities are endless but unknown.

And that very unknown is explored through the dangerous tale of Lucy who by accident could push her brain capacity to it’s maximum.

But honestly the story, the director or Morgan Freeman for that matter is not the focus of the film; like most of the rest of the audience i went simply to watch Scarlett Johansson.

A hint of age but still Scarlett looks absolutely stunning.

It is said that Angelina Jolie was supposed to play the lead role Lucy but when she opted out Scarlett Johansson came in.

Anyways, due to some unavoidable circumstances Lucy is used as a drug mule (of course without her concern) by some Chinese gangsters who speaks nothing but Korean, leaded by Mr.Jang (Min-sik Choi of the Oldboy fame).

And this blue-colored drug which she carries is no ordinary one, it eventually makes Lucy’s brain capable of performing to it’s full potential. Wow!

Defying all those blond-jokes, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) becomes the most intelligent person in the world (just joking).

But unfortunately the film isn’t as smart as Lucy.

The basic problem lies in the fact that when a person becomes that intelligent and attains such a height of consciousness what exactly is expected from him/her?

Lucy with all the incredible powers does several unbelievable magic tricks throughout the film, which most of the times doesn’t seem logical and often in a way questions her intelligence (like in the very basic level).

Cool VFX, sexy Lucy but an ordinary outcome.

You need not have to engage even 10% of your brain power for this film.

Film trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVt32qoyhi0

Bollywood films inspired from Hollywood (20+1 List)

Creativity starts from imitation. The perfect examples are the numerous Bollywood films inspired from Hollywood movies or from cinema around the world.

But getting inspired is also an art – not everyone can take inspiration to a different level of success.

Here is a list of Bollywood films inspired from Hollywood or World Cinema (most of them are successful in their own way).

Lets see how many of you have seen the original versions of these famous Bollywood films!

    Bollywood films inspired             from         Hollywood/World Cinema

20.           Chachi 420 (1997)                                             Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

19.            Ghajini (2008)                                                                  Memento (2000)

18.            Zinda (2006)                                                                           Oldboy (2003)

17.           Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998)                            French kiss (1995)

16.            Satte pe satta (1982)             Seven brides for seven brothers                                                                                                                                               (1954)

15.            Sajaan (1991)                                           Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

14.            Bheja Fry (2007)                                           The dinner game (1998)

13.            Jodi no. 1 (2001)                                             We’re no angels (1989)

12.            Ek Ajnabee (2005)                                                    Man on fire (2004)

11.          Hum hain rahi pyar ke (1993)                              Houseboat (1958)

10.          Kaante (2002)                                                      Reservoir Dogs (1992)

9.             Aitraaz (2004)                                                                 Disclosure (1994)

8.             Murder (2004)                                                                Unfaithful (2002)

7.             Ghulam (1998)                                             On the waterfront (1954)

6.             Musafir (2004)                                                                        U Turn (1997)

5.             Life in a metro (2007)                                      The Apartment (1960)

4.             Murder 2 (2011)                                                          The Chaser (2008)

3.             Guzaarish (2010)                                                  The sea Inside (2004)

2.           Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995)           Kramer vs, Kramer (1979)

1.     Dil hai ki Manta Nahin (1991)             It happened one night (1934)

and finally

+1         Kahaani (2012)                                                              Taking Lives (2004)