The Korean entertainment industry in all its forms - music, movies, and dance - are taking on the world by storm. I'm sure you have all at least heard of a few K-pop groups, be it BTS or Black Pink, and seen a few Korean shows (hellooOoOoo Squid Game!!) The Korean film industry, having made a historic mark with Parasite winning the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture as the 2020 Academy Awards, has got everyone's attentions and interests peaked. If you're looking to delve more deeply into the world of Korean movies, or you stumbled upon K-dramas on Netflix and want to know what else you can watch, luckily there are a ton of great options. Korean cinema has a long history of creating groundbreaking movies with international acclaim, and it's a pleasure to see so many gripping movies coming out one after the other in 2022.
Searching for something romantic? Stream Tune in for Love. Are thrillers and horror movies more your thing? Try The Call, which features both time travel and a serial killer. Looking for a flick that's outside the box? The award-winning Okja by Parasite's Bong Joon-ho is genre-defying. Or, perhaps you're seeking a fun and raunchy comedy, like Seoul Searching, because we could all use a laugh right about now. Plus, there's no barrier to entry because all those movies can be streamed with English audio and subtitles. From arthouse films, to big budget options, and critically-acclaimed picks featuring beloved stars, here are the best Korean movies on Netflix you can watch right now.
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The Pirates 2022
A highly entertaining movie that just recently came out in 2022, "The Pirates, The Last Royal Treasure" on Netflix is a remake (or a sequel) of the original "The Pirates" movie from 2014. We love to see a strong female lead fight the seas and the many opposing teams all trying to get their hands on the treasure lost in the ocean.
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Illang: The Wolf Brigade 2018
While this movie is fiction and set in the (not so far) future, it sends chills down the spine due to its not-so-unlikely scenarios of war, political conflict, and abuses of power. Illang paints a scenario where North and South Korea agree to temporarily re-unify to protect themselves from the ever-growing military powers of Japan, China, and Russia. Economic depression, domestic terror groups, and special police forces are born as a result, and the never ending realities of political conflict unfold in all the wrong ways.
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Black Pink Light Up The Sky 2020
Before Korean movies truly became globalized, it was K-pop that paved their way into western mainstream media. Blackpink is one of the most influential girl groups in Korea, and this documentary not only gives you an exclusive behind the scenes look at their musical career, but a huge understanding of Korea and Korean music culture.
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The 8th Night 2021
If you are into some serious thrillers, then The 8th Night is for you. Your eyes will stayed glued to the screen as you follow the ancient and evil spirit (visualized as a red eye ball) that was summoned to reunite with its other half (a black eye) so it could fully awaken. In order to do so, it finds a home in seven different people, taking their lives in pursuit.
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Love and Leashes 2022
Love an office romance? This interesting take on a BDSM relationship might delight you with all its taboo and no-go romance. The story follows two coworkers who fall into a contractual relationship in consensual play, doing their best to not get their feelings involved...
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Time to Hunt (2020)
Transport yourself into a dystopian version of South Korea as you follow a young gang of friends who are planning a big heist after a financial collapse. The action-packed scenes in this psychological thriller will keep you breathless, while the coming-of-age story will emotionally reel you in.
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Shortly after its release online, Alive reached the #1 spot on Netflix's Top 10 list. If you loved Train to Busan or Sweet Home, this Korean zombie thriller will delight. The movie follows the life of a loner millennial video gamer who has to fight for his survival as the world around him turns into an apocalyptic zombie nightmare. Despite the horror, the film paints a picture of how to keep hope alive, even in very desperate times.
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Tune in for Love (2019)
In the mood for a nostalgic romance? Tune in for Love, which topped the Korean box office, is a slow-moving, intimate and heartfelt film chronicling the love story of two teens who met in the middle of the devastating IMF financial crisis in the 1990s. As the obstacles of adulthood and life pull them apart—can fate eventually bring them back together?
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Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019)
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The Drug King (2018)
If, like Brad Pitt, you're a fan of Parasite lead actor Song Kang-ho, you'll want to see him in The Drug King. Telling the story of how a simple smuggler rose to become a narcotics king pin in the port city of Busan in the 1970s, this gritty, wild gangster movie has moments of levity amid the darkness.
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Fans of superhero movies, this is for you. Psychokinesis tells the story of a father (a bank teller who obtains telekinetic powers after drinking contaminated spring water) who decides to help his estranged daughter save their neighborhood from an evil company, ultimately repairing their father-daughter bond. It's unconventional and it's strange, but watching a superhero dad trying to save his little girl is ultimately very compelling.
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Fans of Bong Joon-ho might already know about this genre-defying visionary film Okja, starring child actress Ahn Seo-hyun alongside Parasite actor Choi Woo-shik and big Hollywood names like Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. Named as one of the New York Times' 10 Most Influential Films of the Decade, the Netflix release is about a young girl, her genetically modified massive pig, and their fight against corporate greed.
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Steel Rain (2017)
Steel Rain is a jam-packed political action thriller telling the story of a North Korean agent and the country's Supreme Leader defecting to the South amid a coup. While being hunted by the North, the former agent works with South Korea to help prevent a disastrous nuclear war.
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The Bros (2017)
A hilarious intro into Korean comedies, The Bros tells the story of two brothers—living totally separate lives—who are reunited at their father's funeral. Their witty sibling rivalry, a mysterious young lady, and newly discovered family secrets come together to create a quirky but entertaining slapstick comedy.
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If you're a fan of psychological thrillers, Forgotten is an unpredictable masterpiece. Shrouded in tragedy, with shocking plot twists and edge-of-your-seat intensity—the film tells the story of a young boy's fight for the truth after his older brother went went missing for 19 days and returned a different man. That's all we'll say, because the less you know the better!
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What happens when an earthquake causes a nuclear power plant to explode? Pandora is a disaster film that depicts a nation in panic, the serious consequences of government and corporate malpractice, and a fight to save as many loved ones as possible.
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26 Years (2012)
South Korea has a long history of protests and fights for democracy, and this film is about perhaps one of the most tragic of those events: the May 18, 1980 Gwangju uprising where hundreds of citizens were killed. Depicting a fictional story set 26 years after the massacre, five characters from totally different walks of life band together and plot to capture and convict the person responsible for the massive loss of life decades ago.
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As the saying goes, Don't pick up the phone. Because you might not like the message you hear on the other side. In The Call, a woman receives a phone call...from the future. Both women on the line lived in the same house—one in 1999, and one in 2019. They use their connection to help do each other change their fates. But a killer knows about the time warp, too, leading to a dangerous entanglement.
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Shim Duk-soo (Baek Yoon-sik) is not popular in his neighborhood. The grumpy landlord is better known for harassing people for rent money than being a kindly neighbor. But when his neighbors start being killed, one by one, Duk-soo remembers a similar crime that took place 30 years ago. He teams up with a detective to find out who, in his own neighborhood, is perpetrating these crimes. The Chase is a thriller with two 70-somethings in the lead roles.
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The more time university professor Jang Tae-jun (Park Hae-il) and his wife, gallerist Oh Su-yeon (Soo Ae), spend with members of "high society," the less they like them. But still: Tae-jun and Su-yeon long to be accepted in this social circle. This black comedy shows the lengths people will go to in order to gain status, and what they lose in the process.
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Tune in For Love
Tune in For Love plays with the way important people weave in and out of our lives. The first time Mi-Soo (Kim Go-Eun) and Hyun-Woo (Jung Hae-In) meet in 1994, he's just been released from a juvenile detention facility, and is hired to work in her bakery. They mean something to each other—but the timing isn't right for anything to blossom. Again and again, Mi-Soo and Hyun-Woo meet. Will they ever get it right? Watch to find out how this relatable premise resolves itself.
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Night in Paradise
It's not a spoiler to say that paradise is nowhere to be found in this Korean gangster movie. The violent sequence at the start of the movie—in which a gang coordinates the murder of a rival member's family—sets the tone. After seeing his sister and niece killed, Tae-goo (Um Tae-goo) escapes to a small island, knowing he could be next. There, he meets a woman with her own heartache. Is there room for tenderness and connection in Tae-goo's world, ruled by violence and revenge?
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Perfect for fans of K-pop, sweet LGBTQ romance set in the music industry stars two actual singers in the leading roles. In Wish You, a keyboardist Sang-i (Sang Lee) is struck by the talent of a street musician, Kang In-su (Kang Ye Na), and finds a way to work with him. If you're looking for two earnest characters and lots of yearning, just press play.
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Like many other Korean movies, Space Sweepers is concerned with the ills of human society, but the setting is unique: A space ship in the year 2092, after the planet has become nearly uninhabitable because of those ills. The movie's four main characters are "space sweepers," who clean up what the wealthier galactic travelers leave behind. Their desperation compels them to attempt the trade of a humanoid, who also happens to be a weapon of mass destruction. Human problems follow the crew, even as they go far, far away from earth.