2019 was the year I discovered South Korean horror, with Train to Busan and The Wailing being among my favorite films watches that year.
In 2020, the love continued. The South Korean film industry continues to produce entertaining films of high quality that rival the best films of any nation. This is a look at some favorites.
A historical zombie TV show that takes zombie stories in a fresh direction. There’s a lot of political intrigue and some amazing characters who have you rooting for them all the way through. Plus, the bad guys (and gals) aren’t just the undead. This series is on Netflix and I will be supremely pissed if it isn’t renewed for a third season.
A 2018 historical zombie film that has a lot in common with Kingdom. There’s political intrigue and human bad guys and an infestation in the countryside, with a prince trying to help the villagers fighting to survive. There are also elements that are different from Kingdom, making this an entertaining action-packed zombie film fans of the genre will enjoy, whether they’ve watched Kingdom or not. Available on Hoopla.
The Divine Fury
This movie starts quietly, with a young boy and his dad sharing breakfast before they go to church. The boy hears something in the sermon that prompts him to ask his dad if he’d prayed for Mommy to live. There’s a lot of pain and confusion behind the question, and while Dad manages to answer the question without casting doubt on God, those seeds have been planted. When Dad (who is a police officer) dies in the line of duty, his son blames God.
Years later, that boy is a mixed martial arts fighter fueled by his anger with God. He’s tormented by demons and when he gets a mysterious wound on the palm of his hand, he seeks help. He’s told, “You’re screwed. You’re covered in demons.” He doesn’t give up, though, and meets a priest who performs exorcisms and they slowly form a friendship. He uses his mysterious wound to help the priest take on the Dark Bishop possessing people throughout the city.
The Dark Bishop could have been fleshed out and integrated into the story more effectively, but there’s still a really heartwarming story about a person coming to terms with their grief and faith. This movie is available on Hoopla.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
A group of filmmakers decide to explore a haunted asylum, and it doesn’t go well. This is one of those tight, creepy horror films that manages to weave in some jump scares and intriguing developments supported by the rumors surrounding the asylum.
This is a horror story that follows the events that occur when a monster starts attacking people. It features a dysfunctional family and one man’s quest for redemption when his child is taken by the monster. Can he find his courage, pull himself together, and save his family? The Host is a horror story with heart, and it isn’t too gory. It was released in 2006 but continues to find new fans.