This just in: K-dramas are well, *well* worth the subtitles. And while you’re probs aware of the many fantastic Korean drama series on Netflix rn—like Squid Game, Sweet Home, Kingdom, and All of Us Are Dead, among MANY others—we think it’s time to hype up all the Korean thriller movies that Netflix has to offer. Whether you’re into spy movies, survival dramas, or high-octane sci-fi flicks, there are Korean thrillers for everyone, and we’ve got all the best ones available to stream on Netflix at this very moment. You’re welcome!
If you’re looking for movies directed by big names like Park Hoon-jung, Ryoo Seung-wan, and Hwang Dong-hyuk (and packed with your favorite actors from Squid Game, Parasite, and Hellbound), then read on for all the best Korean thriller movies on Netflix right TF now…and if you’re looking for something a tad more chill, pls turn your attention to our Korean romance movie recs.
1 Yaksha: Ruthless Operations (2022)
Starring Squid Game‘s Park Hae-soo, this spy thriller takes place in Shenyang, China, following an espionage agency’s Black Ops team and the former prosecutor who’s tasked with inspecting them.
Set in the year 2092, this sci-fi drama (which is considered the first-ever Korean space blockbuster) revolves around four misfits who attempt to trade a young little humanoid, only to discover that she may actually be a deadly weapon in disguise.
3 Night in Paradise (2021)
In this K-drama, a mobster hiding out in Jeju Island following a tragedy starts to develop a relationship with a woman…though he doesn’t realize that she happens to be battling some demons of her own.
In this supernatural mystery thriller, a young monk sets out to stop the resurrection of an evil spirit, which has been locked up for 2,500 years and will continue tormenting and possessing humans if successfully awakened.
This psychological thriller tells the story of a young woman who—after returning to the house where she once lived—discovers a mysterious phone, which allows her to talk to the person who lived in the same house 20 years earlier. Oh, and that person happens to be a serial killer.
Hellbound‘s Yoo Ah-in stars in this zombie thriller as a gamer who finds himself struggling to survive amid a gruesome zombie apocalypse in Seoul. The only thing keeping him going: a mysterious fellow survivor living in the opposite apartment building.
7 The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure (2022)
This sequel to 2014’s The Pirates takes place during the Joseon dynasty, following a crew of pirates as they attempt to hunt down a collection of royal treasures that have supposedly disappeared without a trace.
Time to Hunt is a dystopian action thriller revolving around a group of friends (including Parasite‘s Choi Woo-shik) who manage to pull off an ambitious heist…but then find themselves pursued by a mysterious assassin (played by Park Hae-soo).
9 Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019)
In this occult thriller, a Buddhist monk (played by Squid Game‘s Lee Jung-jae) is hired to look into a cult group known as Deer Mount. At the same time, a police captain investigates a murder case that he suspects is tied to a member of the Deer Mount cult.
10 Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021)
This special movie-length episode of Netflix’s popular K-drama Kingdom serves as a prequel to the series, telling the story of Ashin, a former spy for the Joseon kingdom who’s introduced at the end of season two. Tbh, even if you’ve never seen Kingdom, it’s still a fun watch.
In this action thriller, a North Korean special forces agent decides to defect to the south with an injured leader during a coup in order to keep the leader alive…oh, and also to prevent a nuclear war.
Love sci-fi thrillers? Then you’ll love this flick, which revolves around a young investigative journalist and single father who—after unsuccessfully searching for his abducted son for three years—attempts to track down his missing child through lucid dreams (hence the title).
Set in the 17th century during the Qing invasion of Joseon, this historical drama follows the real-life story of King Injo and his retainers as they hold down Namhansanseong fortress and debate whether to fight or keep peace with the Qing dynasty.
14 The Battleship Island (2017)
Another thrilling historical drama, The Battleship Island takes place during Imperial Japan’s occupation of Korea during World War II, telling the story of a forced labor camp on Hashima Island and the daring escape attempt made by a group of prisoners.
In this action crime flick, a police captain is put in an impossible situation after the lead suspect in a high-profile serial murder case is killed. His mission: Set up a fall guy to take the blame instead.
Parasite‘s Song Kang-ho stars in this crime drama as real-life drug smuggler Lee Hwang-soon, who built up his drug empire in Busan during the 1970s and accumulated HUGE amounts of wealth in the process.
In this psychological thriller, a young man named Jin-seok witnesses his older brother getting abducted soon after moving into their new home…and though the brother returns to their family 19 days later, it becomes clear to Jin-seok that his brother is no longer the same person.
If you love a good disaster film, then you’ve gotta give Pandora a watch. In it, a young man leaps into action after an earthquake strikes his small town…which happens to house a run-down nuclear power plant.
19 The Witch: Subversion (2018)
In this mysterious horror flick, a young woman who escaped from a government facility as a child (yet has no memories of this) must finally face her past when—10 years later—she appears on a TV competition series, causing strange men to come after her. FYI, the sequel was just released in June 2022, so there’s no better time to watch this one.
20 Illang: The Wolf Brigade (2018)
Set in 2029, this wild sci-fi thriller imagines South and North Korea preparing for a unified government, complete with a special South Korean police unit that must keep the terrorists trying to prevent the unification at bay.
21 The Reservoir Game (2017)
Though technically a documentary, The Reservoir Game feels more like a thriller movie, since it follows an investigative reporter as he attempts to expose the slush fund of former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.
This thrilling drama tells the story of a married couple—a professor and an art curator—who consider just how far they’re willing to go (and just how much they’re willing to compromise their personal ethics) while the husband is running for the National Assembly.
23 The Berlin File (2013)
Set in Berlin, this action thriller revolves around a North Korean “ghost” agent who accidentally exposes a weapons deal, which gets him into hot water with both the South Koreans and his own bosses.
Based on the novel The Crucible by Gong Ji-young (as well as the real-life events that took place at Gwangju Inhwa School for the Deaf), this crime drama follows a newly-appointed art teacher as he uncovers the sexual and physical abuse taking place at the school, which is for hearing impaired children.
Psychokinesis is considered the first South Korean superhero film, following a bank security guard who—after drinking water from a mountain spring affected by a meteor—finds that he now has telekinetic powers, which he decides to use for good.
In this crime thriller, a grumpy landlord reluctantly agrees to team up with a detective to revive a 30-year-old cold case after several people in his town mysteriously turn up dead.
27 Jo Pil-ho: The Dawning Rage (2018)
Starring Parasite‘s Lee Sun-kyun, this action thriller tells the story of a corrupt cop who recruits a teen to help uncover a major conspiracy after he becomes a suspect in a police warehouse explosion.
This thrilling action flick revolves around a no-nonsense detective embroiled in a high-profile case and the arrogant young millionaire (who also happens to be heir to a powerful conglomerate) pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Set in the near future, Revenger tells the story of a man who—in order to avenge his family—purposefully gets himself sent to a terrifying prison island housing dangerous criminals.
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