Best Korean Zombie Movies

James Lee
• Thursday, 24 December, 2020
• 10 min read

One of the biggest theatrical releases of 2020 belongs to Sang-ho Leon's zombie film Peninsula, the much-anticipated follow up to the superb 2016 outing Train to Susan. The standalone sequel continues four years after the events of the first film, as a former soldier named Jung Seek (Dong-Won Gang) is tasked with capturing a truckload of money from the Korean Peninsula.

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When the government declares Martial Law in order to quarantine its citizens and trace the source of the outbreak, several heroic civilians set out to help hide and feed the inflicted while searching for a vaccine. Following a home invasion tale, an escaped convict story, and a cautionary parable about plastic surgery, the film ends with a mortifying zombie onslaught.

Directed by KOK and Sun Kim, Ambulance on the Death Zone features a little girl who morphs into a mouth-foaming zombie after succumbing to an unknown infection. A viral zombie pandemic is given a satirical bent in one chapter of Doomsday Book, a three-part horror omnibus from directors Aimee Won and Piloting Him.

In Him's tale A Brave New World, a nerdy scientist throws a contaminated apple in the garbage disposal, which in turn makes its way into the feeding trough for local cows. Despite the smashing success it continues to enjoy around the globe, Peninsula is rated far lower than its breakout predecessor, Train to Susan.

Jung Seek (Dong-Won Gang) is an ex-soldier who accepts a mission to lead his squadron into the wastelands of the South Korean Peninsula to obtain a truck full of cash. Directed by Train to Busan's Sang-ho Leon and released the same year, Seoul Station is an animated feature-length zombie outing that serves as a prequel to the live-action horror hit.

Released in South Korea on June 24, 2021, IL CHO's action-packed zombie outing #Alive is already turning heads and winning hearts. The fate of the city is left in the hands of Oh Okonkwo (Ah-In Yew), a secluded gamer who must remain hunkered down in his flat and fend off droves of home-invading zombies.

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As Lee Chung spars with Kim Jackson, the Jose on Minister of War, a relentless attack of gore-sodden “night demons” threatens to annihilate the entire region. More in the vein of the dark cop-thriller Se7en than a zombie romp by George A. Romero, The Wailing tracks a series of supernatural occurrences that plague a small fishing town upon the arrival of a mysterious stranger.

Filled with twists, action, and hordes of zombies, the horror blockbuster received an animated prequel, Seoul Station, and a sequel titled Peninsula, slated for a summer 2020 release. Rampant takes place in the Jose on Dynasty and follows the journey of Prince Lee Chung as he faces off against the Minster of War Kim Jackson.

The movies zombies are named 'night demons,' strange monsters from the Europeans that spread infection by bite. These two simultaneous conflicts collide leading to an action packed zombie period piece.

One day Mandela is bitten by a strange man entering their village which leads to some unforeseen circumstances. The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale plays around with the genre by adding elements of comedy, romance, and action instead of being a straight up horror movie.

The movie grossed 1.9 million in the box office and has an 85% Tomato meter score on Rotten Tomatoes. Released only one month after its predecessor, Seoul Station takes place right before Train to Susan, and shows the spread of the zombie threat.

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The standalone sequel continues four years after the events of the first film, as a former soldier named Jung Seek (Dong-Won Gang) is tasked with capturing a truckload of money from the Korean Peninsula. Any good disaster movie will keep its viewers glued to their seats; there are always multiple storylines going on while featuring a large cast and a tremendous set, all the while following the conventional main heroes as they try to escape or inspire others to cope with the disasters.

Although it doesn’t happen too often in Hollywood disaster movies, some South Korean movies do see their heroes dying, making them tear-jerking. Tidal Wave (2009) Considered as South Korea’s first disaster film, this movie received more than 11 million admissions nationwide.

2. Deranged (2012) While Tidal Wave was South Korea’s first disaster movie, this one is the country’s first medical thriller on an infectious disease epidemic. It is a fatal outbreak of mutant parasitic horsehair worms that can control the human brain.

Flu (2013) Imagine a scarier and deadlier strain of H5N1 influenza virus that could kill its victims within 36 hours… and then throw in the human factor. Directed by King Songs, the movie stars Gang Yuk and Sew AE.

In this film, a fire breaks out in a luxury skyscraper in central Seoul on Christmas Eve. Like most disaster movies, this is a story of bravery as the manager Daewoo (Kim Sang-kyung) tries to save his loved ones and colleagues from the fire.

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(Source: www.imdb.com)

Here, he plays an ambitious news anchorman Young-hwa who monopolizes the live broadcast of a terrorist attack following the explosion of Map Bridge on the Han river. The plot takes place mostly on a train to Susan as a zombie apocalypse breaks out in the country.

From Gong Yoo’s acting as Seok-woo, a fund manager who is obsessed with his work to Kim Unsung as the selfish businessman, every character carries their own weight making the movie interesting to watch. Exit (2019) When disaster strikes, it is natural for humans to use every knowledge or skill they know in order to survive.

In this movie, the main character Yong-nam (Jo Jong-un) uses his rock climbing skills to save everyone from a mysterious white gas covering Seoul. Starred Gong Yew, Jung Yuri and Ma Dong-seok, the movie takes place on a train to Susan as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out.

Seoul Station (2016) If you're wondering how did the events in Train to Susan unfold, then you need to watch its prequel animated zombie film. Released a month later after Train to Susan, Seoul Station (2016) revolves around a young runaway woman named Henson.

While a father-daughter reunion is about to take place, a zombie epidemic conveniently breaks out in Seoul. Since it is set during the Jose on dynasty, you can imagine there would be horse riding, sword fighting, some archery skills in the movie.

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The story circles around a prince named Lee Chung (Hymn Bin) who was given to the Qing empire as a political hostage. Though the plot is predictable (you basically know which one is the bad guy and who is going to sacrifice himself in the end), this Korean zombie movie is still worth to watch.

This zombie comedy film revolves around the Park family who resides in a peaceful rural town. It tells the story of Crown Prince I Chang (JU Typhoon) who becomes embroiled in a political coup.

While investigating about what happened in the palace, the prince embarks in journey that takes him right into a zombie epidemic. On top of the exciting plots which keeps audience on their toes, we cannot help but notice the picturesque cinematography.

Korean title: | Released: 2013 | Horror Sub-Genre: Mystery, Thriller | Starring: Son Byung-soo, Moon Jungle, Jean Mission This horror mystery was a surprise hit that topped South Korea’s box office upon its opening, despite not having high profile stars.

Our next top Korean horror movie is a found footage flick: ONIAM: Haunted Asylum. This movie has a pretty apt title; it centers on a group of YouTubers who decide to explore an abandoned psychiatric hospital.

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As you might expect: creepy supernatural occurrences start happening, and the YouTubers find themselves scared stiff as the situation deteriorates. The film is also based on a real location: the ONIAM Psychiatric Hospital in Kwangju, which CNN named as one the 10 freakiest places in the world.

Korean title: | Released: 2004 | Horror Sub-Genre: War, Action, Psychological | Starring: Km Woo-sung, Son Bongo In R-Point, a group of South Korean soldiers near NHA Trans receive a distress call from a missing platoon that everyone thought was dead.

A squad of nine soldiers sets off to rescue the platoon, but encounter a tombstone that leads to a series of mysterious and creepy events. The premise isn’t R-Point’s only selling point though: it has an intelligently written story, well-shot visuals, and offers a valuable non-American perspective on a conflict whose traumas still afflict South Korea to this day.

Korean title: | Released: 2010 | Horror Sub-Genre: Thriller, Revenge | Starring: SEO Younger, Hi Sung-won This revenge horror thriller was an unexpected box office success upon its premiere in 2010, and offers a captivating unique narrative.

Bedeviled centers on a woman named Bokmål who lives on a small, isolated island off South Korea’s southern coast. Life isn’t great: her husband abuses her, and the other islanders harbor regressive social attitudes and constantly berate her.

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Korean title: | Released: 2016 | Horror Sub-Genre: Mystery, Thriller | Starring: SWAK Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chen Woo-hoo After a mysterious Japanese stranger arrives in the mountainous village of Ginseng, unsettling events begin happening.

Exhausted police officer Jong-il has been investigating violent murders around the village, and begins to think there’s a connection with the Japanese stranger. Amidst well-filmed natural scenery, The Wailing creates a palpable sense of dread and blends numerous frightening phenomena without seeming overwrought.

This parallels real life Korea-Japan tensions that continue to flare up to this day and find their way into numerous other Korean films. Centers on a young man named Lee Byeong-gu who thinks aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy are about to attack Earth.

Lee and Choir offer excellent performances, showing how both their characters begin to descend into madness as the blood flows. This vampire-themed horror thriller won the prestigious Jury Prize at 2009’s Cannes Film Festival, and enjoyed box office success upon its wide release.

In Thirst, a Catholic priest (played by veteran actor Song Anglo) named Sang-hyun volunteers for an unsuccessful vaccine trial that leaves him with cravings for human blood. Song Anglo and lead actress Kim Ok-bin provide stirring, intense performances that pair with gorgeously stylized visuals to tell a story that’s both chilling and thought-provoking.

vampire island higanjima escape movie movies 2009 poster
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Inspired by a folktale from the Jose on Dynasty, A Tale of Two Sisters is another chilling, top-notch Korean horror film that enjoyed both box office and critical success. The film centers on a girl named Semi who returns to her family’s isolated country house after receiving treatment at a mental institution.

There’s a palpable sense of eeriness combined with chilling suspense, and the cast (including child actors for the girls) performs superbly. A stirring soundtrack further complements the film by adding a sense of wistful melancholy that few “traditional” horror movies have.

Korean title: | Released: 2016 | Horror Sub-Genre: Zombie, Action | Starring: Gong Yew, Ma Dong-seok, Jung Yuri It’s the rare kind of zombie and horror movie that entertains you with fights, but also makes you cry out of empathy with characters.

Korean title: | Released: 2016 | Horror Sub-Genre: Zombie, Animation | Starring: BYU Seung-ryong, Shim Eun-kyung, Lee John As the situation unravels, the father finds his daughter’s boyfriend; the two battle each other and zombies as the search continues and hidden secrets about each character slowly emerge.

In this 1985 film, a huge monster named Pulaski helps peasants fight against their feudal overlords, but starts getting out of control. Some interpret this story as a critique of unchecked capitalism, while we’ve thought about Pulaski as a metaphor for nuclear weapons.

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