Woo-sik Choi, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, and So-dam Park in Parasite / Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment
Woo-sik Choi, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, and So-dam Park in Parasite / Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment

Bong Joon Ho is without a doubt one of the most talented directors our generation has seen. His work on Parasite has been critically-acclaimed, with the filmmaker earning awards and nominations from the likes of the Academy, the Golden Globes and many more.

After taking home the prize for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, the director said through his translator: "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films. Just being nominated along with fellow amazing international filmmakers was a huge honour. I think we use only one language: the cinema."

This got us thinking, as well as Parasite, what other brilliant Korean thrillers have we been missing out on throughout all these years? Has our ignorance led us to leave behind some of the best cinematic experiences of the past few decades?

If you want to delve into Korean cinema, and in particular some gritty, brilliant Korean thrillers, then we've got six great suggestions for you to start with...

6. The Handmaiden (2016)

Directed by Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden never lets up in its unrelenting and mind-bending challenges to its audience. Giving away too much would do the film a dishonour, but what we can say is that the slick screenplay and excellent performances make for one heck of a viewing experience. Strap in tight!

5. Confession of Murder (2012)

When a killer decides to give their confession 17 years after the fact, authorities are happy to finally have their case solved, but when a new spree begins, it's up to a police officer and the mother of one of the victims to catch the person responsible. This is one of the most intense games of cat-and-mouse I've seen played out in cinema, with intensity ramped up as each scene goes by. Jeong Byeong-Gil sits in the director's chair.

4. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Kim Jee-woon directs using a screenplay from Park Hoon-jung, in one of the most terrifying South Korean thrillers the world has ever seen. The plot follows a secret agent who is tasked with taking down a taxi driver who's preying on women. The initial capture of the fiend is just the beginning, however. This is one you've gotta see to believe!

3. The Terror Live (2013)

Taking a call live on air probably isn't the most professional thing a top national news anchor can do, but in The Terror Live, our lead character has no choice. After being demoted to radio news, a terrorist calls the reporter, with whom he strikes an exclusivity deal so he can gain back his original position. Demands are made of the anchor, with ratings going up, but at what price? Kim Byung-woo directs this tense and slick thriller.

2. The Wailing (2016)

Leaning into the horror genre, The Wailing is a gory affair that's not for the faint of heart! Director Na Hong-jin takes us on an adventure that envelops the audience in tension and suspense from the very beginning, right through to its shocking end. Some incredible performances really help elevate this one's level of brilliance.

1. Mother (2009)

Another film from Parasite director Bong Joon Ho here, with the fantastic Mother. Unlike any other crime thriller we've seen, the film is unrelenting in its desire to stun the audience into submission. Just how far would a mother go when it comes to their unconditional love for their child? That's the question being asked here. The answer? Watch and find out...

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
find me on and follow me on

Tagged in