Gong Yoo stars in the South Korean zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho

‘Train to Busan’ – Korean zombie classic on Amazon Prime Video and more

You could call Train to Busan (South Korea, 2016) “Zombies on a Train”—it certainly makes a catchy logline and it frames the premise accurately and succinctly—but it reduces this fleet, fierce, unexpectedly human thriller to a mere gimmick. Apart from the slyly eerie prologue, the film opens without any hint of the viral rampage to […]

Kwak Do-won stars in Na Hong-jin South Korean thriller The Wailing

‘The Wailing’ – South Korean horror on Netflix

The Wailing (South Korea, 2016) is a thriller that takes a dark turn into supernatural horror. Kwak Do-won is Jong-goo, a somewhat dim underachiever cop who is way over his head investigating a double homicide in his little town. Jong-goo isn’t too bright but he’s a doting father to his smart little girl and there’s […]

‘The Mimic’ on Amazon Prime and Shudder

The ghost story The Mimic (South Korea, 2017) draws its premise a Korean myth of a tiger that mimics human voices to lure its victims into the forest, but it goes its own way from there. Hee-yun (Yum Jung-ah), still grieving over the unsolved disappearance of her son, moves from the city to her rural […]

Bong Joon-ho's 2006 South Korean monster movie 'The Host'

‘The Host’ – Bong Joon-ho’s monster mash on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Criterion Channel

The Host (2006), Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean monster movie hit, is neither a parody, subversion, or revision of the often campy horror movie genre. It stirs a stew of genre conventions, from political commentary to dysfunctional family satire to earnest emotional pathos, into an often thrilling monster movie as indebted to the B-movies of seventies American […]

‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ – a South Korean ghost story on Criterion Channel and Shudder

Ji-woon Kim has proven himself one of the most interesting and versatile filmmakers to come out of South Korea in the past two decades with such films as The Quiet Family (1998), The Good the Bad the Weird (2008), and I Saw the Devil (2010). With the haunting A Tale of Two Sisters (South Korea, […]

Korean action epic ‘The Great Battle’ on Netflix

Grandly mounted and filled with sweeping battle scenes, the costume battle epic The Great Battle (South Korea, 2018), retells the true story of the invasion of Goguryeo, a kingdom on the Korean peninsula, by the Chinese Yang Empire in the 600s. Korean pop star Zo In-sung stars as General Yang, the commander of the Ansi […]

Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, and Kang-ho Song in the Korean action blast from Kim Jee-Woon

‘The Good, the Bad, the Weird’- Kim Jee-won’s “Oriental Western” on Hulu

Kim Jee-won’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (South Korea, 2008) is a self-proclaimed “Oriental Western.” That about pegs this treasure hunt right out of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by way of Peking Opera Blues and Dragon Gate Inn, set in thirties Manchuria and filled with Korean expatriates, Chinese bandits, Japanese occupiers, […]

Bong Joon-ho stars in the gangster thriller from South Korea

‘The Man from Nowhere’ – South Korean vengeance on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The Man from Nowhere (South Korea, 2010) – South Korea’s top box office hit of 2010 is as slick and swift an underworld thriller as you’ll find. Matinee idol Won Bin (of Bong Joon-ho’s Mother) is a shaggy pawn shop proprietor in a miserable slum hiding from his past life as a highly-trained government agent […]

Kim Ok-bin stars in the South Korean action hit from Byung-gil Jung

‘The Villainess’ – a ferocious South Korean Nikita on Hulu

The Villainess (South Korea, 2017) is not a remake of La Femme Nikita but it is surely built from the DNA of that defining action classic. It opens on an amazing action sequence, a seemingly unbroken take from the jittery POV of some ferocious but still-unseen fighter wiping out armies of thugs with bullets, knives, […]