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10 Must-See Korean Films on Netflix Instant Queue

UPDATE: This list was written in early 2014, so while some films are still available, some aren’t. But we have you covered: 5 Must-See Korean Films on Netflix Instant Queue — Winter / Spring 2015.

Korea has become more recognizable in the world of entertainment in the last few years. Everything from K-Pop, to K-Dramas have been gaining mainstream momentum in the west, dragging Korean films into the spotlight along with them.

If you’ve missed out, Netflix has made a fantastic array available on instant queue, and here’s a few to start off with. [Keep in mind, Netflix rotates their instant queue films constantly, meaning these films could be up for the next week, month, or year.]

The Man from Nowhere — 아저씨 (2010)

An ex-hit man turned pawn shop owner who tends to keep to himself races to save the only person who cares for him — a handicapped little girl with a drug-addict mother. [Think modern Korean version of Leon: The Professional.]

Woochi — 전우치 (2009)

Based on the folktale set in the darling child of Korea’s Joseon period, Taoist wizard Woochi is framed for his master’s murder and trapped inside a scroll. What was initially set as an eternity, Woochi escapes with his trusty dog-turned-human sidekick, and attempts to right the wrongs done to him and make it back to his time.

Oldboy — 올드보이 (2003)

As the second film in the Vengeance Trilogy, Oldboy is easily the most iconic Korean film in the west. Honestly, if you haven’t yet seen this film and have enough interest in Korean film to read this list, just stop reading and go watch it. No, not the 2013 Spike Lee version; that’s horrendous.

The Good, the Bad, the Weird — 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 (2008)

If ever you were to watch a spaghetti western, this should be the one. 2 vigilantes battle over a treasure map, dragging 1 bounty hunter along for the ride, while all 3 are chased down by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits. [Think The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly meets Kung Fu Hustle.]

Doomsday Book — 인류멸망보고서 (2012)

3 short stories document mankind’s end of days. Will doomsday come in the form of the zombie apocalypse, a meteor, or robots?

Bedevilled —  김복남 살인사건의 전말 (2010)

“So, I’ve got this great idea for a movie! Take this girl who’s completely cut-off from the rest of the world, and make every imaginably awful thing happen to her. Like, I’m talking as dark as you can go, guys,” presumably said the guy who came up with the plot of Bedevilled. It’s a difficult watch, to say the least, but stick in there for the second half as it’s violently rewarding. Fair warning: you will cringe quite a bit, and possibly get kind of depressed.

The Host — 괴물 (2006) 

Seoul’s Han River is just as polluted as any other major city river in the world. Well, all for the fact that it produces man-eating super monsters. Hands-down the best monster movie since Godzilla, The Host keeps it scary while maintaining its wit, making for one completely awesome Korean horror experience.

[Keep an eye out for the old guy from The Walking Dead.]

Sunny — 써니 (2011)

This one goes out to the ladies, well, anyone really who has a penchant for sappy dramatic comedy. A middle-aged woman attempts to fulfill her childhood friend’s dying wish of reuniting their close high school group of friends. The film flashes back and forth from their present day, sad…er, I mean, realistic lives to their happier days as bright-eyed teenagers.

White: The Melody of the Curse — 화이트: 저주의 멜로디 (2011)

The K-Pop girl group Pink Dolls stumble upon an old, unreleased dance routine and song on VHS in their new studio. Seeing as the girls are desperate for any popularity, they decide to make the song their own. Unfortunately for them, like all other VHS’ in Asia, it’s cursed.

The Chaser — 추격자 (2008)

When a pimp’s girls start consistently running away, something needs to be done to save his business. However, his girls aren’t running away. In fact, they’re not getting very far at all. [Think Oldboy style and pacing.]

Editor’s note: I watched The Chaser for the first time in early 2013 and haven’t stopped talking about it since. As someone who watches more than 500 films a year (no over-embellishing), I’m not often floored by a film. The Chaser was so absorbing, so exhilarating that I spent most of my viewing on the edge of the couch, chin in my hands, mouth agape. When you’ve watched as many films as I have, they start to lose their luster. I can’t stress enough how refreshing it was to actually feel my adrenaline pump from a movie again.

Cover image source: Reviews from the Abyss

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UPDATE: As of May 2014, Oldboy is no longer available on Instant Queue. However, as previously stated, Instant Queue is constantly changing titles and could possibly be seen again within the next year. Oldboy is currently streaming on Hulu Plus until June 30, 2014.

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Categories: Korean Films

Author:Jen

Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Another Castle | Twitter: @ComradeJen

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13 Comments on “10 Must-See Korean Films on Netflix Instant Queue”

  1. Stephen Huynh
    02/09/2014 at 7:21 PM #

    Great selection of some truly great k-films. But they’re all really dark and grim. Have you checked out some comedic k-films? One of my guilty pleasure films would have to be 200 Pounds Beauty! Haha :D

  2. Jen
    02/09/2014 at 7:41 PM #

    Thanks, Stephen!

    If we’re going to go pretty-Asian-actress-in-fat-suit route, I much prefer Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng’s ‘Love on a Diet’. I dug 200 Pounds Beauty but it was ultimately pretty forgettable. Literally, I’ve forgotten I watched it several times, looked at the description, and realized I did.

    There actually is a severe lack K-Comedy on Netflix Instant; well, anything more than dark and grim. I’d love for more people to know Cha Tae Hyun’s work (Speedy Scandal, My Sassy Girl, Hello Ghost) through the Netflix platform, however, it’s kind of grasping for straws there.

  3. Selvam, Sivagangai
    07/15/2014 at 3:35 AM #

    Mother (2009)

  4. 07/15/2014 at 5:45 PM #

    Noticed they just put that back up. Awesome movie! Will definitely see that one on our next list! Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. erin
    09/12/2014 at 1:31 AM #

    must see No Mercy

  6. Chopz
    11/23/2014 at 6:36 PM #

    I Saw The Devil!! Hands down the best thriller I’ve seen since 7even

  7. 11/23/2014 at 7:07 PM #

    It is pretty good. It made it to our ‘5 Must-See Asian …’ list as it was available for streaming after the Korean one. http://thisisanothercastle.com/2014/07/19/5-must-see-asian-films-on-netflix-instant-queue/

    Thanks for reading!

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