7 Powerful Korean Works To Watch If You Enjoyed “Hellbound”
Following the smashing success that “Squid Game” garnered this year, “Hellbound” also achieved significant popularity worldwide. The plot follows a number of people who have been contacted by a celestial being who informs them of the date and time of their death while condemning them to hell. This supernatural phenomenon sends the world into chaos, as citizens start being hunted down even for the pettiest sins. The mind-boggling question is: What actually happens when your time on Earth is up?
If you’re a fan of apocalyptic storylines, you will love the selection of Korean movies and dramas below. Enjoy!
1. “Save Me”
“Save Me” is about a broke family who moves to the suburbs to start a new life. They are welcomed by a religious group who helps them settle down, showing them kindness and generosity. Soon after, they find themselves amidst a cult with sinister secrets. Trapped between her delusional parents and bullied brother, Im Sang Mi (Seo Ye Ji) seeks the help of classmate Han Sang Hwan (Taecyeon) to save her from this infernal trap.
Just like “Hellbound,” this drama digs deep into the underlying fraud that is represented in religious cults, which heavily relies on the false idea of preparing for salvation in apocalyptic times. Joined by a handful of talented actors, Seo Ye Ji and Taecyeon showed outstanding performances as they both brought their characters to life. Not only did they fully capture the audience’s attention while playing their respective roles, but one might even forget for a second that they are only actors.
There are many speculations about what happens when you die. In this plot, each individual must take on a series of trials to save their soul from hell and redeem their soul. Such is the case for Kim Ja Hong (Cha Tae Hyun), a firefighter passed away while on duty. His journey is chaperoned by three guardians: Gang Rim (Ha Jung Woo), Hae Won Maek (Joo Ji Hoon), and Lee Deok Choon (Kim Hyang Gi).
Every second from start to finish is breathtaking, with the actors doing stellar jobs embodying their respective characters, and every displayed emotion can be vividly felt by the viewer. Furthermore, the storyline is so intense that if you blink, you might miss out on so much. And the best part? This is but one of two parts that have been released so far.
Watch “Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds” now:
In this “Along With The Gods” sequel, redemption is not only reserved for human beings. The guardians have a mission of their own: guiding their 49th soul through the trials for a chance of regaining their souls, freedom, and blocked memories. This time, Ma Dong Seok joins the cast as Seongju and delivers a powerful portrayal that is comic, emotional, and equally action-driven.
As if the incredible cinematography, script, and acting are not reasons enough to watch this movie and its predecessor, the bundle of messages and life lessons contained in this masterpiece is something to incorporate in one’s daily journey on Earth.
Watch “Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days” now:
Four years after the events of “Train to Busan,” this stand-alone thriller shows the post-apocalyptic mess that has been roaming the planet following the poison outbreak. A former soldier, a crooked militia, and a surviving family cross paths on the wastelands of the Korean peninsula, where zombies are not the only life-threatening danger.
The movie stars Kang Dong Won as Jung Seok, a former Marine Corps Captain, Lee Jung Hyun as Min Jung, a member of the surviving family, and Kim Min Jae as Sergeant Hwang among others. The ensemble stayed true to their characters to the letter, diving viewers back once more into a world overcome by zombies, fear, and survivor’s guilt.
Watch “Peninsula” now:
Although the apocalypse is supposed to happen at the end of time, it has been hinted at throughout history every time a disaster hits. In the Joseon era, a crown prince discovers that an infestation befell his country, and he decides to investigate its source in order to eradicate it and save his people from eventual doom.
The “Kingdom” saga includes two full seasons and a prequel, all released on Netflix. The star-studded lineup includes Joo Ji Hoon, Bae Doona, Kim Sung Kyu, Jeon Suk Ho, Ryu Seung Ryong, Kim Hye Joon, Kim Sang Ho, Heo Joon Ho, and Jun Ji Hyun. The drama was critically acclaimed and a commercial success.
Oh Joon Woo (Yoo Ah In) finds himself trapped alone inside his family home when an uncanny plague starts taking people down one by one. Stuck indoors without food or water and with no way to contact his family as all signals died, he loses all hope and decides to put an end to his misery. His mind changes when he spots another survivor across the street from his building, Kim Yoo Bin (Park Shin Hye). The two team up and watch each other’s backs, leaving their faith in the hands of a social media post.
Zombies. Survival. Apocalypse. It seems that this triad has been a leading trend in Korean works over the years, and each release outshines the one before it. Surely, having Park Shin Hye and Yoo Ah In definitely puts this movie on the map, and their performances keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
7. “The Wailing”
The sudden arrival of a Japanese man disturbs the peace of a remote Korean village. For some reason, villagers start showing infection-induced symptoms that eventually drive them to murder their own families. Jong Goo (Kwak Do Won), a policeman, starts investigating these mysterious happenings, but when his bed-ridden daughter also develops the same symptoms, he becomes determined to put an end to this calamity once and for all. A shaman named Il Gwang (Hwang Jung Min) and a mysterious lady (Chun Woo Hee) join Jong Goo in his quest to save the village from this apocalyptic-like fate.
If you’re a fan of horror movies, then this watch will keep you on the edge of your seat. There is not a dull moment throughout the entire film. The actors show incredible synergy through both their collective scenes and apart, thus proving once more that the cast perfectly fits the characters.
Watch “The Wailing” now:
Which apocalypse-themed Korean work is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.