(Photo by Well GO USA/courtesy Everett Collection)
If you gathered every Korean horror movie with a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and ranked them by their Tomatometer scores, you’d probably expect Train to Busan to be at the top of the list. And you’d be half-right! Crossover hit Busan set the new standard in zombie movies, but it’s the animated prequel Seoul Station with the highest Tomatometer score on the list, with a perfect 100%. Seoul Station, set before Train takes off, shows how the zombie outbreak began. Yeon Sang-ho directed both Seoul Station and Train to Busan, which is currently parked at third on the list with a 94% Certified Fresh score. The 2020 sequel, Peninsula, received mixed reviews: Its 49% Rotten score keeps it from ranking among the best of Korean horror.
Between Seoul Station and Train to Busan on the list is Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing, the supernatural mystery that leads a detective into a small town, where strange deaths have coincided with the arrival of a stranger. It has a formidable 99% Certified Fresh score, and releasing within the same time frame in America as Train to Busan made 2016 Korea’s year in horror. And rounding out the top five with a 91% score is Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, a huge hit in its native country when it came out in 2018. Haunted is a found-footage movie depicted as set in the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital, an actual abandoned, deteriorating asylum in Korea’s Gyeonggi Province, whose mythology of murdered patients and missing insane doctors attracts urban crawlers from all over the world.
(Photo by Tartan Films/courtesy Everett Collection)
Bong Joon-Ho, who recently won Best Picture for Parasite, became an international name with 2007’s The Host, his cheeky take on the ecological monster movie. With a 93% Certified Fresh score, it ranks with the likes of Busan and The Wailing.
And other movies contributing to Korea’s surge in horror include this year’s Netflix zombie movie #Alive, Oldboy Park Chan-wook’s take on the vampire legend in Thirst, and A Tale of Two Sisters, Korea’s highest-grossing horror movie ever. It was remade in 2009 as The Uninvited with Elizabeth Banks.
Discover more about the movies, and everything else that made the cut, with the best Korean horror movies of all time on Rotten Tomatoes.