5 Must-Watch Korean Movies on Viu
South Korean cinema has been steadily rising as one of the most distinguished film industries in the world. This was further solidified by the recent critical acclaim of Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho, which won four Oscars, including Best Picture.
When you don’t know what to watch next, take a deep dive into blockbuster Asian movies, specifically from South Korea. With films this good, you’ll surely seek out this side of cinema—even more as you immerse yourself into it. Check out this shortlist of must-see Korean movies available for viewing on Viu.
It’s only apt to start the list with the modern masterpiece that is Parasite. It’s a comedy without a comedian and a sidekick, a thriller without a man in a mask and a drama without theatrical monologues. Plus, there’s a great twist you won't see coming.
This Bong Joon-ho masterpiece shows the story of two families: the poverty-stricken Kim and the ridiculously wealthy Park. The Kims make their way in the service of the Parks, without the latter having any idea that the staff they hired is a family.
Apart from its Oscars nod, Parasite is the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, the highest recognition awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
2. Train to Busan
Zombie movies are widely popular around the world and South Korea’s Train to Busan, directed by Yeon Sang-ho and starring superstar Gong Yoo, is arguably among the best movies of the subgenre.
Train to Busan follows the story of a father, his estranged daughter and other passengers trapped in a zombie-infested train bound for Busan. With a full-scale zombie apocalypse breaking out across the nation, there is no escape.
This thriller became the first Korean movie of 2016 to get 10 million moviegoers. Director Edgar Wright, who directed Shaun of the Dead, another zombie film, said that Train to Busan was the “Best zombie movie I’ve seen in forever. A total crowd-pleaser.”
3. Be With You
Looking for a romance-drama film? You’re in for a surprise with Be With You, a Korean remake of the 2004 Japanese movie of the same name. The movie has fantasy elements but is, by no means, a light film to watch. It’s charming yet impactful in many ways.
The film follows a single father (So Ji-seob, Oh My Venus) struggling to raise his son after the unexpected passing of his wife (Son Ye-jin, Crash Landing on You). A year later, the wife emerges—after promising she’d return on a rainy day—but doesn’t remember anything.
If you’re curious to see So Ji-seob and Son Ye-jin playing husband and wife, you have to watch this. Prepare tissues, tears will be shed.
Korean films don’t shy away from violence. Burning may not feature violence, but it puts viewers in unease with the same kind of tension. This 2018 South Korean psychological mystery drama, directed by Lee Chang-dong, is based on a short story Barn Burning by prolific Japanese writer Haruki Murakami.
The film stars The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun, Ah-in Yoo and Jun Jong-seo. Its complex story starts when Jong-su (Ah-in Yoo) reconnects with a familiar face, Shin Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo), who asks him to look after her cat while she’s in Africa. Things get complicated when she returns with her wealthy boyfriend Ben (Steven Yeun). It all gets strange from there.
The critically acclaimed film represented South Korea for 2018’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It didn’t get nominated, but it became the first Korean film to enter the final nine-film shortlist.
5. A Man and A Woman
Would you like to see a romantic, artistic, yet emotionally agonizing film? A Man and a Woman ticks all these boxes. Be warned: you will be a sobbing mess by the end.
The film follows the story of Sang Min (Jeon Do Yeon), who comes to Finland with her son to attend a specialized camp. While there, she meets an architect named Ki Hong (Gong Yoo), whose daughter is attending the same event. Ki Hong offers Sang Min a ride to the camp to see their kids but end up stuck together due to the snow. From there, the two connect and end up spending a passionate night with each other.
The chemistry of the two leads comes naturally. Their unspoken connection appears deeper as if they’re soulmates. But reality hits the destined souls who both have families of their own. It’s a right-place-at-the-wrong-time scenario.
South Korean Cinema Takes the World Stage
Foreign films—despite the one-inch subtitles at the bottom—should never be overlooked, especially these great ones from South Korea. If you’re curious about other types of films this nation has to offer, check out the Viu app and stream the latest Korean dramas and movies.
The best of Asian film and TV industry is right at your fingertips thanks to Globe’s GoWATCH. What are you waiting for? Grab a bowl of popcorn and start streaming these titles on Viu!