Squid Game is setting the world alight, landing at number one on Netflix globally and providing more WTF moments than we can handle.
It’s a welcome reminder of the joys of Korean TV and film, which have made their impact on Western audiences more than ever over recent years.
It was back in January 2020 at the Oscars when South Korean director Bong Joon-ho stressed the importance of looking past language barriers, and opening up Korean films to new audiences.
‘Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,’ he said, proudly holding aloft the Best Picture prize for his masterpiece Parasite.
It couldn’t be more true, and if, like millions of others, you enjoyed Squid Game, there are so many acclaimed shows and movies out there just waiting to be discovered.
These are our picks for the best Korean TV shows and films to watch after Squid Game.
A great option currently streaming on Netflix, Sweet Home shares a similarly madcap energy as Squid Game – as well as its same dark heart.
Rather than a series of killer playground games, the fantasy horror series focuses on a group locked inside an apartment while as people turn into monsters and the world around them falls apart. They’re not just any old monsters either, but monsters that reflect everyone’s inner demons.
The character work is strong, and viewers will end up really caring about the central relationships and not just sticking around for the bonkers action.
It’s impossible to underestimate the impact Parasite had back in 2020, when it became the first non-English language film to win the top prize at the Oscars.
The movie, a biting satire taking a skewered look at societal inequality in Seoul, took the viewer into totally unexpected territory, making for one of the most unique cinema experiences of recent times. Most of all, though, it opened up Korean film and movies made outside the English language to a whole generation of film lovers.
It’s a work of genius from director Bong Joon-ho, who had already developed a reputation as one of the great filmmakers of his generation with films such as Snowpiercer, Memories of Murder, The Host and Okja.
Chief Of Staff
There’s a familiar face for Squid Game fans to look out for in this 2019 political thriller series. Lee Jung-jae stars as the titular chief of staff in the National Assembly, pulling the strings and turning the cogs of power in his Machiovellian way in this slick drama.
Fans of House of Cards, the West Wing and Borgen will find a lot to like here, with sharp dialogue, snappy direction and an irreverent side that is so often missing from other more earnest dramas.
Twisted and grimly compelling, Oldboy is right up there with one of the most unforgettable movie experiences of the 21st century.
It follows Oh Dae-su, who finds himself imprisoned inside a cell resembling a hotel room for 15 years without any knowledge of who is keeping him there or why.
It’s dark and disorientating filmmaking and packed with hair-raising choreography – the one-shot corridor fight sequence is as visceral as they come, and rightly regarded as a modern classic of its kind.
Ignore the American remake with Josh Brolin, this is the only version worth your time.
My Sassy Girl
Korea has a great reputation for thrillers and horror, but My Sassy Girl proved they can do levity pretty well too. My Sassy Girl from 2001 is one of the most famous comedies in Korean film history, with natural chemistry between leads Jun Ji-hyun and Cha Tae-hyun and a sweetness at its heart.
The film is based on a true story told in a series of blog posts written by Kim Ho-sik, who later adapted them into a fictional novel, following a college student who falls in love with a woman despite her constantly humiliating him. It holds a very impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s well worth checking out.
Train to Busan
Of all the zombie movies released over the past 10 years, few impressed critics and set adrenalyn racing quite like Train to Busan.
The claustrophobic horror follows a group of passengers stranded on board a fast moving train, as they fight to survive after a chemical leak at a biotech plant leads to a zombie outbreak. It’s terrifying, smartly made and packed with excellent performances from the likes of Squid Game’s Gong Yoo. Watch it and we guarantee you’ll be recommending it to friends forever more.
Netflix fans are loving Squid Game now, but this K drama paved the way by becoming the first ever Korean series to arrive on the site a few years back.
There’s a lot for viewers to get their teeth stuck into with Kingdom, as the show mixes elements of political drama, period piece and horror to create something truly memorable.
It’s all set in medieval times in a fictional Kingdom and focuses on a prince who sets out to discover the truth behind a destructive and mysterious plague affecting his country. It’s on Netflix now, why not give it a spin?
Squid Game is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.