allegra made me a playlist and assorted artsy little bits for my birthday, and ive put them together here on this little 8 tracks, so that the world can ~enjoy her generosity. thanks leg :3
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! “I Saw The Devil” is definitely not for everyone, but when it is your thing, it’s a goddamned masterpiece.
Luckily, K and I watch a ton of Korean movies, and there are a lot of stand-outs that we highly recommend! Fair warning, this list is pretty much entirely horror or otherwise dark films, because that’s just how we do:
- The Vengeance Trilogy by Park Chan-wook (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance) — Oldboy is by far the most famous of these movies, but each one is better than the last. If you enjoyed “I Saw The Devil,” these three are instant favorites. Of the three, “Lady Vengeance” is actually our favorite and is a very mature and satisfying wrap-up film for the trilogy.
- The Good, The Bad, and The Weird — If I could watch only one movie over and over again, it would be this one. This comedy-action film is in the style of classic Westerns (if the title wasn’t giant clue already), with gun-slinging and badlands galore. The three dueling characters are intensely dynamic, the action is over-the-top, yet still believable, and the ending’s twist is as fun as it is surprising. I lament what happens to my favorite character, but them’s the breaks!
- The Host — The only monster flick to make the list, this one blows most out of the water (ha!) because it paints the human drama as just important or more so than the actual monster. The special effects are exciting without lumbering through the uncanny valley and the whole thing is a darkly fun trip.
- A Tale of Two Sisters — This one got an American remake (“The Uninvited” 2009), but as per usual, the original is best. A very fairytale horror with the expected dynamic of two sisters, a wicked stepmother and an oblivious father. As you’ll come to expect, Korean horrors tend to come with twists and this one is no exception. Dun dun DUN!
- Hansel and Gretel — Speaking of fairytale horror, why not go for a direct reference! This film takes the classic Grimm fairytale and adds several more layers of modern weirdness to it. We spent so much of this movie trying to figure out what was going on, thanks to its surreal pacing, and it turned out to be a favorite!
- Arang — A cop-based horror with a detective haunted by her nightmares of a brutal crime. The deaths of an ex-con and his associates become tied to a missing girl case, turning a moody film into the outright supernatural. Another very satisfying end!
- Bestseller — Another film that got a less-than-stellar American remake (“The Marsh” 2006), this follows the story of a bestselling author who is plagued by accusations of plagiarism, so she moves to a remote home in the country with her daughter to write her next book in peace. Of course, things start to get spooky and plagiarism turns out to be the least of her worries.
- Thirst — In an interesting take on vampirism lore, a modern day priest volunteers to take an experimental vaccine intended to cure a deadly virus, but the vaccine instead turns him into a vampire. There’s no way to pitch this movie in a way that doesn’t sound hokey, but it’s very far from it — this film is well-shot, well-acted, and just fascinating.
- I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK — Hey, look! It’s not a horror! This film is about two mental institution patients bonding and experiencing the inevitable complications of juggling reality with genuine emotions and trauma. Very charming, dream-like visuals, and completely fun without stigmatizing its characters.
- Snowpiercer — The only movie on this list that is mainly English-language, with Korean only being spoken by two Korean characters, but it’s still Korean-directed, so it counts! Chris Evans (aka Captain America) stars in this dystopian flick about the few remaining survivors of the human race trapped on a brutally class-dominated train that circles a post-Nuclear Winter Earth. Dark, dark, dark, and beautiful. One of those movies you watch once, feel glad you did, and vow not to see again.
So, that’s the list! So far, probably. I could really go on forever, but those are definitely the tops. I hope it helps and that you enjoy them!