Korean dramas are a fan favorite worldwide owing to their beautiful shooting locations, engaging storylines, masterful cinematography, and incredible chemistry between the leads. The best thing about K-dramas is that they have a lot of genres to choose from. From cheesy romantic dramas to historical fiction dramas brimming with political intrigue, there are a plethora of dramas available for every genre. All this aside, No one does the horror slash supernatural genre quite like the South Korean entertainment industry. The zombie horror film Train to Busan remains one of the best movies worldwide of this genre. Movies like The Priest was praised for their superb portrayal of the horror genre. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Super Dark and Gory K-dramas
1. All Of Us Are Dead
All of Us Are Dead gained a massive viewership when it debuted in early January 2022 on Netflix. A high school becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak and the trapped students must band together to make it out alive. Zombie genre films and dramas are always gory, and All of Us Are Dead is not an exception. While zombie dramas may be viewed as overdone and monotonous, this drama provided the unique setting of a high school. It introduced new concepts such as “halfbies” (inherently human zombies) which kept viewers entertained.
2. Squid Game
This survival thriller has been hailed as one of the best series in Netflix history. Down-and-out individuals in desperate need of money compete in seemingly innocent childhood games to win the massive cash prize, but things take a dark when the actual rules of the games are revealed. The price of losing each round results in a death penalty, and each death results in an added surplus into the final grand prize. The main character of the series, Seong Gi Hun must navigate the games and his competitors if he wants to win the cash prize. The gory aspect of the drama starts early on, with the contestants getting their brains blown out when they lose the first game. Suffice it to say, if the sight of guns and blood makes you queasy, then Squid Game isn’t your forte.
3. Sweet Home
Based on the manhwa Sweet Home by Kim Carnby and Hwang Young-Chan, this Netflix original drama stars Song Kang in the main lead. The drama features downright hideous and terrifying monsters. After his entire family perishes in a car accident, suicidal high-school student Cha Hyun Soo moves into a beat-up apartment building. Hyun Soo gets trapped in a left-or-death situation as his neighbors turn into grotesque monsters. Now, he and his fellow survivors must work together to get to safety. As humans turn into different equally frightening creatures based on their deepest desires, Sweet Home has a plethora of terrifying monsters to lean into the horror element.
Kingdom was the first Korean series to become a Netflix original series. It is a uniquely concepted drama that combines the genre of political intrigue, saguek, and zombies. In 15th century Josean, a scheming minister meaning to usurp the throne, administers a secret medicine to the King in hopes of killing him. The plan goes haywire when the medication causes the king to undergo massive bodily changes and turn into a zombie. Crown Prince Lee Chang’s life takes a terrifying turn as he tackles the twin problem of a political coup and uncovering a virus plaguing his father and the kingdom’s southern borders. With great cinematography and script, Kingdom is a must-watch for zombie-genre lovers.
Picture this: in an alternate reality, sinister beings from hell, supported by a religious cult-like section, condemn individuals who commit sins to hell. A prophecy condemns an individual who must die for their sins. The charged individuals are burned to cinders by “punishment givers,” who are smoke-like creatures from hell called Angels. Hellbound is a dark and gory television series perfect for those who like the horror-splatter genre. This six-episode supernatural thriller stars Yoo Ah In, Kim Hyun Joo, and Won Jin Ah.
6. Strangers From Hell
Strangers From Hell is another survival thriller drama based in an apartment setting. The plot revolves around Yoon Jung Woo, a cash-strapped individual who comes to Seoul after his friend promises him a job. To save money, Jung Woo moves into a cheap apartment building with a shared kitchen and bathroom. Trouble arises when he gets to know his manic and creepy neighbors, who are not what they seem to be. Strangers From Hell is a brilliant psychological thriller, praised for its dread-y aura and thought-inducing plotline.
7. Emergency declaration
Picture the cult-classic zombie film Train to Busan, but the events occur in an airplane instead. That’s what the Emergency Declaration is about. Korean authorities intending to catch a wanted terrorist get a tip that he has boarded an American-bound airplane. In the same airplane, chaos ensues when a perfectly healthy individual suddenly dies. A biological virus erupts on the airplane, clutching crew and passengers alike in its grip. Amid steadily declining fuel and an ensuing plague, the remaining individuals must unite to survive.
Goedam is a supernatural-horror anthology series with short episodes centered around a common theme. The series draws inspiration from Korean urban legends. Each episode’s runtime is of 5-10 minutes, offering a unique spin on horror stories. This interconnected-standalone aspect, along with short episode length, make this a perfect “bite-sized” horror series for a quick watch.
9. Kill Boksoon
Jeon Do Yun stars as Gil Bok Soon, a single mother who moonlights as an assassin. Bok Soon is one of the best killers in the country working for a top company, but can’t help but feel like she’s failing as a mother. Caught up between a murder accusation (which is valid) and her colleagues turning on her, Bok Soon and her daughter must figure out how to overturn their current situation. The film was a commercial success on Netflix. Jeon Do Yun nailed this role as a caring mother and an assassin who’s a little psychotic.
10. Nightmare Teacher
This series will be a perfect watch for those who loved Mr. Hiiragi’s Classroom. Kim So Hyun, whom fans may know from Love Alarm, stars as the top student in her class Kang Ye Rim. After the arrival of a new teacher Han Bong Ju, mysterious and unexplained events start unfolding. The students start living in an almost daze-like state, and all their dreams start coming true because of Bong Ju. It’s up to Ye Rim to figure out the truth and save her classmates’ lives. Nightmare Teacher masterfully blends dark elements into the supernatural-horror genre.