16 Korean movies and TV series to watch if you loved Hellbound and Squid Game on Netflix - and how to watch

There are loads of amazing Korean films and TV shows to watch if you’ve been left wanting more after finishing Squid Game and Hellbound on Netflix

South Korean TV series Squid Game took the UK by storm when it was released on Netflix in September. Absolutely everyone was watching it, and it became the first Korean drama to top Netflix’s top 10 weekly most watched TV show charts globally.

It reached number one across 94 countries, including the UK, with Netflix estimating that the series drew in over 111 million member households worldwide after just 17 days of being released.

Now a new Korean miniseries has taken over the top spot from Squid Game - supernatural horror Hellbound.

If you’ve already binged both Squid Game and Hellbound and are in the mood for more Korean media, here are 16 of the best Korean films and TV shows to check out, and how you can watch them in the UK.

The best films to watch

Parasite (2019)

Directed by Bong Joon Ho

Lets start off with the obvious - no list about the best Korean films and TV shows to watch would be complete without the multi-award winning Parasite from South Korea.

It made history at the 2020 Oscars as the first foreign language film to win the highly coveted Best Picture award - and it didn’t stop there. Parasite also won Best Director, International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design.

The film follows the Kim family, struggling to stay afloat on the poverty line, as they slowly infiltrate the lives of the wealthy Park family. When eldest Kim child Ki-Woo lands a tutoring job at the extravagant Park home, greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the two clans.

Where to watch: available to stream on Amazon Prime, or available to rent or buy from the Sky Store, Google Play Store or the BFI Player.

Memories of Murder (2003)

Directed by Bong Joon Ho

If you’ve already seen and loved Parasite, going back through director Bong Joon Ho’s filmography is a must.

Parasite star Kang-ho Song takes the lead in Memories of Murder as Detective Park Doo-man, one of two detectives tasked with solving the mystery behind the rape and murder of multiple young women in the small Korean province of Gyunggi, in 1986.

Where to watch: available to stream on Amazon Prime, or available to buy or rent from the Sky Store or Google Play Store.

The Vengeance Trilogy (2002, 2003 and 2005)

Directed by Park Chan-Wook

The Vengeance Trilogy refers to three films directed by Park Chan-Wook - Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. While described as a trilogy, the three films are completely separate from one another.

Sympathy for Mr Vengeance follows Ryu, a deaf man who has recently lost his job, and his sister who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Ryu hatches a plan to get the money for his sister’s transplant by kidnapping his former boss’ friend’s daughter.

Where to watch: available to stream on the BFI Player, or available to buy or rent from Amazon.

Oldboy tells the story of Oh Dae-Su who, after being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, must figure out who his captor was and why he was imprisoned.

This film is not to be confused with the, objectively terrible, 2013 American remake of the same name, starring Josh Brolin.

Where to watch: available to stream on Amazon Prime, or to rent or buy from the Google Play or the Sky Store. 

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is the third and final instalment of the Vengeance Trilogy, and is about Lee Geum-ja, a woman who has just been released from prison after serving a sentence for a murder she did not commit. She sets off on a journey of revenge against the real murderer.

Where to watch: available to stream on the BFI Player, or available to rent or buy from Amazon.

The Handmaiden (2016)

Directed by Park Chan-Wook

The Handmaiden is an adaptation of the 2002 novel from Welsh author Sarah Waters titled Fingersmith, with the setting changed from Victorian era Britain instead to 1930s Korea, under Japanese colonial rule.

A young woman, involved in a plot greater than she understands, is hired to be the handmaiden to a Japanese heiress who lives a sheltered and secluded life in a large countryside estate under the rule of her domineering uncle. The Handmaiden has an unlimited number of twists and turns, and when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, everything gets turned upside down once again.

Where to watch: available to stream on Netflix, or available to buy or rent from Amazon, Google Play, Sky Store or BFI Player.

Train to Busan (2016)

Directed by Sang-Ho Yeon

Squid Game fans will recognise a familiar face in Train to Busan - Gong Yoo, who plays the sinister salesman who challenges prospective competitors to games of Ddjakji in train stations.

In Train to Busan, a mysterious outbreak pushes South Korea into disaster. We watch as passengers on board a high-speed train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, fight for their lives.

Where to watch: available to rent or buy from Google Play, Amazon or the Sky Store.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Directed by Kim Jee-Woon

After being sent to a mental institution after her mother’s death, teenager Su-mi reunites with her younger sister Su-yeon to return to their home in the country. However, their father has since remarried, and the relationship between the girls and their new stepmother is immediately filled with tension.

As the sisters try to resume their normal lives, disturbing events begin to plague their house - all of which are connected to the dark past in the family’s history.

Where to watch: available to buy or rent from Amazon or Google Play.

The Wailing (2016)

Directed by Na Hong-Jin

When a mysterious stranger arrives in a small rural village, the residents find themselves inflicted with a strange sickness which causes brutal outbursts for seemingly no reason.

When a detective’s daughter falls victim to the strange disease, he is forced to solve the bizarre mystery if he wants to save her life.

Where to watch: available to stream on Amazon Prime, or available to rent or buy from Google Play.

I Saw the Devil (2010)

Directed by Kim Jee-Woon

Kyung-chul is a psychopathic serial killer whom the police have been hunting for a long time - but with no success.

When Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief becomes his latest victim, her fiance Soo-hyun, an undercover agent, sets out to put a stop to the killer once and for all, even if that means becoming a monster himself.

Where to watch: available to buy or rent from Google Play or Amazon.

The Age of Shadows (2016)

Directed by Kim Jee-Woon

Another by director Kim Jee-Woon, The Age of Shadows follows the activities of the Heroic Corps, an anti-Japanese independence organisation which formed under the Japanese colonial period in South Korea.

In the film, a police captain is tasked by his Japanese bosses with infiltrating the resistance - but whose side is he really on?

Where to watch: available to stream on Amazon Prime, or available to rent or buy from the Sky Store or the BFI Player. 

The best TV shows to watch

Signal (2016)

One season

A mysterious walkie-talkie allows cold case criminal profiler Park Hae-yeong, in 2015, to team up with Lee Jae-han, a detective from 1989, to solve cases that have remained unsolved for years - and to even prevent some crimes from even taking place in the past.

Where to watch: available to stream on Netflix

Vagabond (2019)

One season

After his nephew dies in a plane crash, stuntman Cha Dal-geon is determined to find out what really happened - and in the process he ends up uncovering a national corruption scandal.

With the help of Go Hae-ri, the eldest daughter of a deceased marine, who is a National Intelligence Service agent, the two find themselves falling deeper and deeper into a web of corruption.

Where to watch: available to stream on Netflix

Kingdom (2019)

Two seasons

Set in Korea’s medieval Joseon dynasty, a mysterious illness sweeps the kingdom, with the king presumed dead.

The crown prince is left to figure out what’s really going on before he’s cast out by his power-hungry step-mother and grandfather.

Where to watch: available to stream on Netflix

Stranger (2017)

Two seasons

This 2017 South Korean crime thriller was a hit when it first aired, securing a spot on the New York Times list of Best TV Shows of 2017.

It follows Hwang Si-mok, a prosecutor who has lost the ability to feel empathy, who works with detective Han Yeo-jin to take on a murder case at the centre of political corruption.

Where to watch: available to stream on Netflix

Sweet Home (2020)

One season

After the death of his father, mother and sister, high schooler Cha Hyun-Soo moves into a small apartment by himself. Unfortunately for him, at the same time, residents of the city are morphing into monsters.

The people of Cha Hyun-Soo’s new apartment building must work together to battle against the monsters and stay alive.

Where to watch: available to stream on Netflix

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