Every now and then, we want to steer away from the usual rom-com tropes. So, if you’re looking for something that will keep you on the edge, horror is one of those genres where many are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end.
When it comes to dramas that made people wince in fear and yet remained glued to the story, 2019 has some of the best material produced. If you love the sheer escapism that horror movies provide, here are 4 K-dramas that made a spine-chilling impression!
Set in the Joseon period, the kingdom is rocked with rumors that their ill-gripped king has actually died. When Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji Hoon) confronted the queen consort (Kim Hye Jun), who is his stepmother, she vehemently denied it and refused to let him see his father. While trying to get to the bottom of things, not only did he uncover the hurtful truth, but a harrowing one at that. When he snuck into his father’s bed-chambers, it was no longer a man but a shadow of a scary beast.
Lee Chang has come to realize that everyone in the kingdom is in danger due to a mysterious and highly contagious plague that turns people into zombies. So the Crown Prince, along with his right-hand man and bodyguard, Moo Yong (Kim Sang Ho) set out on a journey to find nurse Seo Bi (Bae Doona), after having learned that she has some knowledge on the matter.
The first season saw the mounting hordes of undead threatening to annihilate everyone in its path, but the story continues into its second season now with more heart-stopping action as the plague advanced across several provinces. It is also delved deeper into the mythos of the Resurrection Plant, which is the root cause behind all these virulent zombie transformations. Seo Bi pursued a deeper study into the genesis of the plague, its dynamics, and even the cure for it. Moreover, the Crown Prince also realized that this nightmare actually stemmed from selfish political ambitions with him as one of the unfortunate targets. But will he be able to bring himself out of danger and put an end to this outbreak?
With rabid zombies, a conniving political clan, and a fast-paced plot, this drama will surely keep you on the edge. With a cliffhanger to conclude its latest season, fans worked up a ravenous appetite for a third season. The anticipation for more should be enough to keep your curiosity up!
Hell Is Other People
This is a story of an introverted young man, Yoon Jong Woo (Im Si Wan) who moves to Seoul after nabbing an internship in a company. While looking for places to stay, he found himself in Eden Studio, which was a cheap dormitory and pretty much all he could afford. Though he was not too thrilled about the quality of the place, it was his creepy neighbors that were more unsettling. But, despite that, Jong Woo just put up with it until he saved enough money to move out. However, mysterious events start occurring and all his creepy neighbors are slowly getting to him.
Jong Woo struggles to keep his calm while being taunted by the growing influence of his neighbors. There revealed several moments of helplessness where no one was willing to inspect the strange dormitory and its inhabitants, simply because there was not enough evidence. This makes him question his own sanity and also fearful for his life.
This drama doesn’t have any supernatural creatures that scare the living daylights out of the protagonist, rather it’s pure psychological horror. The story makes one feel uneasy not really knowing what is going to happen next. It leaves audiences wondering how Jong Woo would be able to escape the place.
Overall, it is dark and disturbing with a heaping dose of gore. In fact, its final episode earned an R19, so expect it to be different from the usual Korean horror series. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea with all its pensive moments, but it does relay an interesting message – that humans can be dangerous creatures and one ought to be careful when moving into a new environment. It also gives audiences a front-row view into the thought process of psychopaths and how they are devoid of morals and conscience.
Hotel Del Luna
Hotel Del Luna is unlike any other hotel, it’s actually a supernatural place that caters to ghosts who are still tying up loose ends before they pass on to the afterlife. The staff, for instance, have been there for several years as they wait for the right time to settle grudges or to crossover to the next life with loved ones. The exception to this is the hotel’s general manager. This spot has to be filled by a succession of real live humans so that they can still normally interact with the real world for mundane tasks like hotel upkeep, bill payments, or for fulfilling their guest’s requests with their living friends and relatives.
Jang Man Wol (Lee Ji Eun aka IU) became the guardian of this hotel after having committed a mortal sin a millennium ago. The mystic hotel ended up bound to her soul due to the manipulation of the deity, Mago (Yi Suk Seo). One day, she struck a deal with a man that his young son will work for her after 20 years. True enough, Gu Chan Sung (Yeo Jin Goo), the young boy fated to work for Hotel Del Luna, grew up to be a perfectionist and level-headed hotelier. As he came to work for Man Wol, he not only turned things around for the hotel, but also for the lives of the ghosts there – especially the bad-tempered custodian.
While this drama doesn’t go into high-level scare-tactics, it offers a lot of interesting subplots that reveal the stories of the hotel guests. Apart from its light tones, it also ventures towards emotional territories towards the series finale. It’s an unconventional drama that steers away from the common depiction of spirits and allusions to historical periods like the Joseon era. It offers viewers horror and romance with a dash of supernatural elements which makes it a really good series to dive into. In fact, it’s one of the most popular dramas of 2019.
The show features a string of cameos from famous K-drama stars like Lee Joon Ki (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo), Korean comedian Kim Jung Hyun, and Kim Soo Hyun (My Love from Another Star).
The story starts when a serial killer who targets women, named Hwang Dae Du, is caught, tried, and executed. Decades later, a psychopathic doctor asks a shaman to pull out Hwang Dae Doo’s (Won Hyun Joon) soul from hell to possess him so he can be a more effective murderer. He devises a sinister plan of transforming the world into the hell he escaped from.
Kang Pil Sung (Song Sae Byeok) is a foul-mouthed detective who is lazy and rough around the edges, although he is an excellent detective. He teams up with Hong Seon Jung (Goh Joon Hee), a woman who can see ghosts, read minds, and control people. She inadvertently imparts some of her ghost-seeing shaman skills to him which left Pil Sung creeped out at his spine-chilling visions and sleepless with fear. They come together and become a crime-busting duo fighting to save mankind from these possessions and the blade-brandishing serial Hwang Dae Doo whose spirit possessed Yeon Jung Hoon (Oh Seo Hyeok).
The more powerful Dae Du gets, the more desperate the main characters become to stop him. On top of their seemingly indomitable task, their struggle is also curtailed by a world that doesn’t believe in the supernatural.
However, not everything is dark and dreary in this occult thriller. We also get to see a growing interest between Pil Sung and Seon Jung. Theirs is the kind of attraction that doesn’t shout from the top, but discreetly shows attention and care which leaves a lot of “uwu” moments sprinkled throughout the story.
Found a series that piqued your interest? Surely, K-dramas boast of an impressive collection for different genres, but when it comes to films and series that terrify, they don’t hold themselves short! Which year do you think has the best selection of horror series?