20 Best Korean Crime Thriller Movies You’ll Just Love Watching

If you are an ardent follower of crime, action and thriller movies or planning to watch one, chances are high that you would end up watching a Korean movie. Korean movies are known for their high quality and engaging crime thriller movies.

Since the world of cinema relies on Korea to satisfy its quench for crime and thrill, the Korean movie industry doesn’t fail to produce one gem after the other. Although it was a difficult choice, we have managed to enlist 10 Best Korean Crime Thriller Movies of all times.

Best Korean Crime Thriller Movies

  • Old Boy (2003)

 

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Probably one of the highest rated Korean crime thriller movies, Old Boy has been remade and adapted by various other movie industries. The film also won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. The story revolves around Dae-Su who is captured and imprisoned in a hotel like room. He is unaware of the intentions or the identity of the captor. After 15 long years of his capture, he is set free and is given 5 days to find his captor.

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

  • Memories of Murder (2003)

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Directed by Bong Joon Ho, memories of murder is a story based in a small town in Korea in the 1980s. When a series of rapes and murder of young women take place in that town, three detectives unite to solve the rape and murder mysteries. It is based on true events which took place in Korea between 1986-1991.

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

  • The Man from Nowhere (2010)

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This Won Bin starring movie is the story of a former operations soldier who to save his kidnapped friend fights an organ and drug trafficking ring. Cha Tae-Sik runs a pawnshop and has distanced himself from his violent past. His next door neighbour is a little young girl who is his only friend. One day he finds out that his friend is kidnapped. The journey of saving her and in the process of busting a drug and organ trafficking ring takes place.

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

  • MOSS (2010)

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Directed by Woo-Suk Kang, the movie was released in 2010. The story is about a young man, Hae-guk who gets a call from a mysterious person informing him that his father, YOO Mok-hyung is dead. Hae-guk, who had not spoken to his father in 20 years starts on a voyage to the village where his father died to discover how it all happened.

On his voyage and his quest for finding the truth about his father’s life and death, Hae-guk faces haunting and mysterious treatment by the otherwise welcoming villagers. He then decides to stay in the village after his father’s funeral. What follows is an interesting turn of events with some astonishing facts which come to light.

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

  • The Chaser (2008)

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Starring Kim Yoon-seok and Ha Jung-woo, the chaser is a psychological thriller revolving around Eom Joong-ho. He is a pimp who was also a former dishonest detective. He gets into financial trouble when his girls go missing.

He realizes that one of his customers to whom he sends one of the girls is the same who was last seen with the missing girls. The story follows with Eom using his detective skills to solve the mystery of the missing girls.

IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

  • Mother (2009)

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This crime thriller revolves around the life of a mother who lives peacefully with her son, Do-Joon in a small town. She earns her living by selling herbs and providing acupuncture services to the neighbors. In an unexpected turn of events, a girl is murdered and Do-Joon is framed for it. The mother trusts her son and believes that he was not responsible for the murder. She then gets involved in finding out the truth and prove her son innocent. This is one of the most shocking South Korean movies of all time.

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

  • No Mercy (2010)

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Written and directed by Kim Hyeong-jun, No Mercy stars Sol Kyung-gu in the lead role. The story is based on a forensic expert, Kang Min-ho who is about to retire and plans to spend time with his daughter.

One day, a body of a girl is found near the local river with her limbs cut off. Kang decides to look into this case before finally retiring. In finding out the killer and in solving the mystery, Kang learns that his daughter is kidnapped. The story of finding the killer and the kidnapper then follows.

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

  • The Yellow Sea (2010)

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Starring Jung-woo Ha and Yun-seok Kim, the yellow sea is the story of a man who earns his living by driving a cab in a small province between Russia, China, and North Korea. Due to his gambling, he is in huge debts.

His wife moves to Korea to earn money in order to resolve the financial crisis. He doesn’t hear from his wife for 6 months and starts to suspect that she has gone missing. He then meets a man who offers him a deal of killing a man in South Korea. In exchange he would get back his wife and all his debts would be taken care of.

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

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This crime thriller is the first movie of the Vengeance Trilogy. The movies to follow are The Old Boy and Lady Vengeance. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the story of Ryu, a deaf and mute man who needs money for his sister’s kidney transplant.

After he is fired from his job at the factory, he uses the settlement money from his job and one of his kidneys to buy a kidney of his sister’s match from the organ donor black market. He is however conned and the dealers disappear after taking money and kidney from Ryu.

His girlfriend then suggests him to kidnap the daughter of the wealthy manager that he worked for at the factory and ask for ransom for his sister’s operation. Things turn dramatic as the kidnapped girl and Ryu’s sister die. What follows is a search for Ryu and his girlfriend by the wealthy manager whose daughter was kidnapped.

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10

  • Lady Vengeance (2005)

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This is the third movie of the Vengeance Trilogy preceded by Old Boy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. The story is about a woman, Lee Geum-ja who is convicted and jailed wrongly for a murder she did not commit. Once she is out from the prison after serving her term, she sets out on a vengeance to find out the real murderer. She seeks helps from her daughter and fellow inmates at the prison to find the person responsible for the murder.

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

  • New World (2013)

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Released in 2013, this crime thriller was directed and written by Park Hoon-Jung. The film revolves around the conflict between police and the crime organization. The narration of the movie is through the eyes of the character Ja-Sung who is an undercover agent. The movie is the first part of a planned trilogy.

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

  • A Dirty Carnival (2006)

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Directed by Yoo Ha, this thriller this neo-noir mob movie is a story of Kim Byung-du. He is in his late 20s and is a gangster by profession. Under financial pressure in lieu of supporting his ill mother and younger siblings, he subverts his immediate boss and takes orders directly from President Hwang.

Later, he accomplishes the task of eliminating a public prosecutor who caused troubles for President Hwang. With this, he wins the President’s trust. The story further takes unexpected turns when Byung-du’s friend Min-ho decides to make a gangster movie and asks him to help with the script.

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

  • Bedevilled (2010)

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Bedevilled is a Seo Young-hee and Ji Sung-won starer thriller crime movie directed by Cheol-soo Jang. The story starts with Hae-won who in need of a vacation accepts the invitation of her friend, Bok-Nam in Mudo, a desolate island. When she lands there she witnesses the suffering faced by her friend.

She was mentally and physically tortured by her husband, his brother and others of the island. She tries to escape the island with her daughter but her husband comes to know of it. It is then that she finally retaliates and kills everyone who comes in her way of independence.

Note: Watch this shocking crime thriller only if you have a strong heart.

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10

  • A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

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Directed by Kim Jee-woon, this thriller is an adaptation of a folk tale titled Janghwa Hongryeon jeon. The story is about a girl, Su-Mi who after being treated for mental illness returns home to her father, sister, and stepmother. Events become unexplainable with mysterious events occurring in the house. The story unfolds with the presence of ghosts and dark secrets of the family’s past.

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10

  • Children… (2011)

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This South Korean thriller is based on a story of Frog Boys of Daegu which occurred in the early 90s. The story starts with the voyage of 5 school boys who set out to a nearby mountain for catching frogs. It was an election day holiday in the city. When they do not return home, the parents ask the local authorities to help but they are busy in election duties. After few days when the police begin their search in the mountains, they find no clue leading to the whereabouts of the boys.

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

  • Confession of Murder (2012)

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This movie is about a serial killer Lee du-sok who plans to write his autobiography after the statute of limitation expires on the murders he committed. After his autobiography is published, Detective Choi who once investigated the murders starts his search for truth once again.

Also, the mother of one of the victims seeks vengeance. Meanwhile, a TV channel conducts a debate between Lee du-sok and Detective Choi. Things take an unexpected turn when a caller calls during the debate and claims that he was the actual murderer and that Lee du-sok is lying about the murders.

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

  • Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012)

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This 2012 crime thriller movie directed by Yoon Jong-bin stars Choi Min-sik and Ha Jung-woo. The movie is based on South Korean gangsters lives and times set in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The story progresses as the government declares a war to discontinue the crime and corruption.

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

  • Three… Extremes (2004)

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This movie is a trilogy directed by three directors. The story “Dumplings” is directed by Fruit Chan. “Box” by Takashi Miike and “Cut” by Chan-wook Park. The three short stories are full of mystery, crime, and horror.

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

  • Secret Reunion (2010)

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Directed by Hun Jang, this thriller is about the reunion between a North Korean Spy, Ji-Won and a South Korean agent, Lee han-gyoo. Han-gyoo is discharged from the Intelligence Services and happens to meet Ji-Won by coincidence a few years later. To finish a task, he hires Ji-Won and talks him into staying with him. Ji-Won unaware of Han-gyoo intents of being used in furnishing Han-gyoo’s task accepts the offer with an intention of spying on him.

IMDb Rating: 7.0/10

  • The World of Silence (2006)

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This Korean movie directed by Ui-seok Jo revolves around the life of Jung-Ho. He is a young photographer who moved to Korea after living outside for several years. He also is gifted with the ability to read people’s mind. After returning to Korea, images and memories of his girlfriend who killed herself in front of him haunt him. In the meantime, he becomes the guardian of a girl whose mother is in coma. Things take an unexpected turn when the girl goes missing and Jung-Ho is the main suspect of it.

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

Start Binge Watching

The above list of Crime Thriller Korean movies will keep you glued to your seat while you bite your nail. The list covers all the best crime thriller movies of Korea of all time. Some of them are brutal and if you have a strong heart or simply very intrigued by the movie description, go ahead, get yourself a Blu-Ray and watch it.

Let us know which one was your favorite among the bunch and how long did it take for you to watch the entire list of Korean crime thrillers. Do you have any more suggestions for this list? Post it!

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