The 19 Best New Korean Movies of 2022 (So Far)

Korean movie fans have had a lot to indulge in this year.

one of the new korean movies of 2022
(Image credit: Netflix)

Fans of Korean movies have had a great year. As streamers like Netflix continue investing in South Korean content and projects with stacked casts get U.S. distribution, the new Korean films of 2022 ranged from sweet rom-coms to thrilling spy flicks to heart-wrenching dramas. Ahead, the best new Korean movies of 2022 (and once you've made your way through them, consult our guide to the best K-dramas and best Korean movies of 2023).

'Love and Leashes'

Two idol actors (Girls' Generation's Seohyn and U-KISS' Lee Jun-young) star in this rom-com about two co-workers pursuing a BDSM partnership. Ji-woo is forming a crush on new colleague Ji-hoo when she accidentally receives his package, containing a human-sized dog collar. Instead of freaking out, she becomes interested in BDSM, and Ji-hoo asks her to enter a dominant/submissive relationship. Will the pair stick with BDSM, or take their relationship to a romantic level?

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure'

This remake/sequel to the hit 2014 film follows another group of swashbuckling antiheroes in 14th century Korea. When self-proclaimed "good bandit" Wu Mu-chi (Kang Ha-neul) and his men are marooned in the middle of the ocean, they're rescued by pirate captain Hae-rang (Happiness' Han Hyo-joo) and her crew. The two groups stumble upon a map to a lost royal treasure and band together to recover it, going up against a mercenary crew lead by the villain Bu Heung-soo (Kwon Sang-woo).

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'Yaksha: Ruthless Operations'

Squid Game's Park Hae-soo and GOT7's Jin-young co-star in this spy-against-spy action thriller set in a northeastern Chinese city. Former lead prosecutor Han Ji-hoon (Park) is recently demoted to a legal aid position with Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS). While working in a city near the North Korean border, he gets wrapped up into a world where spies from the north, the south, China, Japan, Russia, and even the US wage war over government secrets. The titular Yaksha, played by Sol Kyung-gu, is the city's ruthless NIS' operative who brings Ji-hoon onto his team.

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'Midnight'

Before he portrayed a hero cop on Squid Game, Wi Ha-jun played a deranged serial killer in this 2021 thriller that's just hitting VOD in the U.S. Do Shik's latest target is Kyung Mi (Jin Ki-joo), a young deaf woman who lives with her deaf mother (Kil Hae-yeon), and witnesses him in the process of killing another victim. The unique thriller tells the story from Kyung Mi's perspective, using sound mixing and sign language to show how the heroine evades the killer's hunt.

Watch on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

'Spiritwalker'

In this mystery thriller that just hit U.S. streamers, The Outlaws' Yoon Kye-sang plays Kang I-an, a man whose consciousness switches to a different body every twelve hours. After waking up from a car crash with no memory, skilled fighter I-an has to piece together his identity while outrunning many people from both sides of the law who want to kill him.

Watch on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

'In Our Prime'

This heartwarming drama shows the friendship between Ji-woo (newcomer Kim Dong-hwi), a private school student who's ostracized because he's poor, and Hak-sung (Oldboy and I Saw The Devil's Choi Min-sik), the school security guard who's also a mathematical genius who defected from North Korea. When Ji-woo asks Hak-sung to teach him math, the unlikely pair bond and learn important lessons from each other.

Watch on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

'The Roundup'

This sequel to 2017's action hit The Outlaws sees Train to Busan and Eternals' Ma Dong-seok (a.k.a. Don Lee) return as "beast cop" Ma Seok-do. Four years after the events of The Outlaws, Detective Ma and Captain Jeon Il-man (Choi Gwi-hwa) are sent to Vietnam on a covert operation to take down Kang (My Liberation Notes' Son Sukku), a sadistic man who kidnaps rich Korean travelers for ransom.

Watch on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

'The Witch 2: The Other One'

This highly-anticipated sequel to 2018's The Witch: Subversion (available on Viki (opens in new tab)) follows a new young girl (played by Shin Si-ah) who's an experimental test subject in a secret lab. After she survives an accident that leaves the lab in ruins, siblings Kyung-hee (Extraordinary Attorney Woo's Park Eun-bin) and Dae-gil (Sung Yoo-bin) shelter her and offer a normal life, while several people search for her, including mercenary Jo-hyeon (Seo Eun-soo).

Premiere: June 17 in theaters

'Hansan: Rising Dragon'

Director Kim Han-min returns with the prequel to 2014's The Admirals: Roaring Currents, the most-watched Korean film of all time (available on Prime Video (opens in new tab)). This 16th-century historical epic depicts Battle of Hansan Island in 1592, where Admiral Yi Sun-shin (played by Park Hae-il) fended off the Japanese navy as they attempted to conquer Korea.

Premiere: July 29 in theaters

'Carter'

This upcoming film from action director Jung Byung-gil (The Villainess, Confession of Murder) follows Carter, a top intelligence agent who wakes up one day having completely lost his memory. He's then thrown into a huge mission, as he works through his amnesia while trying to unravel the mission's countless mysteries.

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'Emergency Declaration'

In this star-studded disaster thriller, authorities investigating a viral terrorist threat discover that the suspect has boarded an international flight to the U.S. When a healthy passenger dies of a sudden disease on board, the flight crew and people on the ground come together to save the rest of the passengers. Among the cast are Parasite's Song Kang-ho, Squid Game's Lee Byung-hun, and Run On's Im Si-wan.

Premiere: August 12 in theaters

'Seoul Vibe'

This action-packed film takes place in 1988, on the day of the Seoul Summer Olympics' opening ceremony. In the middle of the festivities, the Sanggye-dong Supreme Team are investigating the movement of illegal slush funds. Seoul Vibe's all-star cast includes Hellbound and Burning star Yoo Ah-in, Reply 1988's Ko Gyung-pyo, and Extracurricular's Park Ju-hyun.

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'Special Delivery'

Parasite and Record of Youth's Park So-dam stars in this Fast & Furious-style action film as Eun-ha a Busan junkyard worker who works nights as an elite courier for fugitives. When her passenger for her latest job is captured and she's left with his son, Eun-ha has to take care of the kid and the million-dollar access code he's holding, all while outrunning the cops.

Watch on Viki (opens in new tab)

'Alienoid'

This genre-bending film from director Choi Dong-hoon shows a war between aliens and humans taking place in both historical and present-day Korea. When a mysterious time portal opens, the lives of Goryeo-era Taoists searching for a legendary sword collide with fighters from 2022 chasing an alien imprisoned in a human's body. The players include a Taoist warrior (Reply 1988's Ryu Jun-yeol), an alien-escorting guard (Our Blues' Kim Woo-bin), and a woman who can shoot thunder (The Handmaiden's Kim Tae-ri).

Premiere: August 26 in theaters

'Confidential Assignment 2: International'

This sequel to the popular 2017 film reunites North Korean detective Im Cheol-ryung (Crash Landing on You's Hyun Bin) and South Korean detective Kang Jin-Tae (The Pirates' Yoo Hae-Jin) back together to catch a North Korean crime organization leader (Space Sweepers' Jin Sun-Kyu). This time, the duo is also joined by an FBI agent (Daniel Henney) and Jin-tae's sister-in-law (Girls' Generation's Yoon-A).

Premiere: September 7 in theaters

'Decision to Leave'

Returning with his first Korean film since 2016's The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook directs this story about a police officer (The Host's Park Hae-il) investigating a crime that took place in the mountains. When he meets the victim's wife, played by Tang Wei, the officer develops mixed emotions of both suspicion and interest.

Premiere: October 14 in theaters

'20th Century Girl'

This rom-com starts in 1999, when 17-year-old Na Bo-ra (Lovers of the Red Sky's Kim Yoo-jung) meets her first love, Hyun Jin (Hospital Playlist's Park Jung Woo). Years later, after their sweet but heartbreaking relationship, she meets him again, and it revives the teenage romance that was almost forgotten. 

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'Hunt'

Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae makes his directoral debut and stars in this 1980s-set spy thriller. As an elite South Korean agent (Lee) hunts for a North Korea spy, he becomes increasingly aware of his own country's dark truths. Innocent Witness star Jung Woo-sung, who co-founded the entertainment agency Artist Company with Lee, also stars.

Premiere: December 2 in theaters

'Broker'

Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae makes his directoral debut and stars in this 1980s-set spy thriller. As an elite South Korean agent (Lee) hunts for a North Korea spy, he becomes increasingly aware of his own country's dark truths. Innocent Witness star Jung Woo-sung, who co-founded the entertainment agency Artist Company with Lee, also stars.

Premiere: December 26 in theaters

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.