The 11 Best New Korean Movies of 2023 (So Far)

Several can't-miss thrillers are headed to the big screen this year.

still from jung-e korean movie 2023
(Image credit: Netflix)

In the past decade, Korean cinema has had a breakthrough moment in the U.S., as viewers discover films from Train to Busan and Parasite to Burning and Decision to Leave. 2023 is already racking up to be another great year for K-content fans, with Netflix contributing several Korean films to its largest Korean lineup yet, including some long-awaited action films and a feature-length documentary on the early career of Bong Joon-ho. Read on to discover the Korean films coming to U.S. theaters and streaming platforms this year. (If you're looking for the best Korean movies on Netflix or the best Korean movies of 2022 that are already out, we've got guides to those too.)

'Jung_E'

This dystopian thriller from Train to Busan and Hellbound director Yeon Sang-ho takes place on a 22nd century Earth that's no longer inhabitable due to climate change. In the middle of desolation, a war between survivors breaks out in the humans' only shelter. The only way to win and end the war lies in cloning the legendary mercenary JUNG_E (played by Kim Hyun-joo) into an immortal robot.

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab)

'Unlocked'

This thriller adaptation of the Japanese film Stolen Identity is any tech-obsessed woman's worst nightmare. One day on her way home from work, Na-mi (Be Melodramatic's Chun Woo-hee) loses her smartphone and it's returned by Jun-yeong (Run On's Yim Si-wan), after he installs spyware. The stranger begins tracking her everyday life and eventually approaches her while concealing his identity. Around the same time that Na-mi's ordinary life spins out of control, Jun-yeong's father, police detective Ji-man (Kim Hee-won), finds traces at his son at a crime scene.

Premiere: February 17th on Netflix

'Project Wolf Hunting'

This gruesome prison-break thriller follows a group of convicts aboard a cargo ship, who coordinate an escape attempt that turns into a full-out riot. As they fight their way through the chaos, both the guards and the criminals, led by serial killer Park Jang-du (Seo In-guk), also have to avoid being killed by a mysterious monster stowed below. Jang Dong-yoon (The Tale of Nokdu), Park Ho-san (True Beauty), and Jung So-min (Alchemy of Souls) also star.

Premiere: February 14 to rent or buy

'Return to Seoul'

This highly-acclaimed dramatic film finally hits theaters next month, after a year on the film festival circuit. It follows Freddie (Ji-min Park), a 25-year-old who returns to South Korea, the country of her birth, for the first time since she was adopted and raised in France. What started as an impulsive trip to visit friends becomes an unexpected and journey to track down her biological parents in the country she knows so little about.

Premiere: February 17 in limited theaters

'Kill Bok-soon'

still from kill boksoon korean movie 2023

(Image credit: Netflix)

The titular Bok-soon of this action thriller lives a double life. Played by Crash Course in Romance star Jeon Do-yeon, the woman is both the mother of a teenage daughter and a legendary professional killer with a 100 percent success rate. Caught between "the mission of killing someone and the mission of raising someone," Boksoon is thrown into a kill-or-be-killed confrontation after she refuses to complete an assignment. Sol Kyung-gu (Yaksha: Ruthless Operations), Esom (Taxi Driver), and Koo Kyo-hwan (D.P.) also star.

Premiere: TBA on Netflix

'Believer 2'

still from believer 2 korean movie 2023

(Image credit: Netflix)

This sequel to the hit 2018 crime action flick Believer will bring back a stacked cast led by Jo Jin-woong (Signal) and Cha Seung-won (Our Blues). Believer 2 will follow police detective Won-ho (Jo) as he teams up with Brian (Cha) and other gang members as he continues his mission to track down Mr. Lee, the head of Asia's biggest drug cartel. Happiness and W star Han Hyo-joo will also join the sequel as Big Knife, another shady character who knows the true identity of Mr. Lee.

Premiere: TBA on Netflix

'Ballerina'

still from ballerina korean movie 2023

(Image credit: Netflix)

Money Heist: Korea (opens in new tab) stars Jeon Jong-seo and Kim Ji-hoon will reunite in this revenge-based action thriller. Ok-ju (Jeon) is a former bodyguard who's friends with ballerina Min-hee (Drive My Car's Park Yurim). When Min-hee asks for a favor, Ok-ju seeks revenge on the mysterious Choi (Kim) on her friend's behalf.

Premiere: TBA on Netflix

'The Match'

still from the match korean movie 2023

(Image credit: Netflix)

This biopic is based on the true story of the careers of master Go player Cho Hun-Hyun (played by Squid Game's Lee Byung-hun) and his protégé-become-rival Lee Chang-ho (Hellbound's Yoo Ah-in). The Grand Slam winner took in his student when the younger was just ten years old, with Chang-ho working tirelessly to surpass his expert teacher. Their rivalry later comes to a head in the match of a lifetime, played at a time when the game of Go was more popular than the World Cup. (For anyone unfamiliar, Go is the game of black and white stones that was featured in The Glory (opens in new tab) and the first Knives Out.)

Premiere: TBA on Netflix

'Yellow Door: Looking for Director Bong's Unreleased Short Film' (Working Title)

bong joon-ho

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix is dipping its toe into the world of Korean documentaries this year, with a film exploring the early career of Oscar-winning Parasite director Bong Joon-ho. When he was a university student in the early 1990s, Bong made his first-ever film, a 22-minute stop-motion short called Looking For Paradise. The film was screened for 10 members of cinephile club Yellow Door on Christmas 1992, and has never been seen since. Yellow Door will follow director Lee Hyuk-rae's quest for the beloved director's unreleased film.

Premiere: TBA on Netflix

'The Point Men'

Hyun Bin (Crash Landing on You) leads this action flick's stacked cast, which also includes Hwang Jung-min (Narco-Saints) and Kang Ki-young (Extraordinary Attorney Woo). Based on true events that took place in 2007, the film follows efforts to rescue a group of Korean tourists taken hostage by a terrorist group in Afghanistan. When skilled negotiator Jae-ho (Hwang) struggles to handle the situation diplomatically, he has to team up with special agent Dae-sik (Hyun) and work against a ticking clock to rescue the hostages.

Premiere: TBA on Viki

'Gangnam Zombie'

This new zombie horror takes place in the upscale Gangnam neighborhood in Seoul, as citizens start experiencing terrifying symptoms from an unknown affliction that turns them into inhuman creatures. It follows the few remaining survivors trying to make it out alive, portrayed by stars including Find Me In Your Memory's Ji Il-soo and T-ara member Park Ji-yeon. 

Premiere: TBA

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.