Five K-dramas that will satisfy your itch for suspense
At least no one’s life is at the mercy of dalgona this time.
You’ve binge-watched Squid Game in one night and spent the last week or so reliving the thrill and excitement the show brought on social media.
From TikTok videos of what people would feed the characters to theories of a possible season two, the Squid Game hype has flooded the internet for the next two weeks.
But alas, you eventually find yourself worn out and miss the rollercoaster of emotions you had when you first watched Squid Game. From the tensions brought about by the deadly games, to the heart wrenching moments when characters died, you start yearning for that sense of thrill again.
Well, here are five K-dramas that can bring you that sense of thrill and excitement like Squid Game.
1. Memories of the Alhambra
Starting off on a lighter note, fans of the anime Sword Art Online might enjoy this concept.
The 2012 anime followed the story of gamers trapped within a virtual world with no means of escape unless they beat the game, except dying in the game means dying in real life as well.
In a similar way, Memories of the Alhambra, which stars Hyun-Bin from Crash Landing On You and Park Shin-Hye, revolves around an augmented reality game that allows players to experience the game in a real environment but with virtual props and events. Instead of a VR headset, the game uses smart contact lenses, allowing players to play the game in the real world.
But the line between reality and the virtual world gradually becomes blurred, leaving the duo caught up in mysterious incidents and in more danger than they realise.
2. Strangers from Hell
Based on the webcomic of the same name, Strangers from Hell is a reminder to check out your next residence thoroughly before moving in.
Yoon Jong-Woo (played by Im Si-Wan) is an aspiring crime fiction writer who moves into a cheap apartment complex. Despite his creepy neighbours and cramped living conditions, he does not complain much due to his financial limitations. Little does he know he is living among literal criminals.
Charismatic dentist by day, murderer by night, Seo Moon-Jo (Lee Dong-Wook) is a fellow neighbour who grows fond of Jong-Woo’s innocence and decides to befriend him with the intention of grooming a killer out of him. Under the guise of a budding bromance, Jong-Woo is fooled by the dentist’s charm and in spite of his growing fear for his neighbours, follows him down this similar path of corruption.
Oh Ji-Soo in Extracurricular really takes hustle culture to an extreme.
A model student well-liked by teachers, Ji-Soo (played by Kim Dong-Hee) runs an illegal business on his self-developed app called Doggo, where compensated dates are arranged between clients and sex workers. In exchange, sex workers are then offered protection against the more demanding clients.
His secret is eventually found out and an ensuing game of mouse-and-cat between Ji-Soo and the Police is played out, as things take a violent turn. Full of unpredictability, the show will keep you on the edge of your seat while Ji-Soo’s once bright prospects grow dimmer by the minute.
4. Sweet Home
In a world where the majority of the population is either dead or have become monsters, Cha Hyun-Soo (played by Song Kang) struggles to survive with his neighbours in his apartment complex.
As survivors travel in and out of the apartment complex to gather supplies and intel, it is revealed that these monsters are birthed from human desires, meaning it is possible to suppress the ‘monsterification’ process.
At the same time, Cha Hyun-Soo catches himself having nosebleeds more frequently, a symptom of the developing monster ‘virus’ within him, and fights his own battle trying not to turn into a monster himself.
Sweet Home is available on Netflix for ages 18 and above.
Unlike its counterparts in the rest of this listicle, Goedam is an anthology with each episode no more than 15 minutes long. However, despite its short duration, each episode is filled with suspense that makes your hair stand.
Even though each episode follows its own unique storyline, they all take place in the same universe and thus are all connected. Pay close attention and you might catch the easter eggs linking all eight episodes together. (Hint: Try rewatching the series backwards.)