No other country does zombie films and series better than South Korea.
While Hollywood zombie films and series of late have been somewhat lacking in terms of character development or have just dragged on for way longer than necessary, South Korea continues to breathe new life into the zombie movie genre.
Happiness, which originally premiered on tvN last November 2021, is the latest Korean zombie series to top the Netflix charts.
The 12-episode series, which was released last week on April 12 has already managed to dethrone Business Proposal and other K-dramas in the Philippines as the number one most-watched TV show in the country.
The series has also entered the Top 10 non-English TV shows globally for the week of April 11 to 17, 2022.
Happiness isn’t your typical zombie series. The apocalyptic thriller starring Han Hyo Joo and Park Hyung Sik takes place in the post-pandemic era, where infectious diseases have become part of the new normal.
In fact, the cause of the outbreak in this fictional future is a failed cure for COVID-19, which sparks a mutated virus called the Mad Human Disease that causes people to experience extreme thirst for blood, leading them to a zombie-like state.
The apocalyptic series mirrors scenes most people have experienced in the ongoing real-life pandemic, with residents of an apartment complex forced to go into lockdown and follow quarantine measures to contain the outbreak.
Happiness is an eerily relevant and timely show to watch whether or not you’re a fan of the zombie genre.
But in case you’ve already binge-watched all 12-episodes of Happiness, here are few of the newest South Korean movies and series that offer similar thrills and feels that you can watch (or most likely rewatch) to get your zombie fix.
All of Us are Dead (2022)
It's highly likely that anyone reading this list has already watched All of Us Are Dead prior to watching Happiness.
The teen K-drama series follows a group to trapped students who must escape their high school which has become ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak.
The high school turns into a bloody battleground and pits classmates against each other as they fight for survival.
We really hope this show gets a second season, as the story ended on a cliffhanger.
Alive is another modern take on the zombie genre that follows Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in), a video gamer stuck in his apartment in Seoul alone amid a zombie apocalypse.
In the movie, the protagonist manages to get in contact with one of his neighbors, Yoo-bin (Park Shin-hye), who works with him to find food and more survivors in the building.
Eventually, they try and make their way to the rooftop to be rescued by the military.
Train to Busan (2016)
Train to Busan is one of South Korea’s most iconic zombie titles and is a must-watch for all horror fans.
Directed by Yeon Sang-ho (Hellbound) the film takes place in a high-speed train headed from Seoul to Busan.
Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) boards the train with his daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) only to find out mid-trip that a zombie apocalypse is breaking out in the country.
The standalone sequel to Train to Busan follows a former soldier who is sent along with a team to retrieve a truck full of money from the wastelands of the Korean peninsula now inhabited by zombies, rogue militia, and a family.
Peninsula mixes some high-speed car chase scenes with zombie action, making for an entertaining watch.
Seoul Station (2016)
Seoul Station is an animated prequel to Train to Busan that released less than a month after the successful film.
The story focuses on three main characters, including Suk-gyu (Ryu Seung-ryong), who is on the search for his runaway daughter Hye-sun (Shim Eun-kyung).
The animated film shows how the zombie epidemic began in South Korea before the live action film’s events.
Kingdom (2019 - 2020)
Unlike most of the recently released zombie shows and movies set in modern times, Netflix's first Korean original series Kingdom stands out because it’s set during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty.
A mysterious plague breaks out, bringing the dead back alive in this historical zombie drama series.
In the second season of the show, the disease makes its way to neighboring provinces as Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) tries to contain the outbreak to save his people.
The series is brutal and dark, with intense fighting sequences as the characters constantly face off against zombie hordes.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021)
Kingdom: Ashin of the North is a special 92-minute episode that serves as a prequel to Season 1 of Kingdom and explains the background of Ashin, the mysterious woman introduced at the end of Season 2.
The special episode delves into Ashin's origin story and her experiences growing into a scorned woman that turned against the Kingdom of Joseon.
For those who can’t get enough of Kingdom, Rampant released in 2018 offers a very similar storyline to the historical zombie series, but in a shorter, more digestible movie format.
The film comes from the same studio behind Train to Busan and the Korean disaster film Pandora.
Rampant offers an exciting blend of zombie horror and fantasy martial arts action that follows an exiled prince who returns to find his kingdom overrun by vicious undead creatures.
As a treat to K-drama fans, the film stars Crash Landing on You's Hyun Bin.
The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale (2019)
Want a bit of comedy mixed in with zombie action? The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale is an entertaining departure from the typical action-packed zombie movies and series.
The 2019 zombie comedy film tells the story of a pharmaceutical company's illegal experiments that inadvertently create a zombie, and focuses on the strange Park family that finds it and tries to profit from it.
Like Happiness, the film also promises a bit of romance, mixed in with the action and hordes of zombies, so it's a win for us.