Movies Like Parasite – Best Korean Films

When Parasite was announced as an Academy Award potential winner, many Oscar pundits expected the movie to win Best International Feature Film. But nobody expected the movie to win major prizes like Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The movie was the first foreign-language film that won Best Picture. Are there any other great movies like Parasite?

Of course there are. Parasite was an eye-opening movie for many fans because of the story it told. The 2019 South Korean movie was directed by Bong Joon-ho. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. Starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-Kyun, and many more Korean actors, the movie follows a poor family who schemes to become employed by a wealthy family and infiltrate their household.

The movie premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first South Korean movie to win the Palme d’Or. Many film critics consider parasite the best film 2019 and one of the best in the 21st century.

The movie had a small budget of only $15.5 million. And it managed to gross more than $263 million worldwide.

Besides Oscars, the movie also won Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English language.

With that in mind, here are other best movies like Parasite. Spoiler alert: not all of them are Korean movies.

Mother

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This is another movie by the director of Parasite, Bong Joon-ho. Anyone who wants to watch movies like Parasite should check his filmography.

Bong released Mother in 2009, a movie with an unpredictable plot about an elderly woman trying to exonerate her son for the murder of a young girl.

The movie became famous for its grounded look at working-class struggles in contemporary South Korea.

Similar to Parasite, Mother balances between dark comedy, violence, and ethereal drama.

Burning

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If you want to get into contemporary South Korean cinema, you should definitely check Burning. The movie is based on the short story by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. We know he is already an established author in the Western world.

Lee Chang-dong directed Burning, covering similar Parasite ground. The movie examines South Korea and its class schism and the general viciousness of wealth.

The movie features a lot of blood, and an actor you probably have heard of. Steven Yeun is a star in The Walking Dead franchise. Here, he delivers an incredible performance.

The Handmaiden

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The mystery drama movie was released in 2016. You can also put in the genre of romance and thriller. The movie shifts our attention to the dark side of what makes us human. And that is betrayal, violence, and transgression.

Based on a 2002 novel by British author Sarah Water, The Handmaiden revolves around the love of two women and the greedy men around them.

The movie shifts the plot from Victorian London to 1930s Korea. Some might compare the movie to the mystery and suspense Alfred Hitchcock delivered. It is a stylish psychological thriller packing just enough erotic tension to put a crack on your screen.

If you love cinema art, this movie is a must-see.

Okja

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Bong Joon-ho has tried himself in different genres. While Parasite is a psychological thriller, Okja is an action-adventure film. Bong wrote the screenplay. The movie revolves around a young girl who raised a genetically modified super pig, named Okja. That is the titular character.

The girl goes on a mission to rescue it from mistreatment after the pig is taken to the United States and is at the hands of the meat industry.

The movie was a nominee for the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. In the summer of 2017, it was released on the streaming platform Netflix.

The Host

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The Korean name of the movie is Gwoemul, which translates to Monster. It is a 2006 South Korean monster film, also directed by Bong Joon-ho.

The plot follows a monster kidnapping a man’s daughter and his attempt to rescue her. Bong said that the inspiration for this movie came from a local article. In it, a deformed fish with an S-shaped spine was caught in the Han River.

By the end of its run in South Korea, the movie sold 13 million tickets. It made it the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time at that particular moment.

Good Time

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This movie is also available on Netflix. It is a gritty and emotional crime thriller following Robert Pattinson. In the movie, the American actor portrays a would-be bank robber as he loses his developmentally disabled brother to the prison system.

Robert’s character goes on a mission to raise the money for the bail of his brother. He does it as quickly as possible and through any means necessary.

This movie is definitely a must-watch if you have any doubts about Pattinson’s ability to deliver a great performance. He has evolved way past the Twilight series. Watch this movie if you have any doubts about him as a Batman actor.

Internal Affairs

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This movie stars Andy Lau and Tony Leung as two undercover informers on the opposite side of the police’s war on a triad boss. The twisting game of cat and mouse in this movie is just amazing. Throughout the entire movie, the two spies hunt for each other and try to outdo the other.

Many consider it one of the best Asian modern classics remade in Hollywood in the 2000s. Fun fact: Martin Scorsese used the plot to make his movie, The Departed. That American version earned Scorsese an Oscar for Best Director.

Another fun fact: Bong Joon-ho singled out Scorsese as a major influence when he won his own Academy Award for Best Director. That endorsement is enough for any Parasite fan to check out the movie.

Memories of Murder

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The 2003 South Korean crime thriller is another movie like Parasite written and directed by Bong Joon-ho. The story is loosely based on a true story. It follows Korea’s first confirmed serial murders which took place between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong.

It was the second feature film by Bong, following his directorial debut film Barking Dogs Never Bite.

The Imposter

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The movie chronicles the story of Frederic Bourdin. He is a 36-year old French man who impersonated a missing 16-year old kid from Texas. Frederic managed to fool the parents, the police, and his classmates.

Think of it as a documentary. It shows you people are not who they say they are. But the movie takes that plot and premise to an extreme level. It is the most extreme and unbelievable true way possible.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

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Similar to Parasite, the movie by Yorgos Lanthimos is a mental assault of a movie. One teenager slowly infects the family of a friendly surgeon. That forces the most extreme decisions made by the characters in the movie.

Tonally, the movie is quite similar to Parasite. You will bite your tongue hard and laugh through the bleeding.

Shoplifters

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The movie came out just one year before Parasite. It tells quite a unique and interesting story. It is about a marginalized family of day workers, crooks, and more who live on the fringes of Japanese society.

The movie is all about small-time outlaws who have jobs but spruce up their low-wage income by committing petty crimes. Are they justified?

The Housemaid

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This movie by Kim Ki is a horror melodrama. Bong has cited it specifically as a huge influence on his overall voice as a filmmaker and a direct inspiration for the movie Parasite.

Similar to The Parasite movie, The Housemaid story may ostensibly seem like a conventional cautionary tale. The story follows a weak-willed husband of a burgeoning middle-class household who is being manipulated by a monstrous femme fatale.

Through masterful twists in the plot, the movie exposes many social anxieties in Korea.

US

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Jordan Peele delivered this masterful thriller. It takes on similar issues like The Parasite movie, including class rage. But it has a more obvious sci-fi concept.

Both directors are masters of dramatic films that contain a core of sardonic fun. But this one has a more science fiction it.

Some would say that thematically, it is the American equivalent of Parasite. Lupita N’yongo should have won an award for her performance in the movie.

Cosmopolis

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The movie is based on the novel by Don DeLillo. The 2012 Canadian drama film was directed by David Cronenberg. It stars Robert Pattinson in the lead role. The film premiered in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

It takes on the sort of decadence and decay that looms over Parasite for most of the movie.

The Platform

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If you want a movie like Parasite, check The Platform on Netflix. It is the closest thing to Parasite released so far.

It is an interesting Spanish movie. For most of it or close to 90%, The Platform is a science fiction drama. But the last 10% are horror movies.

Many view The Platform as an allegory set in the future where prisoners live in vertical cells. Each cell has to wait for the cell above it to eat to get food.

Depending on the floor where you wake up, you might not get any food at all. The premise creates disturbing situations that are representative of our modern society.

American Psycho

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Let’s finish off the list of movies like Parasite with a movie which is all about the emptiness of wealth, latent violence behind excess, parody, comedy, and blood. In American Psycho, you do not have to wait for the killing until the end.

The 2000 black comedy horror movie is based on Bert Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel, American Psycho. The movie is set in the late 1980s and stars Christian Bale as the main character. He is an investment banker who is gradually revealed to be a serial killer preying on homeless people.

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