We're already a month into the new year, yet here in Seoul, not many Korean movies have come out in 2016. So while we wait for exciting Korean movie releases this year, we look back just a month ago to see some of the best films of 2015.

While 2015 wasn't the best year for movies, it did have some good, underrated gems to check out. Let's get to the 10 movies from 2015 you should check out.

10. The Silenced


Taking place in 1938 in Korea occupied Japan, a young girl Joo-ran (Park Bo-young) is admitted to a boarding school. The school is run by a strict principal (Eom Ji-won) in a remote area.

However, Joo-ran soon discovers the boarding school has a mystery of its own. Girls start disappearing. Creepy occurrences randomly happen inside the school. Hallucinations are seen.

Joo-ran finds out that the previous girl who she's replacing had the same name as her. As she starts taking medicine to get over an illness, she starts to slowly uncover the school's creepy secret.


9. The Office

As many of you can attest, the workplace can be filled with petty politics, backstabbing, and stress. The gore-thriller, The Office, shows this dark side of working for the "man/woman".

When salaryman Kim Byung-guk (Bae Seong-Woo) comes back home, his family does not notice anything unusual at first. As he pulls out a hammer, they notice it's a bit odd, but not really a big deal.

Until he slaughters his entire family, including his disabled son.

In turn, the police immediately start looking for him.


8. Coin Locker Girl

In 1996, a beggar finds a newborn girl in a subway coin locker in Incheon. The beggar names the girl Il-young, after the locker number "10" that she was found in.

She lives with the homeless community until she is eight, yet is soon picked up by a corrupt cop named Taek. The cop passes Il-young to her adoptive mother, whom everyone calls "mom".

Her new adoptive mom is not just any mom with a kind heart and room for one more. She's actually a female mob boss. Sensing potential in her new daughter, "mom" teaches the innocent Il-young the tools of being a crime lord. She learns how to beg convincingly, loan shark, forging ID cards, and making debtors pay up, which includes murder if need be.

Yet, when Il-young meets a son of a debtor, Seok-hyun, she soon has a change of heart to kill his father to collect his debt.


7. 4th Place

Sixteen years later, Kim is washed up, with his glory swimming days well-behind him. One day, a mother visit his aquarium and asks a former Asian Games swimmer, Kim Gwang-su to become his son's coach. The mother's son, Jin-ho, had a pattern of always placing 4th in his swimming matches.

While Jin-ho improves rapidly at first, he soon becomes trapped into an inescapable pattern of abuse, torments, beats, and "this is for your own good" scolding. To coach Kim, placing anything other than the top would not be acceptable.


6. Gangnam Blues

During the 1970s, two orphans, Jong-dae (Lee Min-ho) and Yong-gi (Kim Rae-won) sell trash found on the street to get by. They soon find themselves freezing, as they cannot afford heating.

When a gang offers the two kids a job, they immediately jump on it. Yet, during one of their jobs, they become separated when trying to break up a political demonstration.

Three years later, they meet up as rivals from different gangs. 

One of the lead stars, Lee Min-ho, is mega-popular within Asia. While it is easy to dismiss him as "just another pretty boy", he does a convincing job as a gangster on the rise. Veteran Kim Rae-won also does a great job selling the rivalry and becoming a gangster to be reckoned with.


5. Inside Men

Dealing with the dark, corrupt media manipulation, Inside Men reveals a story of various politicians fighting for power and ego.

When Ang Sang-goo (Lee Byung-hoon) uses his media connections to help a conservative newspaper editor and congressman in a presidential campaign, he secretly makes a deal. By helping the two, he would pocket the money of the newspaper's largest sponsor.

Yet, someone is onto Ang. Woo Jang-hoo, an ambitious prosecutor, sees something fishy with Ang. Knowing that exposing this scandal could make him rise to the top fast, he investigates Sang-goo's relationship with the editor and congressman.

However, Ang won't go down so easily. He is already plotting revenge against the budding prosecutor. The battle lines between the various parties for power, revenge, and success are soon drawn.


4. Reach for the SKY

To many young Koreans, the suneung -- Korean SATs taken in high school -- is that moment. Do well on the suneung and they can attend one of the three golden universities in Korea, SKY (Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University) while setting themselves up with a good career for life.

Co-directed by Choi Woo-young and Belgium's Steven Dhoedt, Reach for the SKY tackles a subject that is hits home to Koreans. The film follows three teenagers and a teacher throughout the suneung experience during the last year of high school.


3. Veteran

The cheerful Seoul police detective Seo Do-cheol (Hwang Jung-min) on a mission to bust a gang of car smugglers. But while investigating this high-profile case, Seo finds out that someone is pulling the strings.

Unlike many other crime thrillers or police films, Veteran is laced with comedy and gags. Self-mockery is shown, jokes are plenty, and banter add liveliness and breaks up the seriousness of a police movie. 


2. Right Now, Wrong Then

A romantic story directed by Hong Sang-soo Right Now, Wrong Then is a twist on the Groundhog Day-deja vu scenario.

It plays to the question of "what if I did this instead." In fact, the movie is split into two halves, each half representing a different decision.

In the first half of the film, arthouse film director Chun-Soo (Jung Jae-Young) arrives in Suwon to give a special lecture. Since he arrives one day earlier, he decides to visit the Hwaseong Palace. He meets a painter, Hee-Jung (Kim Min-Hee), who recognizes him, but has never seen any of his films. They spend the rest of the day together, seeing her paintings, eating sushi, and attending Hee-Jung's friend's party at night.

Yet, before sunrise the next day, Chun-Soo reveals something unexpected to Hee-Jung. This harsh confession kills their connection immediately and destroys their newfound relationship. But perhaps another choice can be made.


1. Assassination

Set in 1933 during Japan’s colonial rule of Korea, an order is given to assassinate two high-profile targets. One of the targets is Kawaguchi Mamoru, the Japanese garrison governor in Gyeongseong, and Kang In-gook, a pro-Japanese Korean business tycoon.

To carry out this mission, a small group of pro-Korean independence leaders in hiding carry out this daunting task. In turn, these commanders choose three assassins to do the job. Explosives specialist Hwang Deok-sam (Choi Deok-moon); Chu Sang-ok (Cho Jin-woong), a graduate from the Independence Military School; and Ahn Ok-yun (Jun Ji-hyun), a deadly sniper are assigned to the mission.

However, among the group is a traitor that is secretly working for the Japanese. This unknown agent secretly hired two mercenaries to kill off the assassins and foil the plan.


What's your favorite Korean films of 2015?

To recap, here are our picks:

10. The Silenced

9. The Office

8. Coin Locker Girl

7. 4th Place

6. Gangnam Blues

5. Inside Men

4. Reach for the SKY

3. Veteran

2. Right Now, Wrong Then

1. Assassination

What do you think? What are your favorite Korean films of 2015? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jason Yu is a foreign pop culture journalist working in Seoul, Korea. He's all about Asian movies, K-pop, and eSports. To learn more about movies, check out his free, in-depth http://asianfilmist.com/subscribe-page/">e-book on 108 Asian must-see movies. Or visit his Facebook page at Asian Filmist and talk about Asian cinema with him.