Looking for a K-drama that will get your adrenaline pumping? Try a psychological thriller! These exciting K-dramas give you the thrill of the chase while also exercising your brain. As the stories go deeper, you start questioning if you can trust what you see and hear and you wonder whose motives are truly sincere. Read on for eight psychological thrillers you shouldn’t miss.
Psychological Thriller K-Dramas
1. God's Gift: 14 Days (2014)
Who’s in it: Lee Bo Young, Cho Seung Woo, Kim Tae Woo, Jung Gyu Woon, Kim Yoo Bin
TV writer Kim Soo Hyun (Bo Young) finds herself in the middle of a tragedy when her daughter, Saet Byul (Yoo Bin), gets kidnapped and killed. When she discovers that she can turn back time to 14 days before Saet Byul’s murder, she goes all out to find the culprit responsible and prevent the incident. She gets help from Ki Dong Chan (Seung Woo), a private investigator out to prove his mentally ill brother is not a murderer. As the clock ticks and they start uncovering secrets, they realize there’s something bigger happening. Will they be able to solve everything before the time is up?
2. Liar Game (2014)
Who’s in it: Kim So Eun, Lee Sang Yoon, Shin Sung Rok
This mystery thriller gives us an inside look at the human psyche while also giving a commentary on society. It revolves around pure-hearted Nam Da Jung (So Eun). Being knee-deep in debt, she decides to participate in the survival reality show Liar Game. Contestants must use their smarts to con each other, and the last one standing gets a whopping 10 billion won. But she needs more than just “good moral character” if she wants to survive, so she enlists the help of Ha Woo Jin (Sang Yoon), an ex-convict who was once a psychology professor. Together, they work to outwit the other contestants.
3. Save Me (2017)
After her brother dies, Im Sang Mi’s (Ye Ji) parents become brainwashed by charismatic leader Baek Jung Ki (Sung Ha), and she has no choice but to join the dangerous religious cult Goseonwon and suffer in their hands. Three years later, she meets Han Sang Hwan (Taecyeon), son of a politician and her former classmate. When she asks to be saved, Sang Hwan and his friends go on an all-out mission to infiltrate the cult and get her out. Dark twists and turns dog them every step of the way. This is one disturbing and absorbing drama, so make sure you’re in the right mood when you watch this.
4. Children Of Nobody (2018)
Who’s in it: Kim Sun Ah, Lee Yi Kyung, Nam Gyu Ri, Cha Hak Yeon
This powerful drama is unlike anything we’ve ever watched before. Kim Sun Ah of My Lovely Sam Soon fame continues to impress with her nuanced acting as Cha Woo Kyung, a child psychologist with a mysterious past. She becomes embroiled in a case involving a series of homicides connected to child abuse when clues keep leading back to her. Woo Kyung ends up helping Detective Kang Ji Hyun (Yi Kyung) and his partner, Jun Soo Young (Gyu Ri), while also dealing with her own trauma.
5. Trap (2019)
Who’s in it: Lee Seo Jin, Sung Dong Il, Lim Hwa Young
Be warned: There are some pretty graphic elements here from the first episode, so watch at your own risk. This drama messed with our heads until the end! Throw away your image of cutie grump Lee Seo Jin from his variety shows like Youn’s Kitchen and Three Meals A Day, and get ready for a mindboggling puzzle like no other. Here, he plays popular anchorman Kang Woo Hyun who goes to the mountains with his wife and son. Their leisurely vacation turns into a tragedy when they become a crazy huntsman’s prey. Detective Go Dong Kook (Dong Il) and profiler Yoon Seo Young (Hwa Young) are on the case, but the more they investigate, the more unclear everything becomes.
6. Strangers From Hell (2019)
Here’s another OCN drama that made it hard for us to sleep at night. Based on a popular webtoon, it tells the story of Yoon Jong Woo (Si Wan), a country boy who moves to Seoul for a company internship. Being poor, he decides to stay at a dubious but cheap dorm called Eden Studio, where he finds himself getting annoyed by his weird neighbors. Among them is Seo Moon Jo (Dong Wook), a handsome dentist, who seems to be normal compared to the rest. When strange things start happening at Eden Studio, Jong Woo fears for his life but decides to investigate.
7. 365: Repeat the Year (2020)
Who’s in it: Lee Joon Hyuk, Nam Ji Hyun, Kim Ji Soo, Yang Dong Geun
What would you do if you could go back in time and repeat the past year? In this drama, 10 people who have gone through hell receive a precious chance to turn back the clock and change their lives, but what they end up getting is another tragedy as they start dying one by one. Detective Ji Hyung Joo (Joon Hyuk) uses his skills to solve the case and save their lives, aided by Shin Ga Hyun (Ji Hyun), a popular webtoon artist who decides to reset her life to prevent an incident that leaves her wheelchair-bound. Can they get to the bottom of the deaths, or will they end up getting killed first?
8. Squid Game (2021)
Who’s in it: Lee Jung Jae, Park Hae Soo, Wi Ha Joon, Lee Ji Ha
In this Netflix original series, 465 down-on-their-luck people are invited to play the Squid Game, a survival contest where the last person standing gets 45.6 billion won. All they need to do is play a bunch of children’s games. Easy, right? But what they don’t realize is the consequences of losing the games are deadly—literally. Leading the charge is Ki Hoon (Jung Jae), a gambler deep in debt. He initially thinks the Squid Game is going to solve all his problems, but he soon realizes the real game is to kill or be killed. The contestants must find a way to outsmart their captors, but with all their moves being watched, is there really a way out?
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