Following on from the success of Squid Game and Hellbound, more and more Netflix subscribers are turning to the streaming service's international offerings for their next dose of blood, guts and drama. Thankfully for fans of all things horror and suspense, Netflix has a number of series (and movies) available to watch from all over the globe that will scratch that itch for you.
We've compiled a list of 20 killer suggestions for you from the horror, fantasy, and thriller genre that all contain similar themes to either Squid Game or Hellbound - all of which should keep you busy while we wait for the second season of both shows. Whether you're in the mood for a zombie series like All of us Are Dead, a sci-fi mystery like The Silent Sea, or even a thrilling romance like Crash Landing on You, we've got you covered.
20 Netflix shows like Squid Game and Hellbound
A series that’s often hard to watch, Extracurricular follows a group of troubled teens who commit crimes to earn money. The series starts as ringleader Oh Ji-soo, a model student, doesn’t have the funds to get into university and so engages in illegal activity to earn some cash and things eventually catch up with him. This dark and morbid show has enough blood and guts to scratch your Squid Game itch – and will inevitably cause the same level of anxiety you had when watching the glass bridge game.
An interesting twist on the post-apocalyptic genre, Sweet Home answers the age-old question of what would happen if all your neighbours turned into blood-thirsty monsters. Cha Hyun-soo, a newcomer to the decrepit Green Home apartment complex, doesn’t have a great outlook on life after losing his family in a tragic accident. To make things worse, a virus has seemingly broken out in the block and is causing all of the people to mutate.
It’s up to the remaining residents to work together – or plot against each other – in order to survive and hopefully escape the apartment block, which has been mysteriously locked from the outside. Sweet Home shares the supernatural aspects of Hellbound, making this perfect for anyone who has just finished that series.
All of Us Are Dead
High school is rarely a fun experience, but it can be made all the more worse if a zombie apocalypse breaks out in your school. This is exactly what happens to the students at Hyosan High School who, over the period of a few days, must adapt and survive as each of their classmates comes down with a killer disease. If you were a fan of the extremely tense and gory scenes in Squid Game, All of Us Are Dead is perfect for you.
Alice in Borderland
Alice in Borderland can rival Squid Game with its sadistic survival games. This Japanese series takes place on the bustling streets of Shibuya, Tokyo, and follows three friends – Arisu, Karube, and Chota – who manage to escape police custody after causing some disruption. After hiding for a few minutes, the three friends return outside and are met with empty streets and a mysterious broadcast that tells them to join 'The Game' which they do. However, it’s not until the trio takes part in the first challenge that they realise that their prize for winning is making it out alive.
Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area
Based on the Spanish show of the same(ish) name, Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area is sort of similar to Squid Game in the fact that it features a group of people desperate for money. It even stars Park Hae-soo aka Sang-woo in Squid Game. Just like in the original, a group of nine individuals are working together to pull off the heist of the century. If you enjoy this one, the good news is that more episodes are on the way soon.
Another South Korean horror offering, Kingdom is set in a fictional medieval-inspired village during Korea’s Joseon dynasty and features Sense 8’s Bae Doo-na among other talented cast members. Following the King’s death from a mysterious illness, the Crown Prince seeks answers for his father’s sudden passing. In his efforts to uncover the truth, Prince Lee Chang instead discovers an unnatural plague that resurrects the dead and brings them back as zombies who go on to terrorise the kingdom. There’s also a movie tie-in called Kingdom: Ashin of the North available to watch.
Despite being loosely based on the Little Women novel by Louisa May Alcott, this version of the tale couldn't be more different. The series follows three sisters who come from a poor family whose lives are turned upside down after one of the sisters stumbles across a stray 70 billion won (around $48 million). If you were a fan of the police officer-turned-guard Jun-ho in Squid Game, you can see the actor again in this family drama.
The Silent Sea
Don’t be put off by the sci-fi setting of this series. Like All of Us Are Dead, The Silent Sea also has more than its fair share of graphic death scenes. Set in the dystopian future, the world is experiencing a severe drought which has led to a group of scientists on a mission to the moon to retrieve a mysterious water sample which will supposedly end the water shortage on earth.
Shortly after arriving at the space station though, the astronauts quickly realise that something isn’t right as they discover all of the scientists previously stationed there had been killed by an unknown cause. To make things even worse, it soon comes to light that the astronauts aren’t the only people in the space station who are in need of the special Luna water. You may notice The Silent Sea has a few familiar faces from this list as the series stars Gong Yoo - aka the train station guy from Squid Game - as well as Bae Doo-na from Kingdom.
Flower of Evil
This thriller series is a murder mystery but with the twist of the detective potentially being married to the main suspect. In Flower of Evil, detective Cha Ji-won is married to Baek Hee-sung and the pair, along with their young daughter, appear to be the perfect family. Upon investigating a series of unexplained murders though, Ji-won begins to suspect that there may be more to her perfect husband than she realises.
The School Nurse Files
If you enjoyed the high school setting of All of Us Are Dead but fancy something a little more light-hearted, we suggest giving The School Nurse Files a try. Also based on a popular webtoon like All of Us Are Dead, The School Nurse Files focuses on, as you’d expect, the school nurse Ahn Eun-young who has the ability to see alien-like jellies, that are born from human feelings and desires.
Although most definitely not part of her job description, Eun-young takes it upon herself to eradicate the school of these jellies with the help of a trusty BB gun and a light stick. The only thing is, since only she can see them, the rest of the school sees a mad-woman running around like a kid with a lightsaber. This isn’t the sort of show you’d watch for a scare, however it does have a mystery in its plot and monsters that could rival the ones from All of Us Are Dead.
Along the same sort of lines as Hellbound which featured 'angels of death', Tomorrow takes the idea of the grim reaper and gives them more of a human identity. After attempting to save a homeless man from taking his own life – and accidentally almost losing his own in the process – job seeker Choi Jun-woong is given the opportunity to join the crisis management team in a corporate version of the afterlife. It's here that he, along with two other grim reapers, will attempt to save those who are trying to end their lives.
The surprisingly dark psychological thriller The Call centers on Kim Seo-yeon, who loses her cellphone on the way to visit her mother in the rural countryside. She finds an old phone, but upon reconnecting the device, she keeps receiving calls from a young woman who lived in the very same house 20 years prior. Not a present-day phone call, mind, but she’s calling from 20 years ago.
This sparks a friendship between the pair and causes Seo-yeon to ask the woman to make changes in the past to influence her life in the present – sometimes with disastrous consequences. This is the perfect movie for those who love a good butterfly effect narrative and multiple surprising plot twists.
The Uncanny Counter
If you can't get enough of supernatural shows on this list, then we have another great Korean show for you. In the Uncanny Counter, a group of 'Counters' will use their supernatural abilities to keep demons who are trying to live on earth at bay. They'll do this whilst simultaneously running a noodle shop and taking on a new trainee Counter. It's a good idea to get into this series soon as a second season is on the way soon.
If you’re looking for an action-packed series with a side order of violence, Vincenzo’s the show for you. After being adopted as a child and moving to Italy, Park Joo-hyung, AKA Vincenzo Cassano, is a lawyer and member of the Mafia who returns to his birthplace of South Korea - and it doesn’t take him long to make some new enemies. Combining his legal knowledge and skills picked up from being a consigliere, Vincenzo decides to go up against a large and shady corporation that has illegally obtained ownership of a very valuable building.
No, not the Robert DeNiro one. In this Taxi Driver, we follow the story of Kim Do-gi who, after failing to seek revenge on his mother's killer, joins a taxi company called Rainbow Taxi. This isn't your standard pick-up and drop-off scenario though as this taxi company actually offers a "revenge-call" service to its clients. In a killer twist, its employees will seek revenge for victims who can no longer rely on the justice system but in very brutal ways.
My Name sees high school student Yoon Ji-woo forced to deal with the consequences of her father’s gangster lifestyle. On Ji-woo’s birthday, her father is killed, leading her to seek revenge. Turning to a crime boss for guidance, Ji-woo takes on a new identity and enrolls in the police force to find the person responsible for her father’s murder. My Name doesn’t shy away from a brutal fight scene or grizzly murder, so go into this series expecting to see the worst. If you managed Squid Game though, you should have no problem witnessing Ji-woo throw a few punches.
Girl From Nowhere
We're heading to Thailand for this next series. Girl From Nowhere follows a mysterious girl called Nanno who has a habit of transferring schools. Once she's enrolled at a new school, Nanno exposes the lies and secrets that usually get swept under the rug. Although Nanno sounds heroic, the fact it's made its way onto this list shows that things get dark and sinister quickly. If this show has you gripped, you can always get started on the second season also on Netflix.
#Alive tells the story of tech-obsessed gamer Oh Joon-woo who gets caught up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. He lives alone in a high rise apartment, and isn’t in too much of a rush to leave. However, once supplies start running low and Joon-woo begins worrying about his family, he decides to team up with his neighbour Kim Yoo-bin to try and escape. #Alive also stars Park Shin-hye from The Call, as well as Yoo Ah-in who appeared in Hellbound. One for fans of another great zombie flick, Train to Busan.
Potentially the spookiest entry on this list is Incantation, a Taiwanese horror movie. Yes, we’re breaking our own rules again by going outside the world of television, but this is too good to ignore.
The found-footage film shows the life of Li Ronan who, six years prior to the events of the film, accidentally broke a religious taboo whilst filming a documentary. Now, in the present day, she has just regained custody of her daughter but strange and very spooky things begin to happen to the pair which results in Ronan desperately looking for a way to stop the curse affecting her daughter.
Crash Landing On You
Crash Landing on You is the least gory suggestion here. In this romance/action series, we are transported to North Korea after South Korean businesswoman Yoon Se-ri gets stranded across the border due to a paragliding accident. North Korea is a strict country, and when an outsider literally crash lands into it, things do not go down well.
Thankfully for Se-ri though, Captain of the North Korean army Ri Jeong-hyeok is the one who finds her and agrees to help smuggle her out. In the meantime though, Se-ri must integrate into North Korean life – which proves difficult following her lavish life in the south – and avoid being caught by the authorities.
We have only scratched the surface of Netflix’s international offerings, if you’re looking for more suggestions, make sure you check out the best Netflix shows out now.