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The Korean Crime Mystery Netflix Fans Can't Stop Binging

The South Korean film and television industry has made a massive impact on Western audiences in recent years. With the rousing success of Oscar-winning "Parasite" and record-shattering fanfare around "Squid Game," as well as numerous other remarkable projects, the country has cemented itself as an international leader in the art of storytelling. 

Now, fans of gritty, dystopian dramas have another hit from South Korea to watch. "Hellbound" dropped on Netflix on November 19, and subscribers can't get enough. The six-episode series takes place in the aftermath of the emergence of a terrifying supernatural phenomenon, in which ordinary people are marked for death and then banished to hell by a squad of monsters. "Hellbound" follows religious leaders and the police force as they come to terms with these newfound horrors, as well as the fates of those people seemingly doomed to a life in the inferno.

The live-action series comes from director and writer Yeon Sang-ho, best known for his films "Train to Busan" and "Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula," and has become a massive hit among Netflix subscribers. 

Hellbound is a terrifying thriller full of strong characters

"Hellbound" is based on creator Yeon Sang-ho's webtoon of the same name. The series premiered at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival, becoming the first South Korean drama to receive such an invitation, according to Yonhap News (via Naver). Not only has "Hellbound" jumped to the top of the global ranking of Netflix's most-watched original series (via FlixPatrol), but the show is a hit with critics, too, and is currently holding a very enviable 100% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Kylie Northover of Australian newspaper The Age compliments the show for its "compelling mix of police procedural, violent horror and shrewd commentary around ideas of human flaws, mortality, sin, justice and the influence of media."

Digital Spy's David Opie is quick to point out that, though there are some minor similarities between "Hellbound" and mega-hit "Squid Game," it isn't fair to compare the two. "It's like recommending 'Loki' to someone who enjoys 'Line of Duty,'" he says. "Just because they're both genre shows shot in the same language, it doesn't mean they're comparable." Opie goes on to applaud "Hellbound" for its characters, saying the show "remains engaging throughout thanks to all this character work and the constant sense of foreboding that instils each frame."

For fans of social commentary, the supernatural, and suspenseful thrillers, you can't go wrong with "Hellbound," now streaming on Netflix.