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[Newsmaker] Netflix’s ‘Hellbound’ may be the next big Korean hit

“Hellbound,” directed by Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix)
“Hellbound,” directed by Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix)

Netflix’s fantasy thriller “Hellbound” directed by Yeon Sang-ho is off to a good start in following in the footsteps of global sensation “Squid Game.”

A day after being released Friday, Yeon’s Netflix series topped the Top TV show on Netlflix chart, according to streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.

“Squid Game” grabbed the No. 2 spot on the chart Saturday. The global hit TV series directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk had stayed atop FlixPatrol’s TV series chart for 46 consecutive days from Sept. 23. It topped the chart again on Nov. 10 and remained in the spot until Friday.
 
A screenshot of FlixPatrol’s Top TV show on Netflix chart on Saturday (FlixPatrol)
A screenshot of FlixPatrol’s Top TV show on Netflix chart on Saturday (FlixPatrol)

According to data provided by the analytics firm’s website, Yeon’s series became the most popular show in 24 different countries, including Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. It is also ranked No. 2 in countries like India, France and Brazil.

“Hellbound” is based on a webtoon of the same title written by Yeon and illustrated by Choi Kyu-seok.

The original webtoon and drama series tell a unique story of supernatural events in which some people are suddenly condemned to hell. Amid the chaos that ensues, a religious organization called the New Truth that worships supernatural phenomena arises, and its followers increase dramatically. Attempting to discover the truth behind the strange occurrences, the central characters take on the religious group.

The drama series is also directed by Yeon, who is best known as the director of zombie flick “Train to Busan.” He has carved out a specialty in depicting his observation of humans in an apocalyptic world.

Popular Korean actors Yoo Ah-in, Park Jeong-min and Kim Hyun-joo star in the TV drama.

Yoo plays Chairman of the New Truth Jung Jin-su, who incites followers to the religion. Park plays ordinary young TV producer Bae Young-jae, who has negative opinions about working with the New Truth. Kim plays lawyer Min Hye-jin, who is trying hard to find out why these strange occurrences are taking place.

Anticipation was already high before the official release on the global streaming platform for “Hellbound,” especially after it received positive reviews upon screening some episodes at three international film festivals -- the 46th Toronto International Film Festival, 26th Busan International Film Festival and 65th BFI London Film Festival.
 
“Hellbound,” directed by Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix)
“Hellbound,” directed by Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix)

Meanwhile, Korean period romance drama “The King’s Affection” also ranked No. 9 on FlixPatrol’s Top TV show on Netlflix chart Sunday.

The series starring rookie actors Park Eun-bin and boy band SF9’s Rowoon centers on a love story in the Joseon era, when twins were considered an ominous sign.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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