Monstrous Kdrama Review: Koo Kyo-hwan, Shin Hyun-bin Horror Series Lacks Thrills

Monstrous (괴이) is a drama-horror TV miniseries directed by Jang Kun-jae and stars Koo Kyo-hwan, Shin Hyun-bin, Kwak Dong-yeon, Nam Da-reum and Kim Ji-young, alongside other cast members. The series has 6 episodes, each with a runtime of around 35 minutes.

– Monstrous Kdrama review does not contain spoilers –

tvN’s Monstrous is the typical horror series that has all the interesting elements to keep you guessing. With such a short runtime, you get to experience the joys of watching a horror show without having to wait for hours on end to reach the conclusion. The series’ first episode is mostly expositional, with the audience learning who is what in the show. You come across relationships, broken homes, a dreamy village and a Buddha statue that apparently wreaks havoc, although everyone else is taking it as a sign of good luck.


The dark and dreary atmosphere is the perfect setting to understand what kind of menace this excavated head can bring about in society and the people associated with doing something about it look equally exhausted and pallid. As the entire village goes down into chaos after a shocking incident, what respite do the people in Jinyang County have and how do they get away from a horrible curse?

Movies and TV shows about a horrible curse being born thanks to people not understanding the effects of old relics have been made time and time again. Monstrous, too, follows similar patterns filled with blood, gore and the depravity of society. The chaos that society can descend into is similar to what we see now and is a reflection of society in general.

The show creates a stunning and grim atmosphere for our protagonists to run around. However, with some great actors who do a commendable job and a grim atmosphere that is the perfect place for such a story to exist, the series falls short of being gripping. This is mostly because Monstrous Kdrama starts with promises of this being something different to watch. But, unfortunately, nothing that happens in the horror series is remotely new.

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We have seen similar instances in different shows and movies that deal where this is the token character with trauma in their past, the ones who are going to save everyone and the villainous bad guy who kills people mercilessly. It’s all stuff from previous, better known Korean and American shows that do not instil many raised eyebrows or shocks. However, one thing that Monstrous Kdrama definitely is, is that it’s melodramatic.

The drama in the show is a notch higher than what we see in Korean horror shows and with just 6 episodes, it feels a tad bit much. I guess I would’ve liked to watch this without the horror elements since there are a lot of emotional moments to unpack with the characters. However, with the added element of cursed Buddhist statues, you are left expecting chills but getting a backstory full of heartbreak.

It’s definitely horror of a different kind but feels a bit out of place considering the black rain and whatnot. There are also cursed crows in only one of the scenes and I am unsure why they were added except to pad the runtime for a bit.

Summing up: Monstrous Kdrama


At the end of the day, Monstrous Kdrama is a decent drama about relationships and the heartbreak of losing yourself and your loved ones to grief and trauma. It does well as that and is almost sad at some points. However, it falters when it tries to imbibe the horror aspects. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a horror show at all other than the blood and gore. Certain characters are introduced without any reason whatsoever other than to push the story forward although we spend a good chunk of time following them at first.

Monstrous 2022, thus, is a decent drama at best and a failed horror at its worst. Except, of course, you find horror in the heartbreak.

Monstrous is streaming on Tving.

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Monstrous is a decent drama but lacks any horror elements. At best, you can find some horror in the tragedy of everyone's lives.

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Monstrous is a decent drama but lacks any horror elements. At best, you can find some horror in the tragedy of everyone's lives.Monstrous Kdrama Review: Koo Kyo-hwan, Shin Hyun-bin Horror Series Lacks Thrills