Okja is one of those movies everyone should watch – and it’s on Netflix worldwide! An intense and heartbreaking sci-fi, fantasy adventure from the brilliant mind of Bong Joon Ho.

Okja is not a horror movie. So let’s just get that out of the way. It’s definitely scary in many ways, and it is sci-fi, but very much based in the reality we know.

Oh yeah, and the monsters in Okja are human beings. Every single one of the monsters!

Then again, isn’t that always the case with any monster movie? In the end, the true monsters are always human.

Whether the “monsters” are zombies in The Walking Dead, or of the Kaiju variety in King Kong and Godzilla. Or even the creature from Bong Joon Ho’s own The Host.

There’s always a very human source for all the misery.

Okja 2017 poster - netflix movie review
And the title creature in Okja, is very much a sweet and loving animal. In fact, kids would probably love this movie. Or rather, they’ll love Okja and relate to Mija.

They’ll also probably refuse to eat meat. But really, everyone should know where their food comes from. That includes the kids being fed cutely shaped Chicken nuggets. If they can eat it, they can be shown where it comes from.

Then let them decide if they want to eat it. Don’t worry, most of them will happily keep eating everything. Just like adults!

Especially since Okja isn’t a “real” animal anyway.

Okja is a social realism adventure

Okja is probably 50/50 when it comes to its Korean versus English parts. Most of the actors are English-speaking, but much of the story takes place in South Korea and the main protagonist is the young Korean girl, Mija.

The character tying the two worlds together is Steven Yeun (Glenn on The Walking Dead). He speaks both languages and encourages Mija to learn English – a lesson he teaches her in a very heartbreaking way!

Steven Yeun is awesome in this movie, and the same goes for Paul Dano (Prisoners), who leads the rescue of Okja.

Just like it’s the case with Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, everything in Okja is based on things happening in the world now. Engineering of food to create cheaper products is just the way it is. Both animal and vegetation.

In fact, the Mirando corporation is very much a satirical version of Monsanto group. Even the name is a play on the well-known agricultural company.

Okja netflix review - starring Jake Gyllenhaal

Who is the biggest monster?

As stated earlier, human beings are the real monsters in Okja, but still, some are bigger monsters than others.

So who’s the biggest monster? Well, that seems to be a very individual thing. Tilda Swinton is the CEO of Mirando and the mastermind behind the “Super Pig” program. And yes, as always, Tilda Swinton is brilliant. She’s truly one of the only actors who can go completely over the top and not be “too much”.

The characters played by Jake Gyllenhaal was another monster. He’s introduced as a TV personality animal lover but is an extreme narcissist.

For me, Gyllenhaal was a bit over the top at times. However, I was fascinated by how they showed him switch from his true self to his “TV personality”. In particular, the way he changed his voice and demeanor at the drop of a hat!

In the end, I feel the real monsters are us as consumers. Basically, the cold hard business side of industrial farming is stated as this; “If it’s cheap, they will buy it”.

If we like something or it makes us feel good or entertained, then we forget any moral issues, we may have. In most cases anyway.

For the record, the upcoming Jeepers Creepers 3 is a great example of both this rule and exception. Many people are looking forward to this and other are boycotting it. This mention is the first of the movie on Heaven of Horror, and it’s only to say that we will not be supporting or covering it. 

I love Bong Joon Ho even more now!

It’s no secret that we love Korean horror, sci-fi, and thrillers here at Heaven of Horror. And even though Bong Joon Ho is working with international production companies, and English-speaking actors, his movies are still very much Korean.

Indie movie makers may want to push boundaries, but they’re left in the dust compared to Bong Joon Ho. He will show you the worst in people. And also the best in people.

Always putting up a mirror asking the audience; What would you do? What are you going to do about injustice?

As a former vegetarian, who now only eats the occasional organic and free-range meat (yep, I’m one of those), I have to admit I really don’t feel like eating meat of any kind after watching Okja.

This movie is bound to push many people away from meat. At least for a little while.

Okja 2017 review - Netflix sci-fi monster movie

Okja will fill your heart – and break it!

As far as the treatment of animals, there’s nothing in this movie we haven’t already seen in the news. And it is not trying to lecture its audience and persuade them not to eat meat. Mija herself eats meat. It’s simply showing a truth and forcing us to acknowledge that we’re all a part of this rotten world.

It’s simply showing a truth and forcing us to acknowledge that we’re all a part of it. And it’s also telling us that whatever we use or consume, we do have a choice.

Well, that, and telling the story of Okja and Mija’s amazing friendship and struggle to just be left in peace.

I was on the edge of my seat, angry, full of love and bawling my eyes out. That’s quite a rollercoaster ride to experience during a 2-hour movie. And that’s the magic of Bong Joon Ho.

Okja premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and will be out on Netflix worldwide from June 28, 2017.


Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writer: Bong Joon Ho
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Seo-Hyun Ahn, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Paul Dano, Devon Bostick, Daniel Henshall, Giancarlo Esposito


All genres are blended, when a young girl, Mija, risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend; A massive animal named Okja.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard