When it comes to a Zombie apocalypse, the long-running show “Walking Dead” already set the bar high. But recently Koreans have taken things up a notch by consistently producing some nitty-gritty zombie horror shows. Whether it’s the “Train to Busan” or “Kingdom” on Netflix, Kdrama has a way with zombie storytelling that is equal parts gory and exciting.
To make matters more blood splattering and bone-shattering, there is a new zombie apocalypse series on Netflix titled “All Of Us Are Dead”. And moving on from a Train and middle age Korea, we now have zombies running around in a high school. There has been a considerable buzz with the series since its release on January 28th, 2022. So, is the show any good or just another generic zombie gorefest? And more importantly, is it worth watching? Let’s find out.
Before Kpop and BTS became a thing, the world witnessed the first Korean Wave some two decades ago. It started with the romantic drama called “Winter Sonata” which took the then world by storm. But it also largely contrasts to what Korean drama has evolved to over the years, a perfect example being the likes of “Squid Game”, “The Silent Sea” and “All of Us Are Dead”. Each of these shows follows an entirely different route yet somehow excels in their craft with masterful tact.
Coming back to the series here, the pilot episode opens in Hyosan High, a suburban school nestled in the mountains. Everything looks straight out of a teenage rom-com set in a high school in the first part of the episode. However, things quickly start to unravel as one girl is bitten by a feisty mouse in the school’s science lab.
What follows is a chain reaction of a mutated virus spreading from one person to the other. And by the time the pilot ends, the entire school is infected. What’s amazing here is how quickly the director changes the pace and hooks the viewer to the plotline.
Much of the pilot can be drawn parallel to the current world as it faces the pandemic. The battle to survive a deadly virus as it spreads like a wildfire seems eerily real given the current scenario. What catches up here is the emotional juggernaut and social issues that become prominent from the get-go, another parallel to this world as it dreads the pandemic.
The story focuses on a number of Protagonists led by Cheong-San, Soo-Hyeok, On-Ja, and Nam-Ra. All of them are classmates in Hyosan High with each different from the other. Cheong-San and Soo-hyeok are best friends. While On-Ja secretly likes Soo-Hyeok, he, in turn, crushes on the class president Nam-Ra. And Cheong-San on the other hand secretly loves On-Ja, they being neighbors and childhood friends. The four-way love story may seem a bit over the top for a zombie apocalypse but it somehow blends the personal crisis with the survival crisis.
The supporting protagonist also lends a chunk to the storytelling. Whether it’s the eccentric Dae-Su, irritating Na-Yeon, or the bully Gwi-Nam (who can easily be counted here as the overarching villain), they each bring traits to which the viewers can instantly connect with.
But this is a zombie hellscape after all and the main cast isn’t all-surviving. In a Game of Thrones-esque way, the main characters die left and right keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats. The emotional trauma that comes with losing a loved one all the while staying motivated to survive against all odds makes for an impressive drama display.
All Of Us Are Dead Review
The visuals stood out in this series just like its plot. The sheer carnage of zombies combined with impressive fight sequences and camera works is a treat to the eyes. Viewers will be left jaw-dropped by the sequence or forced to look away because of the visceral details. The viewers will hardly find a middle ground here. But the series does create some candid moments. Whether it is the protagonists reminiscing about life and future or the detective hell-bent on saving a kid, the story sets them up in a way that viewers will end up rooting for them and maybe even overwhelmed by the emotional tour.
Another impressive aspect here is the sub-plots. Though it might feel disjointed at first, the three or four subplots have an interesting story of their own, beyond the routine mage-escape the protagonist makes inside the school. But that is just how usual zombie apocalypse shows are. In fact, this Korean Zombie series does not really reinvent the wheel. Instead, it deep dives into the human emotions and showcases it in a gut-churning manner, as if all the bloody and gory entourage of zombies weren’t enough to turn heads. It showcases how people in power have to make the hard choices and how those choices affect them and the protagonist at Hyosan High School.
In the end, the story does not limit itself to the High School and the main protagonist only. As the surviving students come to terms with reality, they are forced to carve their own path through this turmoil. The show sheds an impressive light on the power dynamics and how a forced-choice seemingly creates a butterfly effect for the entire city of Hyosan, and maybe even all of Korea.
The almost hour-long 12 episodes might feel a bit too long. Sure enough, certain elements could’ve been curtailed to make the series a more compact experience. “All of Us Are Dead” is not really a binge-watching series, rather it is something you take in and move on with a few intervals. Overall, it’s a great watch for those into an apocalyptic, slice of life drama. Not to spoil, but the season-ending leaves the viewers on a hook for a completely different perspective in the next season. That is if it gets the green light to be renewed by Netflix.
It is really awesome to watch Zombie dramas on chilly winter evenings. The Netflix series All Of Us Are Dead presents a wonderful combination of horror, friendship, love and relationships. So is it worth investing 12 hours on this Korean Zombie drama? In a word, yes. The not-so-new story is told in a fresh package that will leave most people thinking, what’s next?
Source: United News of Bangladesh