Zombies on a prepare, zombies on a prepare station, zombies in Joseon, zombies on the market, zombies on the Korean peninsula, zombies in an residence constructing. In any case these variations on the zombie style, you’d assume Korean cinema and television could be finished with it. But, right here is Netflix to show us flawed, with its newest Korean television sensation coming within the type of “All of Us are Lifeless”, which places zombies in a highschool and focuses on the response of the teenage college students in direction of the incoming apocalypse.
For a change, the zombie apocalypse right here is just not a pure one, however one made by man. the perpetrator being Lee Byeong-chan, science professor at Hyosan Excessive College, whose personal son goes to the college however is the sufferer of bullies. With a purpose to give him braveness and to assist him battle again, Lee creates a virus that’s supposed to vary the concern inside a person into braveness and bodily power. Nonetheless, the plan backfires and the virus medically kills the contaminated and fully takes over their physique system, turning them into zombies. Issues begin to go actually south actually shortly when one schoolgirl is bitten by a guinea pig Lee was experimenting on, resulting in a full blown zombie virus outbreak, engulfing not simply the college however Hyosan completely.
Because the navy tries to get a maintain onto issues, a ragtag group of classmates, together with childhood pals Nam On-jo and Lee Cheong-san, class president Choi Nam-ra, class powerful man Lee Soo-hyeok aka Naked-soo, humorous man Yang Dae-soo and stuck-up Lee Na-yeon, attempt to survive the zombie assault on their very own and get out of the college, whereas additionally avoiding class bully Yoon Gwi-nam. On the skin, Nam On-jo’s hearth division group chief father tries to get to the college to rescue his daughter, whereas detective Tune Jae-ik additionally begins in direction of the college to recuperate a laptop computer from Lee Byeong-chan’s science laboratory, which supposedly has the important thing to cease this zombie outbreak.
After so many profitable iterations within the zombie sub-genre, significantly from Korea, one would assume that fatigue would set in each for the viewers and makers and it will thus be a tough activity to deliver something new or substantial to newer productions. “All of Us are Lifeless” succeeds in that respect with its setting of the highschool. Since we all the time get to see the adults deal with the hordes of the undead, seeing the youngsters react to them is a contemporary, very welcome perspective. The placement of the college additionally facilitates for numerous ingenious weapons to make use of in opposition to the attacking undead because the group strikes from one classroom to the opposite. Make no mistake although: regardless of this being set in a highschool with teenage protagonists, that is no PG13 collection! Quite the opposite, this is among the most brutal, bloody, gory and expletives-laden zombie manufacturing to return from Korea.
A number of style tropes are included and accounted for, giving us all the pieces from heroic deaths, annoying characters, characters you want died first however carry on surviving because of their sheer evilness, emotional goodbyes and extra. This does imply that character growth takes a success, with lots of them being superficially written at finest. It is a disgrace, specifically because the present is in no scarcity of time, with its 12 episodes arc being among the many longest Netflix has ordered for Korean drama productions lately. A proof into why the virus impacts a really chosen few a special manner would even have been appreciated. As a substitute, it makes use of this time so as to add in some teenage romantic angles and triangles which solely show a hindrance to the extra gratifying elements of the storyline.
Of these gratifying moments, there are a number of available all through the runtime. Some inventive set-pieces make use of the totally different areas inside the college, just like the cafeteria and library zombie assaults for instance. Whereas the assaults do get repetitive, the altering of those settings and with these, the change within the out there defensive gear for our protagonists show to be thrilling. One more amusing component the creators handle to incorporate is the group making an attempt to collectively determine the right way to go to the bathroom in a zombie apocalypse. Lengthy have audiences puzzled why we by no means get to see the protagonists use the bathroom in an motion manufacturing and it’s good to see one instantly tackle this. Equally welcome is the addition of a South Korean politician character who, for as soon as, really means effectively and desires to do the best factor. It’s not all enjoyable and video games both; as anticipated from a Korean highschool story, it additionally takes a while to touch upon bullying inside the system, even when the response of the lecturers to it does appear sensationalised, to say the least. There’s additionally some real-world irony available in how the world falls prey to a man-made virus after the coronavirus pandemic, which the reveals namechecks as a factor of the previous within the narrative.
Virtually as if to remain in tune with the college setting, the zombie assaults happen largely within the daytime, when class ought to be in session. Because of this, quite a bit depends on the accuracy of the make-up and particular impact, which haven’t any cowl of the darkish to cover their errors. Fortunately, “All of Us are Lifeless” doesn’t let up in both of these departments. The cinematography captures the zombies, the college and its environment, and in addition the broader areas when the story does enterprise out, with fairly an eerie magnificence.
The camerawork, significantly, deserves a lot reward for what it manages to do in a few of the zombie assault scenes, with it selecting to be largely handheld however by no means jittery. It opts to deliver the franticness of the assaults not by way of enhancing however by prolonged cuts and, along with the motion choreography, vastly succeeds in doing so. Music follows the norms of the style but is successfully used, by no means proving a hindrance and accompanying the occasions effectively. Because the zombies right here depend on sound, the sound combine additionally manages to be spectacular, with a number of sounds coming from numerous sources in lots of scenes blended excellent for an immersive expertise.
With the plethora of characters, there’s additionally numerous younger actors populating the display, not all of who get a chance to shine. Blame it on the writing which doesn’t give all of the actors a lot scope to emote, however some do handle to depart extra of an impression than the others. Park Ji-hu, who nearly instantly turned a critic and viewers darling with “Home of Hummingbird”, will get essentially the most scope as Nam On-jo, going from the lovelorn teenage woman to a lady shedding her pals one after the other in entrance of her. One simply needs the character may’ve gotten an opportunity to be extra badass herself than having to resort to relying on others to all the time save her neck.
Lomon as Soo-hyeok is yet one more one who comes by unscathed together with his efficiency, as does Cho Yi-hyun as class president Choi Nam-ra. Yoon Chan-young is strictly okay in one of many lead roles of On-jo’s childhood buddy Cheong-san, as is Lee Yoo-mi, who stole hearts in “Squid Sport”, as class bitch Na-yeon, a exact opposite to her position in “Squid Sport” which was really easy to love. The present’s personal “Don Lee in Prepare to Busan” character Yang Dae-soo although is performed with a lot likability by Lim Jae-hyeok, whereas Park Eun-saem has lots of enjoyable enjoying hard-as-nails senior Mi-jin. Of the adults, of which there are only a few, reliable supporting actors Kim Byung-chul as professor Lee Byeong-chan and Jeon Bae-soo as On-jo’s father So-joo get essentially the most to do.
Is “All of Us are Lifeless” a contemporary tackle the zombie sub-genre? The sincere reply to that will be “No”. Does that make it dangerous, in any manner? The sincere reply to that additionally could be a convincing “No”. Regardless of its writing shortcomings, most noticeable in its character growth, Netflix’s new Korean present finally ends up being a bloody carnage in one of the simplest ways doable and a bone-crunchingly good time.