All of Us Are Dead: Mediocre by Comparison, Enthralling Regardless


R E V I E W – T V  S E R I E S


Sharika Sabha


“It’s Train to Busan.”

The trailer of All of Us Are Dead had successfully managed to pique the interest of Korean entertainment fans who were intrigued to know if this was another rendition of the globally acclaimed movie; that propelled both the Korean wave and the zombie apocalypse survival troupe in big and small screens.

“Zombies should be in movies not at our school.” 

And that confirmed it. No, not another Train to Busan it is. Kudos to the screenwriter and Netflix Korea for their brilliant promotion strategy. Unfortunately, that’s where the flare ended.

All of Us Are Dead is a mediocre adaptation of a very potential plot (in this case, a webtoon titled Now at Our School), salvaged by the accurate portrayal of zombie, gore, betrayal, sacrifice, friendship, survival – the required components of a generic zombie thriller.

I feel obligated to mention that it is ‘mediocre’ due to the standard raised by its former counterparts – Train to Busan, Kingdom, and Happiness. All of Us Are Dead failed to demonstrate the intensity a fantasy-action thriller should have. It lacked the depth of emotional acting, although, the twist of introducing a bunch of high-schoolers as the protagonists and antagonists (in many instances) brought freshness to the narrative. Not to mention the loopholes in the storyline regarding the pregnant girl, the emergence of the virus and many things more. 

Without the comparison, All of Us Are Dead is enthralling enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for all the 12 episodes as all the characters were cautiously constructed. In addition, there were multiple engrossing sub-plots apace with the main storyline which the director and screenwriter capitalised on perfectly.

The storyline revolves around a group of students of Hysosan High School, the ground zero of the deadly zombie virus, the Jonas virus. The virus was created by a grieving scientist father to keep his son alive at all costs. “Rather than dying as a human, he should survive as a monster,” was his aim to save his child who was a victim of school bullying. It was ironic how this father’s resentment towards the world — devoid of empathy — became the pathway to solidarity, friendship, and sacrifice despite occasional betrayal; and led to the survival of his child’s classmates and others. 

On the contrary, On-jo’s father, the firefighter who vowed to protect the distressed and elderly, abandoned a pregnant mother only to sacrifice himself for the sake of his daughter and her friends. Such duality of human nature constantly resurfaced throughout the drama in each character and it certainly deserves accolades for that.

Nam-ra and Cheong-san were my favourite characters of the drama, executed to perfection by Cho Yi-hyun and Yoon Chan-young respectively. The characters were the perfect blend of admirable human qualities – restrain, angst, selflessness, and leadership. The last of which brings me to the character of the Military Commander who was in charge of controlling the virus outbreak. Undoubtedly, the most controversial character of the storyline. However, his guilt-induced suicide was an artistic representation of human nature.

The lingering feelings that all these small characters left in my heart validate the strength of this ingenious storyline. However, the strongest suit of the drama was its bold dialogues which provided points to ponder over and over again. And the picturesque yet realistic cinematography and captivating soundtracks definitely didn’t disappoint me. All in all, All of Us Are Dead is a worthwhile watch for fantasy-zombie-action genre lovers notwithstanding the seldom regrets.

 


Sharika Sabha is tired of convincing people that Economics doesn’t teach you how to make money. She loves human babies, books, and submitting assignments a few minutes before the deadline. She can be reached at [email protected]

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