A new Korean show on Netflix is taking the world by storm, and it does not involve any games or squids. Its title is All of Us are Dead, and not since a Train to Busan have we seen this kind of zombie-mania watch.
If you are not yet watching, we are here to tell you why you need to climb the Hyosan bandwagon. Believe the hype, this is one bloody awesome zombie show with great suspense in every episode. You will care about the High School students trapped in Hyosan High School as they try to escape the campus filled with zombies.
As much as possible, spoilers will be avoided. Still read with caution, for a human brain can always connect some dots.
It Has a Great Cast of High School Characters
Before all the zombie rampage has taken over the campus, All of Us are Dead starts out as a High School slice of life. Then again that did not really stop after the zombies come along. The point is, we get a sense of who these kids are and how they function so when it all goes to hell, we get to care about them and get engaged in their survival.
We got a slice of regular every day from childhood friends On-Jo and Cheong-San as they enjoy eating together and going to school together. There is a hint that they can be a couple someday and you wanna see it possibly happen.
That sequence where all the kids are trying to catch the morning bell so that none of them will be reprimanded for being late for school will let you dream of the simple days where all your troubles are just passing for a good grade.
The Class President is Nam-Ra, a model student who does not seem to want to speak to any of the other kids, only ever focused on her studies and her earphones. Su-Hyeok is a popular athlete who used to hang out with bullies. Ha-Ri from the archery club trying to go to the Nationals.
When they all need to survive together as the zombie apocalypse starts, all these kids' chemistry mix together and we see their friendships and trust grow stronger. We are with them, trying to survive, frustrated that no one is there to rescue them, and have no choice but to rely on themselves and to each other.
And who would forget Na-Yeon - the resident survivor everyone loves to hate. Who contributes nothing and is quick to do the blaming game.
The Deaths and Sacrifices Will Get You Every Time
In any horror, there is always a danger that there would be so much death that the audience would end up feeling numb to it after a while, especially when the deaths become gimmicks for jump scares and a showcase of gore.
Fortunately, this is not a problem in All of Us are Dead. Every death will leave you in a mess of tears. Since the show allows the audience to get to know every character before their deaths and what those characters mean to their friends, families, and other loved ones, all of the deaths in All of Us are Dead leave an impact.
It does not matter how many times there is a death scene or some noble sacrifice that in theory should already leave you insensitive, their final moments will matter. And with every death, the survival of those remaining becomes more important. They need to survive so that the deaths and sacrifices of their loved ones will not be in vain.
No Plot Armor
There are so many shows where the suspense is ruined because we know the specifics of who in the cast will survive. In All of Us are Dead, literally, all of them can be dead at any time. Just when you thought a character you like will be safe, think again. Just when you thought someone will survive because a character still has not gone through the end of a character arc, well it might not matter, his or her life might end before it happens.
If there is a next season, plot armors might rear its ugly head, but for now, rest easy that no one can rest easy.
The High School Teens Consistently Do Smart Decisions
In any horror movie or TV show, it is a cliche for characters to do stupid things that leaves you screaming at the screens. We know that it only happens so that movie can have its cheap tension.
The biggest appeal of All of Us are Dead is that these High School students keep on doing smart decisions after smart decisions so they can get to one room and into the next. They do not try to split up, and if they need to, there is ample time to talk about why. In an instant, they think about reaching for phones or getting to a computer and into the internet.
Most of the time they will try to use everyday school equipment or materials as make-shift tools to get out of trouble. If they know they will stay in one room for a while, they will make a DIY toilet, for example. It makes us believe if we are in the same situation with the same tools available, we might come up with the same solutions.
Since every trek from one room to the next comes with careful planning and earned effort, it always feels like a victory.
Zombie Gore and Violence
No zombie movie or TV show is complete without the convincing blood and gore, and All of Us are Dead have buckets of it. If we are only talking about the blood or the impressive make-up, then All of Us Are Dead is not any better than your average zombie flick with blood and impressive make-up.
What sets it apart is the sound effects. It has an impressive sound effect of crackling sound every time someone is turning into a zombie or someone slams into something. A zombie charges into a wall and it is bone-breaking.
Speaking of bone-breaking, there is a scene where a zombie intentionally broke its back just so it can reach for the kill.
It is the Pandemic Era Zombie Show
Every zombie flick or apocalyptic premise will now be informed by our modern pandemic times. The COVID pandemic era has been consistently been compared to an end of the world scenario like a zombie movie, as it feels like an accurate taste of what the world would look like if there was ever a real zombie apocalypse on the horizon. It is no coincidence that apocalypse premises like All of Us are Dead are popular viewings right now.
So like in our world, the world of All of Us are Dead is also plagued by the dreaded fake news. As Hyosan is the only part of the country that is plagued, the internet runs amok with rumors that it is fake news. There are people who take advantage of the zombie plague and do vlogs about it or do prank zombie videos.
The zombie virus is treated as if it is analogous to the COVID Virus, and the character speaks medical jargon that has only become mainstream because of our current times.
All of it makes the plot feel real, and so adds a lot to the horror.
The Authority Figures are Not Corrupt Caricatures
In most apocalyptic movies, there is always an evil corporation, a corrupt politician or army commander that will make everyone's life a living hell, when the plot where the earth is already a living hell is enough and so is excessive.
They never feel like real human beings, but only a cheap way to move the plot forward when the writers hit a wall. All of Us are Dead in turn, have authority figures that do feel like humans.
We got politicians, first responders, detectives, and military personnel trying to be the best person they can be, making the best decisions available to save lives as much as possible. There is no corrupt soldier making plans for zombie soldiers. When military scientists try to experiment with zombies, there is always great care every safety measure is met.
It is a breath of fresh air to see soldiers and politicians being sympathetic. Maybe they will not save a person that is right in front of them. Maybe they are forced to save one life from the other, but there is always a reason, and we see how much it breaks their hearts when they do these tough choices.