All of Us Are Dead Review: 11 enthralling moments that prove South Koreans are the best at ‘Zombie’ genre
A dive into the popular Netflix series and the new cast that has taken over the internet. Read ahead to know more.
The popular zombie limited series follows the lives of high schoolers that are forced to grow up and fight for themselves during an apocalyptic situation when the adults refuse to save them. With the zombie genre of films and dramas being overdone in the Korean film industry, this series began like any other drama but proved to be so much more. The following review contains a ton of spoilers so reader’s discretion is advised.
Introduction of the main characters
The first episode immediately dives into the backstory of the creation of the virus and while we do feel bad for the bullied child, he was patient zero and it's all because of a crazed whim of his smart scientist of a father, Lee Byung Chan (Kim Byung Chul), who wanted his son to fight his tormentors but in doing so, he created a virus that turned to be the doom of Hyosan and neighboring areas. The episode quickly introduces the throng of students that would ultimately fight their way to freedom- Nam Onjo (Park Ji Hoo), Lee Cheongsan (Chan Young Yoon), Lee Suhyeok (Park Solomon), Nam Ra (Cho Yi Hyun), Lee Na Yeon (Lee Yoo Mi), Yoo Gwi Nam (Yoo In Soo) and more.
A hidden moral in every character’s actions
Over the course of 12 episodes, the series displays the archetypes of various students, teachers and other adults involved during the apocalypse. The principal doesn’t care for the welfare of his school but rather his reputation, the one teacher who risks it all to save her students while the rest of the staff just follow the principal’s orders, bullies that do not care about anyone but themselves and certain students like Lee Na Yeon that would do anything to protect herself in the situation, even if it means to put someone else’s life on the line. All the ‘evil’ characters succumb to their doom in the end and the ‘good’ characters tough it out till the end. The morals are very clearly drawn and while it's an overdone trope, it adds a bit of flair to the series.
Lee Byung Chan’s incessant need for justice
Being a father who could only see his son succumb to his injuries, Lee Byung Chan decided to take matter in his own hands and created a virus that would bring his son’s animalistic and base instincts to the surface but it blew up in his face as he managed to set a wave of panic and slaughter over the crowd but he was alright with that because he believed that the world that would not help the underdog, did not deserve to be saved. He was so into his need for justice that he was unable to see the level of destruction and loss the people had suffered until he saw it with his own eyes- but by that time, it was too late.
In the midst of the serious and emotional moments, some characters were posed as comic relief and it was exactly what we needed. Yang Dae Su (Im Jae Hyeok) and Jung Woo Jin (Son Sang Yeon) were best friends and they provided many comical scenes that gave the viewers to take a breath and enjoy their nonsense back and forths. Similarly, the interactions between Song Jae Ik (Lee Kyu Hyung) and Nam Yong Pil (Park Jae Chul) as they try to escape the zombies with two babies in two, is honestly the best part of the second half.
The fight for survival
As they try to make sense of their situation, Cheongsan and Suhyuk take charge of the group as the fittest members. In the first few episodes, they got stuck in a never ending loop of finding a safe place till they would be rescued. The entire time, they constantly fought off zombies and tried to help everyone around them, in a way that only a couple of students can. Regret, lethargy and confusion continued to fuel their need to escape their version of hell.
Nam Onjo, the hidden ace
From the beginning, Onjo was shown as the typical highschool girl who only cared about confessing her love for her best friend’s friend and other things that made her look like a carefree student but as soon as the apocalypse hit, she reverted to all the lessons her father taught her, in the hope that her father, the respected fireman, would come and save her. From giving ways to escape, to creating a temporary toilet in the neighboring room- she took complete charge and the people around her were so impressed by her that the class president, Nam Ra, remarked that she should have been the class president instead.
Lee Suhyeok, the calculative yet emotive savior
Throughout the series, Suhyeok was the person who risked it all to save the people around him. Even though he was not good at studies, he had street smarts, which helped in surviving every situation flung at him. He had a soft spot for the people around him and felt very deeply. He took care of the ones who broke down around him and didn’t think twice before helping his love, Nam Ra.
Nam Ra, the cold yet caring individual
Nam Ra was shown to be the cold class president that did not care about anything other than her grades and studies but the truth was that she was scared of making friends as she thought that nobody would want that and therefore, locked herself in a box that would only break during the zombie outbreak. That’s when one could see the true personality of Nam Ra- the sweet, caring and scared side of her. She quickly got attached to her classmates and did everything in her power to save them, even if it meant to stay away from them.
Lee Cheongsan, the rash and daring highschooler
Out of all of them, Cheongsan seemed the most like a typical highschooler as he wore his emotions on his sleeve. Annoyed at his crush liking someone else, breaking down at the loss of the people around him and the sheer fear of running to his doom- one could see every color of emotion on his face throughout the drama. He, too, worked hard to save the people around him, to the point where he sacrificed himself for the people he loved.
One aspect of the series that always pulled at the heartstrings were the several losses that the students had to see from Cheongsan seeing his mother and best friend as a zombie and feeling completely helpless to Onjo losing her best friend and father in the same way. The rest, too, faced similar losses, making their need for escape and freedom all the more dire.
The only tiff to be had with the series would be the ending. While it seemed as if after Cheongsan, Nam Ra, Woo Jin and all were gone, things would go back to normal but surely enough it is revealed that Nam Ra was still around and she was getting rid of all the other zombies with the superpower that she received which allowed her to still be in control of her conscience but have the zombie instincts rule over her once in a while. She was strong and had one purpose in mind. The questions that remain are- does this call for a second season? Is Nam Ra the only one with the superpower? Will Hyosan and other neighborhoods be forever plagued with zombies? So many questions keep swimming in the head but is there any logical answer?
What do you think of the drama? Let us know in the comments below.