A story of high school, zombies and survival

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South Korean entertainment has enjoyed a global renaissance over the past two years. From 2015 to 2022, streaming giant Netflix spent up to $700 million on Korean content, and in 2022 alone it is expected to spend $500 million to produce more shows and movies. There’s a good reason for that: the public loves Korean TV and cinema, which recently stood out with the success of the hit squid game. But if there’s a hidden gem that stems from this interest, it’s zombie content.

From Train to Busan at Kingdom, what a star The silent sea Gong Yoo and Bae Doona, the zombies are making a comeback. Netflix’s new venture is we are all dead, a twelve-episode show where a group of high school students find themselves at the center of a zombie outbreak in their school. The show is adapted from a webtoon, a Korean comic book meant to be read online, on Naver called Now at our school, which was very popular while running online. As the webtoon ended in 2011, Netflix ordered the show to be created in 2020.

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Spoilers aheadwe are all dead follows a group of high school students who live normal lives as Korean teenagers. They meet at Lee Chung-san’s (Yoon Chan-young) mother’s chicken restaurant after school to eat, complain about exams and have crushes. Chung-san has a crush on his classmate On-jo (Park Ji-hoo), who doesn’t seem to return his affections. There is also an inescapable character in Korean dramas about school life: the masochistic bully with a penchant for violence. This tyrant’s name is Yoon Gwi-nam, and that’s sort of why the zombie outbreak is happening.


Zombies stand above the girl.
netflix

Related: 18 Best Zombie Movies Of All Time

The son of the science teacher of these students opens the ball. Her son is ruthlessly bullied by Gwi-nam and his followers, resulting in mental health and other issues. One tragic night, he is ejected from a building and dies. When his father visits him in the hospital, he discovers that his son has turned into a zombie and brings him home. The science teacher’s experiments are left in his classroom at school, so when a curious student gets bitten by a hamster, Hyosan High School becomes ground zero and the infection spreads outside the walls of the school. school.

It’s up to a group of students, including Chang-san and On-jo, to figure out how to survive and get out of high school. During the initial assault, a handheld camera tremulously joins in the mayhem as the school descends into a state of chaos. Teachers try to discipline students they don’t realize are zombies, people run away screaming, and viewers are put in the middle of it all. SEO Train to Busan, a college student realizes they’re zombies and no longer their classmates, and it becomes a show about violence, survival, betrayal, and faith in each other.

Typical tropes of zombie shows are also both challenged and reinforced in we are all dead. These zombies are infected by the usual means seen in many other shows and movies: through a bite or a blood transfusion. There are also hints of romance throughout the show between the high schoolers, even after one of the girls, Nam-ra (Cho Yi-hyun), is bitten. Her love, Lee Soo-hyuk (Park Solomon), swears to stay with her and get bitten if need be. There’s also the classic evil government army involved in this show, as they’re designed to be the antagonistic spines of the protagonists.


The influences in all of us are dead


A guy and a girl in school uniforms stand next to each other.
netflix

And maybe this influence of Train to Busan is there in we are all dead. Train to Busan the jolt of zombies with erratic movements, groans and throaty hisses as they hunt for their next victim. we are all deadZombies follow a similar pattern when it comes to their movement and actions, though they rely on their enhanced hearing to track down their next meal. Which makes we are all dead special, however, is the unique factor that reveals itself about halfway through the show, creating something that has perhaps never been seen before in a zombie show.

The show occasionally diverts its attention from high school for a much-needed break, though the outside world has also been ravaged by the zombie outbreak. On-jo’s father, a local firefighter, launches a rescue operation after escaping from the quarantine facility where he brought a quarantined congregation. A policeman and his subordinate attempt to find the high school science teacher’s laptop, as he managed to save the results of his research. A YouTuber visits Hyosan, which has been shut down and isolated from the rest of the country, thinking it’s a zombie-themed amusement park and discovers it’s the exact opposite of entertainment in direct.

There’s also the school’s archery team, who have just returned from a competition to find that all of their classmates are dead. Archery has been a must in korean culture for more than five thousand years, so it seems fitting that a classic bow and arrow would become a useful tool to take out any zombies that try to attack them. At the same time, another classmate named Eun-ji, who is also a victim of bullying and sexual assault by Gwi-nam, begins her path of revenge and redemption after wishing everyone dead.

Related: The Best Korean Dramas You Can Stream Right Now

The snowball effect

The show begins with a snowball effect. For about seven episodes, the series is full of action, gore, violence, and daring acts of trying to get a cellphone or saving a friend. But as the students grow weary of their situation and become a bit more complacent, the show begins to slow down, focusing a bit more on the other situations taking place outside of school. It starts to drag its feet, feeling repetitive around episode eight. The stakes can’t be that high in a zombie show, and when there’s no introduction of new conflict, the viewer feels just as tired as students tired of running around.

Revenge, teamwork, and mutual trust are central themes of the show, and they are well exemplified by the students. Human antagonistic forces are driven by a sense of revenge and circumstance, thus imposing a sense of violence that stems from inner despair. But without the others and working as a singular unit, the students would be unable to survive under these circumstances. It’s heartfelt and tender the way these students care about each other and wish for the simple pleasures they once had, like their mom’s salty chicken or a packet of instant ramen, and it offers a sense of hope. for humanity when they stick together even if everything seems doomed.

It was a unique decision to frame this story from the perspective of high school students. While adults are meant to make more level-headed decisions and gain authority, these students are meant to be the future of their country. Faced with the idea that there may be no future for them if they are killed, they adapt. Even without an authority figure to lead them, they find their way and survive in a world that even adults struggle with. Maybe that’s what it means to be human: to find glimmers of beauty and to connect with others even in the most difficult situations. It’s this next generation that has to deal with a wide range of unprecedented problems, so it seems only fitting that they continue to survive thanks to their tenacity.

And, regardless of their age, they faced a myriad of issues unique to their generation. These issues include black pornography, teenage pregnancy, and college entrance exams. The show’s failure, however, is when it veers away from the students to the outside world. Their thread is the strongest, something that ends up tying the show to its soul. With the limited time allotted in twelve episodes, the weaker aspects tend to be when the camera pans to the government and the military, who are trying to figure out how this even happened.

If there is one thing certain: like the other recent Netflix release, The silent sea, there are so many unanswered questions with We are all dead. The original webtoon ran for two years, so there could be plenty of source material that can be turned into a second season. The show’s main cast are all young, up-and-coming actors with plenty of talent to spare, and it would be a welcome sight to see them return. Until then, the twelve episodes of we are all dead can now be streamed on Netflix.


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