Halloween Moviefest – Movie #8 - #Alive

Updated: Oct 23



Streaming Service: Netflix

Watched: 10/8/2020

Korea has been producing some of the best zombie films and television shows of all time in the last few years. Train to Busan definitely set a high bar for all zombie films that come after it. #Alive doesn’t quite reach the heights of that film, but it is a solid entry into the zombie genre.

The film centers around Joon-woo, a gamer and social influencer. He lives at home with his family and has a pretty nice rig set up in his bedroom for his gaming. The movie opens with his family not at home. Joon-woo starts his day with a message from his mom telling him to pick up some groceries and him ignoring her. Of course. Instead, he logs onto his game. When the other players start to freak out over a newscast, he decides to check the news. He doesn’t even have much time to absorb the news on the television before the outbreak is right outside his door. Things go wrong very quickly in his neighborhood, which consists of apartment buildings that are set pretty close together. A message from his mother informs him that his family will not be making it home and he is left alone to survive. In fact, his father urges him to do everything he can to survive.

What follows is a very realistic story that centers around one young man trying to fulfill his father’s wish while hiding in a zombie infected area without much food or hope. The cast is really small since the entire story is pretty much about Joon-woo. We get to experience his struggles against the zombies, hunger, and loneliness. While the Internet is still up and he still has bars on his phone he sends out messages to the world outside that he still alive. When he loses this connection to the outside world, he starts a downward spiral.

There are some really grotesque zombie scenes in this film. One death in particular is truly heartbreaking. The zombies are terrifying in their relentless pursuit of flesh. They are fast, strong, and still retain some intelligence which makes them very dangerous.

The third half of the film has a total change in tone that is welcomed. I don’t want to give too much away. I found the ending very exciting, tense, and satisfying. This is a film I will definitely watch again in the future because it’s that good.

This film takes on a much more hopeful tone when it comes to social media and technology. That’s one of the reasons I like watching films from other countries. It’s so easy to get stuck in our own culture’s viewpoint and not see outside of it. I liked the final images of the film quite a bit.

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My only criticism of the film is that the third half is weakened slightly by the scenes with the man who’s trying to feed his zombie wife. It wasn’t a necessary part of the story. It’s like the filmmakers felt obligated to have a twist in the story to ratchet up tension. I don’t think they needed to do that at all because the final scene with the zombies pursuing them to the roof is really well done. The information that the military is rescuing survivors could have easily have come from Joon-woo’s cell phone that he’d attached an antenna to so he could pick up radio frequencies. That being said it’s still a pretty solid zombie scene, but nothing really new to the genre.

My only other criticism is that our hero’s hair is dyed blonde and it never grows out and shows his roots. Unless there’s some kind of amazing dye system in Korea that I’m missing out on, they should’ve at least darkened his roots toward the end of the film.

One last thing. I loved Yoo-bin. I just adored her and how prepared she was to deal with any zombies trying to bust into her apartment. She was fantastic.

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