All of Us Are Dead ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali
A high school becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak. Trapped students must fight their way out or turn into one of the rabid infected. On Netflix.
If a zombie apocalypse is your kind of thing and you are looking for something to fill the hole that The Squid Game has left behind, but also if you can somehow stomach about 12 hours of another pandemic, though of a different kind, then this new Korean series All of us are dead should be on your watchlist on Netflix.
Even though this series has only just come out, I sense it has got all the credentials to become the series everyone talks about. It is gruesome, tense, funny, incredibly inventive and constantly surprising… and yes often a bit silly too.
But is it actually any good? Well, yes and no is the simple answer.
I actually hated most of the first episode: the incredibly superficial (and rather insulting) stereotypical depiction of the bullies and a very tasteless scene centred around a girl being abused, which almost made me turn it off.
Yes, there will be some sort of redemption to that storyline at some point, but having persevered through all the 12 episodes and seen where it all ends, I still don’t think it was justifiable enough and actually it didn’t need to be there.
Having said all that, once the series switches to action gear, it really sings. There are some truly astonishing sequences spread across the series which left me speechless for how well there were executed (both in terms of visual effects and camerawork), how inventive they were (a sequence in a library in episode five was genius) and how incredibly scary too.
I won’t hide that more than once I jumped from my sofa as to retract from the tv (and the zombies).
You’ll be forgiven by getting a bit lost among the huge cast during the first couple of episodes. Between reading the subtitles and the fact that they all wear pretty much the same uniform I often found myself a bit confused.
Not that it matters much: the premise is so simple that, at least for the first few episodes, it almost doesn’t matter who’s who. Most of them are just there to be slashed to pieces or eaten.
As you might have guessed, the story centres around a virus that turns people into zombies, which is spreading across a school in a small town in Korea. Needless to say, mayhem follows and by the third episode the virus reaches the town too.
We’ve seen enough of this stuff to know what the rules of the games are. In fact even the kids in the series constantly make references to what they have learnt from movies: “Have you seen Train to Busan?” asks one of the characters at one point, referencing one of Korean’s latest (and best) zombie flicks.
The series is perfectly constructed and obviously somebody must have planned it all out right from the start: I loved the way seemingly pointless early sequences (and even characters) ended up paying off much later.
However, let’s face it: it is too long and very oddly paced. At times, in among those stellar chases and action sequences, the whole thing literally grinds a halt for allowing more comedic and emotional scenes.
Not all of them work, especially in the first half of the series, when we don’t really care much about any of those characters, but as the series progresses there are some surprisingly moving moments too, which give weight to what otherwise would be just another death by zombie.
I wish it had been a little bit shorter (8-10 episodes), but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I found myself completely addicted to it, and binged it as if there was no tomorrow.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
All of us are dead is available to watch on Netflix.
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