REVIEW / SERIES REVIEW – Offered by Netflix, “All of Us Are Dead” goes beyond the simple zombie series to deal, as often with Korean works, with deeper social issues.
All of Us Are Dead, a shocking new series from Netflix
Since the success of Squid Game, the programs that come from South Korea and which are offered by Netflix, are particularly scrutinized. But then when it is a question, in addition, of zombies, we say to ourselves that the platform will necessarily still break the house. However, it is impossible to accurately predict the success ofAll of Us Are Dead (everything will depend on the algorithms and subscribers). But we can only hope that this will be the case before the excellence of the show.
However, in itself All of Us Are Dead does not revolutionize the genre. Zombies who flock and a handful of survivors, in a relatively closed place, who are likely to pass there, we have already seen that. But like a Last train to Busan (to stay on the South Korean side), the Netflix series does it right with mastery across the board. No train here, but a high school as the main scenery. A student infected with a virus and soon a zombie outbreak breaks out in the humble town of Hyosan. We then follow, at first, a few students who manage to survive this sudden attack and find refuge in different corners of the campus.
A controlled achievement
While taking his time to introduce different characters, All of Us Are Dead doesn’t take long to put us in the bath. From the very first moments, to be honest. And after a first episode, we are already in shock. With these endearing high school students for the most part (others much less), confronted with the horror of seeing the world collapse before their eyes. Like this sequence in the cafeteria, in slow motion, with the young On-jo paralyzed in front of a horde of monsters.
Then follows an effective sequence shot which testifies to a desire to capture our attention with real staging proposals and not to rely on a concept, while always working on the empathy of the characters. Visually, the series doesn’t overdo it but doesn’t skimp on the gore. Above all, it perfectly manages the space. There is thus, later in the season, this tense passage in the library, or even the growing anxiety in the stairwell leading to the roof.
Tears, tension, but also laughter
If the realization is smart, so is the writing. Because, once again, empathy for the protagonists is inevitable. And, quickly, we understand thatAll of Us Are Dead will not spare us since all can be sacrificed. So where the series doesn’t focus on tension, it emphasizes emotion. The relationship between young people is precious, whether it leads to feelings of love or, on the contrary, to real hatred – that between the bourgeois and the proletarian, as a frightening metaphor for the class struggle.
Moreover, it is not insignificant that the series takes place in a high school. This makes it possible to point, on the one hand, student well-being – because of harassment and pressure for results, which can lead to suicide. Here we can refer to works such as After my Death Where suicide club for example, but also Battle Royal. Because, on the other hand, All of Us Are Dead don’t forget to put the adult facing his responsibilities. Indeed, it is the adult who is at the origin of this disaster. And he, with rare exceptions, who will repeatedly abandon young people in their misfortune, before and during the zombie epidemic. This speech on hope and wisdom in episode 5 is a good indicator of a split between two generations.
Fortunately, while being quite dark in its subjects and the fate of some protagonists (like the pregnant teenager), All of Us Are Dead don’t forget to be an entertainment. The series thus sometimes demonstrates more lightness with real comedy moments. We are particularly fond of the scenes of Lee Eun-saem who plays Mi-jin, the young smoker with a strong character. A balance well found to tape us without putting us off. And above all to make us want more after a first season of twelve episodes.
All of Us Are Dead by Chun Sung-il and JQ Lee, on netflix the January 28, 2022. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.