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Friday, January 28, 2022

Netflix’s “All of Us Are Dead” Review – Zombie Series Bites Off More Than It Can Chew

This “All of Us Are Dead” review is spoiler-free. You’re safe.

The Netflix adaptation of webtoon Now at Our School by Joo Dong-geun uses a gory if familiar outbreak premise as a vehicle for an ambitious K-drama bearing no shortage of social critiques. “All of Us Are Dead (trailer here) does offer a few twists to the zombie setup, but it’s far more interested in doling out emotional punishment upon its sprawling cast. The series ultimately bites off more than it can chew in themes, characters, and ambition. 

Created by Lee JQChun Sung-il, and Kim Nam-suAll of Us Are Dead wastes no time establishing ground zero for a viral outbreak resembling a gnarlier version of 28 Days Later’s rage virus. A savage opening bullying scene on a rooftop sees a victim left for dead. When the teen’s father comes for him in the hospital, it’s clear both are harboring a grim secret, and dad’s come to hide their tracks. Dad (Kim Byung-chul) teaches at his son’s high school, and his attempts to contain a virus that he created instead cause a massive outbreak that quickly overruns the school and beyond. Trapped survivors must fight their way out against extreme odds.

It’s not just the lengthy cast list the show struggles to balance, but the plotting itself. After a breakneck outbreak, the episodes toggle between zippy horror-action sequences and plodding moral or survival dilemmas. An early episode dedicates a surprising amount of time to one group attempting to solve a toilet situation while locked inside a classroom. Meanwhile, a line of dialogue raising issues of dehydration or starvation gets swept aside for the sake of convenience.

Bullying is the thematic throughline, with the core message seemingly that bullies create even bigger monsters. Bullying is essentially the root cause of this nasty, uncontrollable virus, but how the series approaches the topic amidst the outbreak is often messy and perplexing. One victim of physical and sexual harassment gets transformed by it, but the series lets that subplot meander and spiral out in an unsatisfying, unrelated way. Another low-tiered high school henchmen desperately clings to power gained by the endemic, becoming a recurring antagonist with little purpose or depth other than to create more problems for the core four.

All of Us Are Dead dabbles with poignant topics of classism, social inequality, high school pressures, blackmail, and teen pregnancy, but often with a clumsiness that begs the question, why bother? The latter gets shoehorned in a particularly egregious way that fails to contribute anything beyond shock value and artificial emotional manipulation.

At twelve episodes, with most running over an hour-long, this K-drama tends to make you feel its length. It culls down its sprawling cast with an impressive lack of mercy and does deliver plenty of gripping action-horror scenes. But by the end, it fails to make you care about much of it, and we’re still no closer to knowing who some of the survivors even are through the finale. Nor does it fully explore the one unique facet about this outbreak tale. All of Us Are Dead plays like its infected, an aimless and unfocused representation of frothing rage that targets anything and everything in its path without structure.

Netflix releases “All of Us Are Dead” on January 28, 2022.

The post Netflix’s “All of Us Are Dead” Review – Zombie Series Bites Off More Than It Can Chew appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3700747/review-netflixs-all-of-us-are-dead-bites-off-more-than-it-can-chew-with-sprawling-outbreak-story/

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