Movie Review: #Alive (2020)

Released onto Netflix in late 2020, #Alive (originally #살아있다) is a South Korean zombie horror movie. As a sudden virus overtakes Seoul, turning it’s residents into ravenous undead, internet streamer Oh Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-In) is forced to survive inside his apartment, almost entirely cut off from the outside world.

+ the suddenness that everything goes to hell around Joon-woo as he was settling in for a day of video games starts this movie off frantically, and the pace doesn’t let up. I generally like these ‘follow one person as they survive a particular hardship’ type dealios, and Joon-woo was a compelling character. The self-contained nature of the story made this feel like it could have been one of the chapters of World War Z (before that bastardisation of a movie ruined all hope)
+ these are the agile, Dawn of the Dead remake style zombies but I really liked how gross they were. They are drooling and bleeding and howling as they chase the humans, and their glossed over eyes make for a terrifying sight
+ it’s perhaps not an accident that this came to Netflix in late 2020, as we here in Australia were indeed hiding inside our homes for fear of an infectious virus across our country. Though I was thankfully out of lockdown when I watched it, it did provide a bit of extra oomph

– the plot is predictable, in the sense that you’ll be able to assume where things will go but won’t know for sure until they do (but they probably do). I’ve been harsh on movies, particularly horror movies being predictable, but this film either does it so well, or changes things up just enough to mostly avoid that criticism. Still, you will certainly have seen something like it before
– there are a few plot points that I was expecting to play a bigger part. From a meta standpoint, the hashtag in the movie name did make me think that the internet and social media would play a larger role than it did, especially considering Joon-woo’s (barely examined) streamer status

> the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of this being one of an unofficial extended universe of World War Z “chapters”. Let’s just collectively decide to ignore that movie

Should you see this film: I enjoyed this. Yoo Ah-In plays a compelling character that perhaps many can relate to, and the timeliness of the film as the real world deals with a virus of its own adds some real world stakes, if you will, to a would-have-been tired genre.


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