#ALIVE might be the zombie movie of the moment. It's a tightly-written, no-holds-barred zombie movie that features a hero trapped in lockdown during the zombie apocalypse because it's not safe to go outside. Sound familiar?
The movie follows Joon-Woo, a gamer, livestreamer, and tech geek played by Yoo Ah-In who sees the zombie apocalypse erupt from the safety of his apartment. From that point, he stays in lockdown, because no place is safe outside with the undead set to jump on anyone alive to chomp on their juicy, fleshy bodies. Our hero gets increasingly desperate when he starts running out of food and water. Does he risk going outside to find food and water or stay in until he starves? To go outside is to risk getting attacked and infected. And what about the loneliness and despair of being stuck inside indefinitely? What happens when the despair gets so bad that Joon-Woo gets suicidal?
Joon-Woo meets Yu-Bin (Park Shin-hye), a woman in another apartment who has survived as long as he has by being smarter and savvier than him. She's a hiker and a pragmatist, and together they make a formidable odd couple as they set out to survive the zombie apocalypse together. Yoo and Park make a fun contrast with his awkward goofiness and her deadpan stoicism.
Zombie stories are about the conflict between Hope and Despair. The characters are always trying to find hope to survive another hour, another day, versus losing all hope and just giving up and becoming zombie lunch. #ALIVE strikes a fascinating balance in the way the hero goes from giving up to finding new ways to keep going, especially when he's no longer alone and has something – someone – to remind him what to live for. The script is deceptively simple but is very clever in exploring as many angles to living in isolation during a zombie apocalypse as possible before the big, barnstorming climax.
#Alive opened in theatres in South Korea on June 24th, a few weeks before Peninsula, the sequel to Train to Busan, opened. It was actually shot last October to December, well before the Pandemic hit. Yet it is the one movie that captures the sense of desperation, despair, fear, and uncertainty we've all felt more than once over the last few months in lockdown. Apparently it is currently the No. 1 movie worldwide on Netflix, despite the fact that there was virtually no marketing for it before it premiered on the streamer. That says something about the hunger for zombie moves, perhaps, as well as a lockdown horror movie everyone can relate to.
#Alive is now streaming on Netflix. You can watch it from the comfort of home without the risk of going out to a theatre.