All Of Us Are Dead (2022): Another Outstanding Gory Show from South Korea
All Of Us Are Dead is this new series about a zombie invasion in a high school that has already topped the Netflix charts in fifty-three countries around the world. Recently with My Name, Vincenzo, Squid Game, and Hellbound, South Korea is set to establish itself as the new goose that lays the golden eggs of Netflix’s hit series. 2021 will go down in history as the year that crowned Korean series as international hits. On Friday, January 28, 2022, the platform released a new fiction in twelve episodes of one hour on average.
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This show featured very young actors and actresses, of which:
- Park Ji-hoo (as Nam On-jo), born in 2003 and featured on Sweet Revenge 2 (2018), Beautiful World (2019), Little Women (2022).
Instagram handle: @03_hu
- Yoon Chan-young (as Lee Cheong-San), born in 2001 and featured on Doctor John (2019), Nobody Knows (2020), Do You Like Brahms? (2020).
Instagram handle: @yooncy1
- Cho Yi-hyun (as Nam-ra), born in 1999 and featured on Hospital Playlist (2020-2021), How to Buy a Friend (2020), School 2021 (2021).
Instagram handle: @yihyun_1208
- Park Solomon (as Lee Suhyeok), born in 1999 and featured on Doctors (2016), Sweet Revenge (2017), Lookout (2017).
Instagram handle: @actor_solomonpak
- Yoo In-soo (as Yoon Gwi-Nam), born in 1998 and featured on Love Alarm (2019), Stranger 2 (2020), At a Distance, Spring is Green (2021).
Instagram handle: @k.a_innsoo
The plot of All of Us Are Dead
In All of Us Are Dead, a dangerous virus is spreading among humans. Not Covid but rather a strange disease that turns the infected into zombies. There is a particularly high rate of contagiousness since, quickly, almost all the students are affected. Only a handful manage to escape by locking themselves in a room. Martial law is in place. No Internet, no phone; impossible to communicate with the outside world. The uninfected have to survive and scientists try to shed light on this very special epidemic that is sweeping through the campus.
This zombie series ‘All of Us Are Dead‘, oscillating between horror thriller and teen melodrama, adapted from Joo Dong-geun’s 2009 webtoon Now at Our School, follows a group of students stranded on the grounds of their high school in Hyosan.
Why is All of Us Are Dead worth watching?
The origins of the virus
The virus was created by life science teacher Lee Byung-chan, a specialist in cell biology and a former researcher at a pharmaceutical company. With this virus, he wanted to help his son, a victim of school bullying and prone to suicidal thoughts, to transform his fear into strength in order to become a predator to defend himself from his attackers in high school.
But the virus the teacher created was too powerful and dangerous. His son then became a bloodthirsty zombie and infected his wife. The professor locks them up, unable to bring himself to kill them, and tries to find an antidote in the high school laboratory. The story could have ended there with a virus contained only in two bodies locked in his house.
Except that a student is bitten by one of the mice infected with the virus, locked up in the high school laboratory for the professor’s experiments. And it is through this student, who will bite the school nurse, then other people in the hospital, that the epidemic begins.
In All of Us Are Dead, when a person is infected, they very quickly turn into a zombie and run to find their next prey. A person can be infected with the virus via the bite of a zombie or with the blood of an infected deposited on an open wound.
Full of high-school clichés
As mentioned above the very origins of the virus have to do with bullying, a preoccupied father who wants his son to be strong. The teacher’s son’s life is hell. It is characterized by the repeated use, not only of physical violence but also of teasing and other humiliations.
- Body shaming
Min Eun-ji is the victim of body shaming. She gets insulted and called “ugly”. With ever heavier injunctions and ever more acerbic mockery about her physical appearance, Min Eun-ji does not want to let herself be overwhelmed by her “complexes” or sink into a loss of self-confidence.
Both the teacher’s son and Min Eun-ji are bullied by Yoon Gwi-nam, who feels a strong need for domination and is, in general, impulsive. He has little to no empathy: he is unable to put himself in his victims’ shoes and, in addition, has a very weak feeling of guilt. He also considers himself a victim of his seniors.
Nowadays, popular culture, cinema, the Internet, and novels, also have their influence on the love of young people. School is no longer just a place of learning, but also a cocoon for their love. Some of the students had a crush on their fellows but, until the appearance of the virus, were afraid of confessing their love. Knowing that they might die at any time made them vulnerable and more than ready to share their feelings.
The zombies’ acting in All of Us Are Dead
In All of Us Are Dead, the zombies offer stunts that make the approach very bodily, physical. The viewer can feel the difficulty of containing the rage; which makes it clear that the slightest infection puts everyone in danger. The zombies’ makeup is astonishing. We can fathom when exactly they were infected.
The colors in All of Us Are Dead
The overall assemblage of All of Us Are Dead is disturbing with a relatively composed tone. There are some special effects rarely used (frontally), which makes the production a little bit more realistic. The photography perfectly highlights the organic veil. We feel a certain depth that makes the series, once again, realistic while reminding us that we are in a horrific fiction.
The tone seeks to emphasize the green of the students’ uniforms. This color makes us feel the nature that takes back its rights in this humanity going into a spin, where survival becomes necessary. And above all, the green color is there to contrast the blood-red color that flows in abundance as the episodes progress. What also charm the visual identity are the decorations, the school that was chosen. A gigantic school used as a playground to introduce ‘the apocalypse’.
The emotions in All of Us Are Dead
If the production is marvelous, the writing is just as much. Because empathy for the protagonists is inevitable. And, quickly, we understand that All of Us Are Dead will not spare us since everyone can be sacrificed/killed. Students lost their best friends, parents, siblings. Imagine how hard it is emotionally when someone very close to you turns into a zombie and you have to kill them.
So, whenever All of Us Are Dead doesn’t focus on tension, it emphasizes emotion. The relationship between the young students is precious, whether it leads to feelings of love or, on the contrary, to profound hatred – that between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, as a frightening metaphor for the class struggle.
The “half-human, half-zombie” concept (or hambie)
If the first episodes of the series explain to us that all infected people just become bloodthirsty living dead, the rest of All Of Us Are Dead shows that the virus evolves. This twist reinforces the dangerous and unpredictable nature of the virus and further damages relationships between students.
Thus, Yoon Gwi-nam, one of the high school bullies, is bitten but the virus mutates in his body. He is a conscious infected, able to heal on his own and he is not attacked by “classic” zombies. This is why he repeatedly attacks the main group to get revenge on Lee Cheong-san for gouging out his eye.
Another student is affected by the mutated virus. It is Choi Nam-ra, the class representative. Also sentient, able to heal on her own, and blessed with strength, she is not attacked by zombies, and she can control her hunger. Choi Nam-ra will prove to be a great help for her comrades.
This is also the case of Min Eun-ji, a victim of harassment who becomes half-human, half-zombie.
These are people whose natural immunity to the virus causes them to transform into something in between. That is just the ‘rational’, ‘scientific’ explanation. Nevertheless, there is another analysis that can be done. What do these three all have in common? One thing only. THEY ARE NOT AFRAID!
The one who was being harassed, with a video of her topless. She was no longer afraid. She was already angry. She only had one thing in mind: her video.
The bully of this girl and so many other students. Same principle: he was no longer afraid, he just wanted to prove that he was not under anyone’s orders. That he wasn’t a minion.
And Nam-ra, the last hambie. Why would she be afraid? This epidemic delivered her. She withdrew into herself, had no friends. This tragedy offered her deliverance, friendship, and love.
Despite a very dynamic production and gore imagery that should delight fans of the genre, the story can get bogged down fairly quickly. Because twelve one-hour episodes can be considered a long time. Very long (it is clear that a series is always too long or too short regardless of the format, people may never be totally happy/satisfied). Many intrigues are thus mixed with others, even if it means losing the viewer with a wet firecracker effect.
But with endearing characters, rather well-brought cases of conscience, and a very marked universe adored by many fans, All of Us Are Dead should be able to seduce a large audience of young adults. Provided you are not put off by the tsunamis of blood, used excessively.
Furthermore, All of Us Are Dead does not fail to put adults face to face with their responsibilities. Indeed, it is an adult who is at the origin of this disaster. And them, with rare exceptions, who will repeatedly abandon young people in their misfortune, before and during the zombie epidemic.
Finally, teacher Lee Byung-chan is adamant in his videos, there is no cure for Jonas virus. But there may be hope in Nam-ra, who survived and went into hiding. Found months later by her comrades, Nam-ra no longer shows any visible signs of the virus and seems to be in perfect control in addition to having developed her exceptional abilities. Could she be the solution to find a cure? We can have an answer if Netflix greenlights a second season of All of Us Are Dead.
In the meantime, take a look at our Drama category here or watch our reaction to the drama!