#Alive mimics real life quarantine with a side of zombies

Zombie-comedy #Alive is available to stream on Netflix

Photo from Wikipedia, property of Lotte Entertainment

Zombie-comedy #Alive is available to stream on Netflix

Diana Beas Soto, Staff Writer

Spending the days aimlessly scrolling through the internet while trapped at home is a story that is all too familiar. 

This concept is played on in the South Korean zombie apocalypse film #Alive. The feature debut of director Cho Il-hyung, #Alive was recently released globally via Netflix bringing everything one would expect of a zombie movie: gore, thrill and an aloof yet charismatic protagonist. 

The story follows Oh Joon-woo, played by Yoo Ah-in, who is a popular video game streamer that wakes up amidst a zombie apocalypse. 

As someone who spends his days shooting the living dead only from a pixelated screen, Joon-woo proves to be incapable when it comes to survival skills. 

Il-hyung’s decision of excluding a backstory, with little to no exposition, makes this zombie movie much more fast-paced and riveting than most. Instead of focusing on how the virus came to be and narrating its origin, the film seamlessly skips past this aspect, allowing its audience to focus on the fear factor. 

Given Joon-woo’s comedic relief, such as playing video games while hoards of zombies are roaming the streets, #Alive is a new twist on action-packed zombie films. 

An interesting feature of the film is the singular setting. Rather than the genre’s usual extensive high-budget settings, the eerie nature of a zombie apocalypse happening right outside the comfort of Joon-woo’s home, with his neighbors ripping each other apart, challenges the audience’s comfort levels. 

Visually, the film focuses on graphic, gory scenes that zombie-film lovers will enjoy, all while tugging at the heart strings of the audience as Joo-woo’s whole life falls apart. 

There is less dialogue found within the first half of the film as Joon-woo is isolated in his apartment. Excluding the scenes of Joon-woo talking to himself or crying himself to sleep, the film’s reliance on silence off-puttingly mimics what many have been living through during the pandemic. 

With no contact with the outside world and losing his only resource of sanity, the internet, Joon-woo’s desperation and hopelessness is felt through the screen. 

The film’s second protagonist is Kim Yoo-bin, played by Park Shin-hye. Also with no backstory, the audience learns that Yoo-bin has been watching Joon-woo while hiding in the apartment complex across from him. 

Yoo-bin’s refreshing approach to the apocalypse in comparison to Joon-woo’s sets the tone for dominance between the two of them. Even with the lack of dialogue between the two characters, the simplicity of forming a human bond during dark times shines a light of hope between the two characters. 

However, #Alive stumbles upon its own faults and clichés. 

The characters together form a surprisingly good dynamic duo, yet individually there is little to no character development. The plot can become predictable at times. 

Regardless, having a zombie film that keeps its audience on the edge of their seats is commendable. The relatability of what the main characters live through and what many during the pandemic lived through blurs the line between reality and fiction. 

Having a film that can perfectly capture the anxiety and panic many felt during the COVID-19 pandemic is quite interesting. The emotional performances between the two main characters  motivated by the same goal, to make it out alive, is what drives the story and keeps the audience rooting for them. 

#Alive is an exciting watch and overall an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes of your time. This might be on your watch list if your interests include gruesome zombies, occasional jump scares and quarantine flashbacks. 

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California