K-drama review: All of Us Are Dead – Netflix's high-octane zombie action-drama has a troubling moral core

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Kingdom, Squid Game, the sinking of the Sewol Ferry

2/5 stars

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

After debuting in the South Korean market three years ago with period horror-drama Kingdom, streaming giant Netflix has circled back to zombies with its latest tentpole series All of Us Are Dead.

Based on Joo Dong-geun’s webtoon of the same name, the show depicts a zombie outbreak that swiftly overwhelms a typical Korean high school (the local title of the source and series translates as Now at Our School).

Global Tech News Daily

This modern zombie saga opens with a bang in the midst of an act of school bullying that unfolds on a rooftop during a rainy night. After taking a beating, the victim snaps, or rather his limbs do, as he turns into something not quite human and fights back. Moments later, he is tossed over the parapet and sails down to the alley below.

The next morning the action moves to Hyosan High School at the start of a sunny day, with slickly sutured tracking shots that glide around the school and its many characters swiftly introducing viewers to the lay of the land.

Global Tech News Daily

This bright interlude proves to be a short one, before the writers gleefully pitch the school, its student body and, to a lesser degree, its faculty, into a maelstrom of blood, guts and mayhem. This initial alacrity, aided by the show’s lurid and dynamic staging, competently aligns us with the febrile emotions of the show’s teenage protagonists.

So far, so good. Despite the quick pacing and the melee of characters thrown at us, a clear picture emerges of the main protagonists and their relationships with, and feelings toward, one another.

These include Onjo (played by Park Ji-hoo, the star of celebrated indie film House of Hummingbird), a teenage girl who has picked this day to confess her feelings to her dreamy classmate Suhyeok (Park Solomon). Not so thrilled about this development is her childhood best friend Cheongsan (Yoon Chan-young), who has secretly been holding a candle for her for years.

Other characters include class president Namra (Cho Yi-hyun), whose phlegmatic disposition, rich family and top grades intimidate everyone at school, including Suhyeok, who is also harbouring a secret crush.

Kingdom, Squid Game, the sinking of the Sewol Ferry

Lee Yoo-mi in a still from All of Us Are Dead. Photo: Netflix

Miles away from her Squid Game character, Lee Yoo-mi plays snotty rich kid Nayeon who looks down on anyone below her social level, while Yoo In-soo is Gwinam, a bully who maintains his predatory position when Hyosan becomes overrun with the undead.

All of Us Are Dead kicks off with an impressive episode that is filled with energy and, much like the terrific pilot of The Walking Dead, amounts to a confident rendition of familiar zombie tropes. Yet under this slick veneer lies a network of hairline cracks, which are easy to gloss over at first, but grow more prominent as the show moves past its thrilling opening salvo.

Once the initial wave of pandemonium dies down, the series becomes a survival drama, with pockets of characters hiding out, mostly in different parts of the school, some in different areas of the fictional Hyosan town. As they learn to make peace with their predicament, these characters try to find ways toward each other, and ultimately to safety.

Kingdom, Squid Game, the sinking of the Sewol Ferry

Park Solomon in a scene from All of Us Are Dead. Photo: Netflix.

With 12 episodes that average an hour each, All of Us Are Dead is the longest Korean original series that Netflix has put out (if we discount the shows it licenses from other Korean networks). The first episode flashes by in the blink of an eye, but the same cannot be said for those that follow, which become mired in a repetitive pattern.

Internal strife pits survivors against one another, an external threat bands them together again, someone (invariably male) sacrifices themselves, the remainder escape, the story cools down for a sentimental interlude and then off we go again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

While the diminishing returns of the show’s narrative are a disappointment, the moral implications of its wide-ranging smorgasbord of social commentary are bewildering, if not outright alarming.

The show touches on a dizzying array of issues, which include school bullying, college entrance exams, social inequality, blackmail pornography, cronyism and teenage pregnancy, but also features references to several modern historical tragedies, such as the Gwangju Massacre and the sinking of the Sewol Ferry.

Some of these elements are purely superficial (teenage pregnancy) or mawkishly manipulative (the Sewol allusion sees kids finding a camcorder and recording tearful farewell messages to their families), but those that are prominent enough to affect the story morph beyond social allusions into paradoxical or antithetical themes.

All the characters who are bullied are painted negatively – the more cruel their victimisation, the more psychotic and unsympathetic a villain they become. The most hated and hateful character is a rich kid, yet the most awed among the group is part of the same social elite.

Kingdom, Squid Game, the sinking of the Sewol Ferry

Park Ji-hoo in a still from All of Us Are Dead. Photo: Netflix

When the military eventually descends on Hyosan, the general who enacts the first martial law since the Gwangju Massacre is both a hardliner and a tortured moralist that the show demands we sympathise with.

These troubling characterisations trickle all the way through the story. You’ll find no less than three characters of varying importance who all become the subject of fat shaming.

Korean zombie mythmaking has been inextricably – and often thrillingly – tied to social commentary, but while All of Us Are Dead gladly continues that pop culture relay race, the people carrying the baton seem to be part of the problem rather than the ones who should be trusted to talk about it.

Kingdom, Squid Game, the sinking of the Sewol Ferry

Yoon Chan-young in a scene from All of Us Are Dead. Photo: Netflix

All of Us Are Dead will start streaming on Netflix on January 28.

News Related


Alibaba's latest NFT launch features non-tradeable badges celebrating four Winter Olympics sports

Alibaba Group Holding has launched four non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring sports at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, expanding the offerings available in China’s closed, non-tradeable NFT world. The virtual badges, ... Read more »

Logistics start-up GoGoX's steps up Hong Kong IPO plan with investor education process after receiving HKEX approval

GoGoX, an Asian app-based logistics services provider, has started an investor education process for its initial public offering, according to a source familiar with the transaction. The IPO is reportedly ... Read more »

K-pop artists present special exhibitions that coincide with album releases

Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon (left) and boy band Treasure (S.M. Entertainment, YG Entertainment)While gearing up for their big returns to the stage, K-pop musicians have been preparing special exhibitions where visitors ... Read more »

Couple fight boy's brain cancer with natural remedies, reiki and alternative medicine – we believed his body ‘would not take' more chemotherapy, Hong Kong mum says

Shirley Johnson faced the biggest test of her life when her 18-month-old son, Max, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer in children, in November 2019. The Hong ... Read more »

Betting on tech firms like Nio and BOC pays off for communist officials in China's eastern city of Hefei

In early 2020, as the pandemic pushed it to the verge of bankruptcy, China’s highest-­profile rival to Tesla was shunned by the venture capital funds and foreign investors that had ... Read more »

Inside BTS members' US$1 million luxury watch collection: from Jungkook's Rolex Submariner, to Jimin's iconic Cartier Tank and the US$35,000 Jaeger-LeCoultre V's fans bought him for his birthday

There are perks to taking over the pop culture landscape – just ask BTS. As the richest group in K-pop with a net worth totalling around US$50 million between them, ... Read more »

Alibaba weighs on Hong Kong market on stock overhang concerns while China data disappoints

Hong Kong stocks fell as Alibaba Group Holding led losses in major Chinese technology companies amid concerns about stock overhang. A private report today showed China’s services industry grew at ... Read more »

BIGBANG to make a comeback in spring after four years

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) — Boy group BIGBANG will come back to the K-pop scene this spring after four years of hiatus due to the members’ mandatory military duties, the ... Read more »

Hong Kong developers are betting on London for its high rental yields amid BN (O) visa scheme, says K&K Properties boss

Hong Kong developers are increasing their investments in London, betting on higher yields as more Hongkongers head to the UK under the British National (Overseas) visa scheme. There has been ... Read more »

In Tesla-dominated Hong Kong, BMW eyes 50 per cent of its sales in the city to come from electric cars by 2024

BMW will launch at least three new electric car models in Hong Kong this year, as the German firm aims for battery-powered vehicles to account for 50 per cent of ... Read more »

Do right by foreign workers to preserve Hong Kong's competitive advantage

In recent decades, Hong Kong’s competitive advantage has been built upon diverse foundations. Some are obvious and repeated ad nauseam – low and simple tax rates, trusted legal system, unique ... Read more »

China's stock market is lacking one major ingredient to rebound from bear territory, US fund manager says

China’s policy-easing measures will need to go the distance to revive credit for businesses, before investors commit more money to the local stock market, according to US-based money manager Wang ... Read more »

A Channing Tatum-backed start-up reflects rise in manscaping – why shaving and waxing below the belt will continue to grow

Gone are the days when a quick jump in the shower followed by a brief spray of deodorant was all guys needed before heading out of the house. Male grooming ... Read more »

Chocolate, avocados, tacos – Mexico's culinary gifts to the world, and ways to use them in the kitchen

What would Italian food be without tomatoes, or Indian food without chillies? Imagine life without chocolate, or squash or beans. In México: The Beautiful Cookbook (1991), authors Marilyn Tausend and ... Read more »

As US stocks fall, a bear market is all but inevitable in 2022

Greed and fear are primal instincts, and greed has been red in tooth and claw in battling against fear during what amounts to the longest ever bull market in stocks. ... Read more »

Tencent restores Fight Club ending after censorship backlash in China on social media

China’s internet giant Tencent Holdings has restored the original ending of the popular dark satire Fight Club on its video streaming service after censorship of the final scene sparked widespread ... Read more »

How blockchain technology can help solve Asia's need for green finance

As the climate crisis worsens, governments and organisations are increasingly looking to green finance as a way to raise funds for sustainable projects and infrastructure. Yet despite growing investment in ... Read more »

What is the gut microbiome? How a diet high in fibre and plant-based foods helps keep yours healthy – experts explain

Looking after our gut health is important. Colorectal is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common in women worldwide. In Hong Kong it is the ... Read more »

How fake breasts, nipples, penis transformed Pam & Tommy stars Lily James, Sebastian Stan into iconic '90s couple for Hulu show

The task: transform actors known for playing Cinderella and Marvel’s Winter Soldier into a buxom blonde Playboy cover girl and her tattooed rock star husband. The resemblance of stars Lily ... Read more »

China signs up for treaty to protect industrial design IP

China has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization’s treaty on protecting industrial designs, which should help Chinese designers safeguard their work internationally, the UN agency said on Saturday. Beijing has ... Read more »

Year of the Tiger: Tesla's lead in China's EV market is whittled away by NIO, Xpeng, Li Auto and other home-grown brands

Tesla’s dominance in the world’s largest electric car market may come increasingly under pressure in the Year of the Tiger, as China’s home-grown brands develop new models to pick up ... Read more »

Hong Kong: haunting memoir of a fractured city and life on the edge

The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen Cheung, pub. Penguin Random House Among the acknowledgements at the end of her first book, The Impossible City: A Hong Kong ... Read more »

10 Things You Need to Know About "All of Us Are Dead" Star Cho Yi Hyun

© Provided by Preview.ph What would a high school story be if there wasn’t a character fulfilling the role of the studious class president? For All of Us Are Dead, ... Read more »

Hong Kong's property market sinks to 17-month low in January as Omicron wreaks havoc with deals

Hong Kong’s property market is expected to see even fewer deals in the coming month amid a fifth coronavirus outbreak linked to the Omicron strain, with the overall number of ... Read more »

US Treasury warns of illicit money percolating in high-end art

The US Treasury Department is looking more closely at potential money laundering and the financing of terrorism through trading high-value art. The way art is bought and sold – and ... Read more »

How China plans to lead the world in sustainable food with latest five-year agricultural development plan

China’s decision to include alternative proteins in its five-year agricultural development plan shows Beijing’s desire to nurture home-grown technology to ensure sustainable food supply, industry watchers say. Lab-grown meat, plant-based ... Read more »

4 of Asia's richest celebrity power couples: from Bollywood's Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh to K-drama's Kim Tae-hee romance with K-pop's Rain

When an actor reaches a certain level of fame, their whole life becomes a movie – with fans as fascinated with their off-screen antics as their next screen role. And ... Read more »

Hold deg fast – Netflix kommer til å lansere én film i uka i 2022

© Netflix Chris Evans spiller Lloyd i Netflix’ «The Gray Man» Netflix har nå avslørt et helt drøss av filmer de kommer til å lansere i 2022 – og kjære ... Read more »

K-drama midseason recap: Ghost Doctor – medical drama starring Rain and Kim Beom delivers comic banter and smooth emotional beats

This article contains spoilers. Sometimes all a show needs is enough of a story to fuel a fun concept. This is exactly the balance that Korean medical comedy-drama Ghost Doctor, ... Read more »

‘No money, no new year': Chinese developers remain mired in debt even after financial lifeline

As millions of Chinese headed home last week to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Michael Lin had to break the bad news to his 7-year-old daughter: she would not be ... Read more »

Stress, anxiety, trauma: how Hong Kong Covid-19 travel curbs affect the mental health of expat families, for whom there are few upsides to isolation

An ambulance pulls up outside one of the austere blocks at Penny’s Bay, Hong Kong’s quarantine camp, where arrivals to the city and close contacts of Covid-19 cases are confined ... Read more »

Who is Irene Zhao, the Singapore Instagram influencer who made over US$5 million selling her photos as NFTs – and caught Logan Paul's attention in the process?

NFTs continue to take the world by storm and social media influencers are starting to catch on to the trend. Case in point: for Irene Zhao, one of Singapore’s biggest ... Read more »

Why Federal Reserve's hard pivot over inflation has stock markets spooked

Capital markets have had a turbulent start to the new year as they adjust to more active central banks and tighter monetary policy. The US Federal Reserve has kick-started the ... Read more »

Covid-19 looms large over Hong Kong's office market as companies implement work-from-home

The office market in Hong Kong will continue to be disrupted by the work-from-home trend this year as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a UBS real estate analyst said. With ... Read more »

US-China tech war: Top Chinese university pulls report that concluded China would suffer more from tech decoupling with US

A think-tank at China’s prestigious Peking University has pulled a report that concluded China would likely suffer more in a tech decoupling from the US. The 7,600-character report was published ... Read more »

Disbandment not the end: GFriend members to redebut as Viviz

Concept image of Viviz’s first EP “Beam of Prism” (BPM Entertainment)Putting behind their years as GFriend, members SinB, Eunha and Umji are embarking on a new journey together. As ironic ... Read more »

Hong Kong approves spin-off of Chinese metals and plastics firm Karrie International's property arm, paves way for listing

KRP Development, the real estate business of Chinese metal and plastics manufacturer Karrie International Holdings, is heading for a listing in Hong Kong after the city’s bourse approved the unit’s ... Read more »

Beijing 2022: the best and worst Winter Olympics outfits to look out for from Adidas, Columbia, Uniqlo, The North Face, Kim Kardashian's Skims and more

Millions of people around the world will be turning their eyes to the Chinese capital for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Winter Games that follow soon after. ... Read more »

[Today's K-pop] Dawn proposes, HyunAh says ‘yes'

(Credit: P Nation)HyunAh and Dawn announced via Instagram that they are tying the knot. Late Thursday, Dawn wrote “Marry Me” with a heart, uploading a short video that showed the ... Read more »

Why era of self-driving cars is still far off despite Elon Musk's big talk

It was almost six years ago that I harrumphed against the exuberant predictions about the imminent autonomous vehicle takeover of our roads. Today, quietly and without hubris, I can sneak ... Read more »