The zombie horror understands the human side to a devastating event which makes it more than just a genre film.
This review of Korean Netflix film #Alive contains no spoilers. The horror was released on the streaming service on September 8, 2020.
At the start of #Alive, I became self-aware that the lead character’s approach to a zombie-like apocalypse would be very similar to mine. A man that lives on his own is suddenly forced to live in a new world where bloodthirsty groups try to rip your flesh apart. The character’s response is natural — stay in your home and consume the grief and try and ride it out. It’s oddly realistic to the human condition to ignore the inevitable rather than confronting it. When our lead decides to play games and drink alcohol, we are witnessing what many of us did when the virus hit us — we retreated.
#Alive is abundantly a typical zombie story but its relatability allows viewers to suspend belief. The character spends portions of his time creating a vlog of his experiences. The Korean film attempts to articulate the mental toll a situation like a sudden apocalypse can bring; from normality to constant danger can send any rational person into a frenzy.
And with the scenes mostly basing themselves from the lead’s apartment, the theme is less about zombies. In fact, strip away the flesh-eating and you have a rather human and touching story. Loneliness is the theme rather than the fear of mortality. Netflix’s #Alive tries to keep it original in an unoriginal genre.
The Korean film effortlessly directs the perspective of being closed in an apartment — how rain becomes a decisive event or a neighbor communicating with you from another balcony. The sense of entrapment shines through the direction and becomes a character within itself.
Of course, let’s not oversell it — #Alive does enjoy the zombie aspects when it veers away from the character development. The zombie horror understands the human side to a devastating event which makes it more than just a genre film.
#Alive deserves way more promotion than it actually got.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.