Park Shin Hye and Yoo Ah In in a movie together? What could go wrong? Really!!
So I’ve seen the newest Korean zombie Movie “#ALIVE” and I had a lot of thoughts after watching it. I usually only review and recap Korean dramas not movies, but I am making an exception to talk about this one.
“#ALIVE” was heavily marketed as the next big Korean zombie flick and it had two popular Korean actors joining hands, it only needed to have a good script, which it sadly didn’t.
Note: this is a subjective review.
I went in with high expectations, after all this is Yoo Ah In we’re talking about, but I have to say its one of his weakest movies I’ve ever seen. Since Yoo Ah In doesn’t always come back with dramas, I watched almost all of his movies, however, in the case of Park Shin Hye, I watched all of her dramas but I think none of her newer movies.
However, I did believe this was going to be a terrific film since both actors usually pick interesting projects, regardless of the outcome, their projects have been mostly interesting.
As you can tell by the title, I am disappointed.
I think I was expecting something similar to “Train To Busan,” which is objectively one of the best zombie movies made in recent memory. It wasn’t about expecting something extremely similar to the feel of “Train To Busan,” as much as expecting a great final product that gives a fresh perspective to the overly exhausted zombie genre.
Koreans excel at making zombie flicks, “Kingdom,” a popular Netflix series about zombies in historical times is another amazing example, however, “#ALIVE” feels like its not even trying.
After finishing the movie, the first idea that popped into my head is ‘why?’ I was wondering the reason behind why it was made to begin with. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how the idea was successfully pitched to a studio and successfully produced. I also wonder whether the movie would’ve ever been made had it not secured Yoo Ah In and Park Shin Hye as the leads.
“#ALIVE” is about two young adults who find themselves at odds trapped in their own apartments after a zombie outbreak, they’re running out of everything including patience.
The premise is actually really interesting and the feeling of entrapment is a good theme to run with, however, “#ALIVE” barely does anything with it. It feels like a somber zombie movie, not something you’d expect out of a zombie movie.
It would’ve made an interesting premise but it needed more content. Clocking at nearly 1 hour and 40 minutes, the plot hardly moves for a good period of time.
“#ALIVE” definitely didn’t need to be that long.
The other issue that I found with the movie was also pointed out by almost everyone who watched it, just how unrealistic it felt. Korean zombie flicks are usually more grounded in reality, they explore human emotions around such a grandeur subject, they humanize the experience as much as possible, which is the opposite of what American movies do and it’s the sheer reason why “Train To Busan” was a big deal, domestically and internationally.
The zombies are way too tamed and there are many scenes that should’ve played out differently, such as the scene where the male character (played by Yoo Ah In) stops the zombies by blocking them through a bicycle but somehow his hand is not bitten, I was seriously expecting his character to die. I was seriously expecting his character to die near the end because he was not only all over the place but pretty dumb, the opposite of what you’d want as your protagnoist.
The other issue with “#ALIVE” is the lack of a real threatening antagonist aside from the zombies. The zombies are there to create obstacles in the most diluted way possible.
The characters barely go through any growth period throughout its run, they’re just there, if they were replaced by other actors, I don’t think I would’ve cared. The movie does so little trying to create suspense that I honestly didn’t care much if they died or not. They don’t give me a reason why they should be saved or stay alive, I don’t feel that urge.
Overall, “#ALIVE” will disappoint you if you watch with high expectations which I assume happened to many people considering the reviews from netizens around the web.
“#ALIVE” isn’t downright terrible but extremely forgettable. They had a terrific premise to work with but barely scratched the surface.
I heard the movie was the top pick on Netflix and I am honestly surprised but happy nonetheless, and I hope that anyone who watches it checks out other amazing Korean movies. More power to it, its unexpected but welcomed.
I am most disappointed in Yoo Ah In’s choice, he usually picks better projects. The director behind this movie, Jo Il-Hyeong, is a rookie so to speak, its his first movie and he’s also credited as one of the screenwriters alongside an English name.
I think if you don’t watch a lot of zombie movies, this might be nice but if you watch a lot and you’ve already seen “Train To Busan” or “Kingdom,” there is a good chance you won’t be impressed.
If you read this review and are looking for better Korean zombie movies/dramas, check out “Train To Busan” and “Kingdom,” they’re a lot better comparatively.