All of Us Are Dead South Korean zombie series on Netflix

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Zombie films have always been popular, especially since The Night of the Living Dead (1968) redefined the genre and The Walking Dead brought it to life. The South Korean film industry has also developed an obsession for the undead evey since Train to Busan gained international applause in 2016. Since then, they have produced #Alive, Kingdom and their latest series — All of Us Are Dead.

Here are the 9 best zombie movies and TV series to binge watch after All of Us Are Dead.

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All of Us Are Dead movie poster from Netflix

There are too many zombie films, from light-hearted comedies to romance. But in honour of All of Us Are Dead, we’ve decided to curate a list of the best zombie movies and series that keep you on the edge of your seat as the characters fight for their survival.

Best zombie movies

1. Train to Busan  (2016)

Train to Busan created a new era of zombies that are far more terrifying than their predecessors. South Korean zombies are aggressive, strong and agile; not something an average man can easily take on. As if upgraded zombies aren’t scary enough, being stuck in the train adds to the crippling despair.

The plot follows Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), a workaholic and divorced father who takes his daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) to visit her mother in Busan. As the train departs Seoul, an infected woman sneaks into one of the train carriages, resulting in a breakout of viruses in the train.

Train to Busan is touted as one of the first notable zombie films in South Korea, catalysing the production of other zombie appearances which will be mentioned later. As one of the critically-acclaimed films during the Cannes Film Festival, it’s also considered as one of the heavyweights that increased international recognition towards the South Korean film industry.

2. #Alive (2020)

Unlike protagonists from other films, Jun-u (Ah-in Yoo) happens to be at home during the zombie outbreak. He is safe with food, water and even a collection of his father’s alcohol. However, #Alive proves that survivability doesn’t depend on one’s physique.

Rather, it is a test of mental strength. Food starts to deplete and loneliness creeps in. Just as he loses hope, he discovers another survivor in the opposite block.

3. World War Z (2013)

World War Z is famous for that one scene. 8,500 zombies, albeit computer-generated- pile up on top of one another to invade a walled-up city.

The spread of a lethal virus plunges the world into chaos as the infected turns feral. Former U.N. investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) embarks on a mission to look for patient zero- the first carrier of the disease- in hopes to learn more about the disease to halt its spread.

4. [Rec.] (2007)

Rec, stylised as [•REC], short for “record”, takes on the found camera footage aesthetics of Blair Witch Project (1999). For those who are unfamiliar, the movie is depicted from the point of view of the cameraman to enhance the illusion of reality.

The found camera footage belongs to a reporter, Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman. Oblivious of their impending doom, both are accompanied by a group of firefighters who receive an emergency call to help an old lady who is stuck in her apartment.

Despite its short duration, and lack of character development due to the nature of the film, it is lauded as one of the best ‘shaky-cam’ films. In addition, it ranks highly on various platforms as one of the best horror films.

5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead screen print by Gary Pullin

Night of the Living Dead is an undead classic.

Siblings Barbra (Judith O’Dea) and Johnny drives up to rural Pennsylvania to visit their father’s grave. As they are about to leave, a zombie kills Johnny, forcing Barbra to hide in a farmhouse where she meets other survivors. The disparate group struggles to survive as zombies start to infiltrate their stronghold.

The movie is an influential horror film, setting the template for future zombie films. What was more impressive was its guerrilla-style shooting process, which although was used due to a budget constraint, imparted a raw, realism to the horror film.

However, Night of the Living Dead isn’t just lauded for the thrills and unprecedented violence. It underscored the prevalent racial discrimination in that era. The director, George A Romero, even casted a black actor as the lead to prove a point.

Best zombie TV shows

1. The Walking Dead 

Despite its dipping popularity towards the end of the series, The Walking Dead is no doubt one of the best zombie series on the small screens.

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a police officer, wakes up in a hospital bed amidst the zombie apocalypse; still in his patient gown and a tube up his arm. As confused as he is, he quickly adapts to the situation and ventures to look for his wife and son.

What makes The Walking Dead so successful is that it isn’t just a mindless hack-and-slash, survival movie. It is about rebuilding civilisation. More importantly, it explores the darkness of human nature. Rick and his crew quickly realises that their true enemy is not the reanimated corpses, but the remaining survivors.

2. All of Us Are Dead

All of us are dead is the newest South Korean zombie series that is available on Netflix.

Based on the Webtoon series, Now at Our School, the gory thriller takes place in a high school which is ground zero of the virus outbreak. Stuck in school without military aid, the students have to fight for their lives to escape.

3. Kingdom

Kingdom takes place in the Joseon period, when Korea is ruled by a diseased monarchy. Corruption was rife and cities are plagued by poverty and hunger.

Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon), the Crown Prince, is caught between trying to save his kingdom from the plague and the political turmoil within his empire.

4. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Produced by Wit Studio, which is known for animating the most dynamic action scenes, including the first three seasons of Attack on Titan, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress takes place in Japan during the industrial revolution.

The story begins years after a mysterious virus of unknown origin turns humans into kabane, corpse in Japanese. Fortress-like stations are built to keep kabanes out while steam locomotives are used to transport people and supplies.

After a kabane hijacks a train, allowing it to infiltrate one of the fortified cities, a young engineer, Ikoma, is bitten by one. He uses his invention to stop the disease from spreading throughout his body, which instead turns him into a half-zombie, also known as a Kabaneri.

He meets Mumei, another Kabaneri, and departs the island to seek refuge elsewhere.

5. Happiness

Happiness stands out as an unconventional zombie series that diverges from the typical heart-pounding undead pursuit, choosing instead to delve into the disturbing aspects of human nature.

Set within the confines of a quarantined apartment complex, the narrative unfolds through the perspectives of Yoon Sae-bom, a member of the Special Operations Unit, and her friend Jung Yi-hyun, a police detective. The plot is centered around the global outbreak of the Lytta Virus, also referred to as the “mad person disease,” a consequence of a failed treatment drug. Those affected by Lytta undergo fleeting episodes of insanity and a bloodthirsty inclination, eventually succumbing to a zombie-like state. The storyline meticulously unravels, illustrating how human greed and selfishness become catalysts for their own downfall. In Happiness, the real horror lies not in the pursuit of zombies but in the exploration of the darker facets of humanity.

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