It’s hard to re-imagine or re-think the zombie movie, especially in the times where just about everyone has thought of everything. Director Il Cho’s “#Alive” is basically the sequel that “Train to Busan,” should have been, “#Alive” is such a great mix of “28 Days Later,” “The Night Eats the World,” and “Dawn of the Dead ’04.” While it doesn’t re-invent the wheel it manages to offer a fun, exciting, and creepy movie about the pros and cons of modern technology and the value of human contact.
Ah-In Yoo, previously of the atmospheric drama “Burning,” plays central hero Oh Joon-woo, a young self involved gamer who spends most of his days indoors. When a massive mysterious pandemic breaks out turning victims in to flesh eating, rabid zombies, Oh Joon-woo has to figure out how to survive in his apartment. Struggling to remain sane, things get progressively worse, as resources are shut down, cabin fever and isolation kick in, and his food begins to run out almost instantly.
“#Alive” is a great horror movie, and again, it doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but it provides some fun zombie movie fodder for folks in the mood for some good survival horror. “#Alive” has a generally barebones plot, but manages to convey a lot of information to the audience through the clever advent of technology. So many times rather than stopping the momentum to explain how this particular zombie apocalypse is unfolding, we witness our central hero and in the background as televisions and radios blare. Oh Joon-woo is a simple hero motivated by a small promise he gives his parents during the chaos. Oh Joon-woo has to muster up so much motivation to survive time and time again, and endures endless mental torment including the consistent presence of the rabid zombies lurking outside his doors.
I loved his inability to comprehend most of the events unfolding and how he implements a lot of his video game skills to mine for food and supplies when everything goes from bad to worse. “#Alive” gets gradually bleaker and darker as it unfolds, but leans in to the idea of hope, and our will to live. We’re never quite sure what motivates this character to just keep fighting, and we just know he’s not going to lie down and die. “#Alive” does lose a bit steam in the final twenty minutes with Oh Joon-woo meeting up with character Kim-Yu-bin (Shin-Hye Park is fantastic), leading in to a pretty clumsy twist involving a kind stranger they run in to. That said, “#Alive” is never boring, consistently creepy, and inspires so much more hope than most zombie pictures unleashed on horror fans these days.
Now Streaming on Netflix