By Dave B.
In All of Us Are Dead (Netflix), a group of high school students attempting to escape their school and find safety during a zombie outbreak. This is made more difficult by the fact that the school is ground zero for the infection. Interpersonal strife, an unquenchable thirst for revenge, and a constantly mutating virus further make survival nearly impossible.
All of Us Are Dead bears more than a passing resemblance to the cult anime classic “High School of The Dead” (minus the gratuitous nudity). However, instead of ubiquitous thrills, All of Us Are Dead seeks to be a character-driven story about how our foibles often lead to our own destruction, both as individuals and as a society. Frankly, not everything about this show works. For starters it’s definitely a couple of episodes too long. It also has a tendency to be too predictable at times.
Good zombie shows and movies tend to fall into one of two camps: either the use the zombie apocalypse to make a statement about the flaws in society or they are brimming with non-stop, pulse pounding action. Great zombie shows and movies successfully do both. So perhaps the most annoying thing about All of Us Are Dead, is that the series almost completely abandons it’s larger narrative about society about halfway through the season.
But what it replaces it with is better: a truly compelling, character-driven story that will almost immediately suck viewers in. From the first episode until the last, I cared about what happened to this group of kids. They felt “real” and that feeling was reinforced by some solid acting performances and a very good dub. And I don’t mean to imply that there isn’t plenty of action in All of Us Are Dead, because there is. The show does an excellent job of ramping up and dialing down tension in a way that keeps audiences engaged without overwhelming them. Rather, my point is that action, thrills, scares, and whatnot aren’t the focus of the show. They’re devices competently used to show how people respond to intense, life-threatening situations.
It's pretty clear that I enjoyed All of Us Are Dead and I certainly recommend it to fans of the zombie apocalypse genre. The question that I find myself asking is how does the show stack up within the genre. And the answer is: pretty well. It certainly isn’t as good (nor as entertaining as) season one of “Kingdom”. And it’s completely lacking the psychological horror aspects of “The Night Eats the World”. It most certainly lacks the scathing social commentary of “Dead Set”. But it’s highly entertaining, often gripping, and very likeable. That puts it firmly near the top of the second-tier of quality zombie shows that I have reviewed. If you give All of Us Are Dead a chance, I think that you will end up pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy the ride.
Approx. Episode Length: 60 Minutes
Language: Korean (English Dub)
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.