If you’ve always wanted to try watching zombie films but often find yourself too scared to dive into the genre, this movie might be a good starting point. #ALIVE showcases the usual zombie plotline: man-eating zombies running after humans. However, although it still has the horror-thriller factor, #ALIVE actually has less suspenseful scenes and minimal gore. If you’re the type who gets easily surprised from jump-scares or if you can’t stomach watching a zombie follow its basic instinct to eat human flesh, but still likes the adrenaline rush that action and mystery zombie films bring; #ALIVE might just be the movie for you.
The Korean film follows the story of Oh Joon Woo (portrayed by Yoo Ah In), a gamer who got stuck alone at home during a zombie apocalypse, and Kim Yoo Bin (portrayed by Park Shin Hye), the girl who lives in a unit in front of Joo Woo’s. The movie revolves around the two as they scavenge their way to survival: Joon Woo tries his best to make use of the little food and water he has left at home and also “hunts” for useful and edible stuff next door, while Yoo Bin protects her self from getting eaten by zombies by setting traps near her front door. It’s like a mix of the reality show “Survivor” and the dark version of the 1990 American film “Home Alone,” but with added zombies.
As for the zombies here, they can either be frightening or just inconvenient to deal with, depending on your perspective. The terror-inducing aspect is how the zombies somehow maintained their human instincts when it comes to basic movements such as opening doors and climbing ropes, and also retained the skills from whatever their jobs are before they turned into zombies. The bright side is, however, is that the zombies here are a lot slower, meaning you can outrun them. When you think about it, a lot of zombie films have used this equation to balance the undead’s abilities. Hence, the more they retain their human-like instincts, the slower they are. (Think “Warm Bodies.”) And the faster they walk, the less likely it is for them to have the ability to think.
All in all, the film mostly focuses on the two lead characters’ attempt to survive more than focusing on getting blood-curdling screams as reactions from the viewers. It showcases the daily lives of the two neighbors as they struggle to make ends meet while hiding from their predators. It’s actually a very casual storyline, if the zombies weren’t chasing after them.
Additionally, #ALIVE makes use of the little space the characters have to tell their story and technology as a means of survival. Lastly, the way the film’s conclusion threads everything in the end helps #ALIVE veer away from the usual zombie movie.