Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Thank you Chadwick Boseman. You will always be remembered as a positive light in this world. Rest In Peace.
Non-fans of the genre may not know this, but horror movies have been allegories for life, or specific eras in time, just like any other film genres. Frankenstein represented men’s fear of scientific discoveries overshadowing God’s design. Night of The Living Dead was a metaphor for the exploited working class, and the oppressed racial minorities of America. This brings us to the suck that keeps on sucking, 2020, which among other depressing things brought a worldwide pandemic. So it makes sense we would get horror movies that tackle these issues in their own ways.
#Alive tells the story of a young man in South Korea who is forced into self isolation when an unknown pandemic breaks out in his city and the affected have become mindless violent zombies.
Fans of Korean cinema and horror movies alike will instantly want to compare this flick to the stellar Train to Busan. And while they are both zombie movies at their core, that’s where the similarities ended for me. Busan focused heavily on who we are during the worst times in our lives and who we can become. Are we heroes? Villains? Cowards or Fighters? #Alive focuses more on what isolation, loneliness and fear does to us.
In the real world there are still so many people in quarantine and social media has been a lifeline for a lot of them. That medium and our modern technology plays a heavy role in this movie.
The choice of making the lead character a twenty-something young man was perfect as most people in this age range live in a world that is both very connected (internet), and yet very isolated due to most young people feeling more comfortable behind their keyboards and phones than interacting with each other in person. We watch how his happiness deteriorates as he can no longer log on to his favorite online platforms, forcing him to recognise how much he misses his family and how much time he wasted not spending with them.
Now don’t let my breakdown above make you think this is some kind of overly slow and drawn out horror drama. I promise you, the zombies do come out to play and when they attack, it’s an all out thrill ride! I loved the look of these undead monstrosities, which felt like a mix of the classic Romero zombies and the rabies-ridden, adrenaline-fueled rage beasts found in 28 Days Later. There’s also the issue of these zombies being smarter than you average bear, which made from some truly tense moments.
The action comes in spurts but those spurts are very well executed, leading to a finale that had me holding my breath. One thing I’ve always loved with Asian cinema is you never truly have a sense of how things will unfold. That’s always a good thing, especially for people like me who sometimes feel like they’ve seen it all.
So while Alive may not have that extra something that made Train to Busan an instant zombie classic, it gets points for addressing modern issues, delivering on the action and thrills and being a zombie movie that stands a little taller than the hundreds of others out there.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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