REVIEW: All of Us Are Dead

Last Updated on April 4, 2022

Korean zombie series All of Us Are Dead is yet another example of brilliant television from South Korea. The 12 episodes follow a group of high school students in Hyosan as they fight to survive in a city overwhelmed by zombies.

All of Us Are Dead doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel. A mysterious science teacher in the school experiments on a rat that bites one of the students and from there, the virus spreads first throughout the school and then throughout the city. The students in the series aren’t oblivious to what is happening. They are aware of zombies and even mention the brilliant Train to Busan. The series works best when it focuses on the relationships between the large cast of characters, something which has been seen from Dawn of the Dead to The Walking Dead. The fast-moving zombies wreak havoc in the school and the grief and despair thrust upon the students draws some together and others apart. The relationship between Cheong-san and On-ra – two long-term friends who have secret feelings for each other – anchors the show. We see how much they care about each other as they struggle through the outbreak and support each other through devastating times. The adults are not forgotten; Cheong-San’s mother fights a desperate battle to get from her restaurant to the school and save her son as the military discuss drastic measures to control the outbreak. Students from different social circles are forced to band together and this creates more friction and more problems for some but also forces some characters together in an effort to see their
similarities instead of their differences. The students’ personalities are all fleshed out well over the course of the series with interesting bonds developing including former bully Su-hyeok and his attraction for Nam-ra – the class president with a perfect record. All of Us Are Dead focuses on these relationships so that when the inevitable virus spreads, the loss is felt that much more.

All of Us Are Dead is refreshing in that it links the effect of the virus to a person’s cruelty and will to survive. Bullies such as Gwi-nam survive death multiple times through their sheer will to be cruel whilst others keep a semblance of their humanity to save those they love. It’s an interesting spin on a genre that we all know so well and adds an extra layer to the series. The series shines a lot on the choices that humans make in times of great distress. There are difficult decisions being made throughout the series and it is tough to separate the show from the recent pandemic. Those in power are given options and know that whichever ones they choose, many people will die. Survivor’s guilt becomes a huge point in the series because of this and it is one that All of Us Are Dead handles better than many shows and it has you feeling sympathy for characters who perhaps made choices that you wouldn’t have agreed with.

All of Us Are Dead is a thrilling zombie series full of brutal and violent scenes involving characters who are all so human. Whilst not hitting the heights of the amazing Squid Game, the series is still an excellent piece of television that fans of the zombie genre will devour like the tastiest of brains. Here’s to hoping that there’s a second season!

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.

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