It’s only been a few weeks since the release of the hotly anticipated Train to Busan follow-up Peninsula, a film that we sadly found to be a rote, ugly sequel to one of the best zombie movies in recent memory. Thankfully, another South Korean zombie flick is hitting American shores with the aims of washing that bad taste out of our mouths. #Alive is an unrelated feature directed by Cho Il-hyung, which hit South Korean cinemas in advance of Peninsula and proved to be a considerable success even with COVID-19 restrictions. To date, it’s done almost 2 million admissions in South Korea alone, and on Sept. 8 the film will hit Netflix internationally. A first trailer has also arrived, which you can see below.
#Alone follows a character named Oh Joon-woo (Yoo Ah-in), a cloistered gamer in an urban setting who witnesses a rapid outbreak of the living dead from the seeming safety of his high-rise apartment building. As zombies swam the streets, Oh Joon-woo must decide whether to hole up or attempt to flee as his apartment is surrounded on all sides, finding a new reason to survive in the process.
If that premise seems particularly familiar to those who read Max Brooks’ classic piece of zombie fiction, World War Z, you’re by no means the first to make the connection. Indeed, it’s very similar to one of the stories of survival presented in that book, in which a Japanese gamer/otaku is so deeply immersed in his online life that he fails to notice the zombie apocalypse happening all around him. That character ultimately must unplug from his safe online space and confront the real dangers around the corner, and we’d expect to see similar in #Alive, which ironically might be considered a more faithful adaptation of Brooks’ book (or one part of it, anyway) than the actual World War Z movie.
The urban setting does seem like good fodder for a zombie survival story, with a similar tale having been told in the underrated 2010 German zombie film Rammbock: Berlin Undead. At the very least, let’s hope that #Alive contains more of a spark of originality than Peninsula proved to possess. Check out the first trailer—in the form of a single, uninterrupted scene—below. #Alive hits Netflix on Sept. 8.