Cover Don't miss Netflix's upcoming zombie series, All of Us Are Dead (Photo: Netflix)

Zombies are coming to our screens this January! All of Us Are Dead is the newest K-drama to watch on Netflix. Here, we break down the reasons why you shouldn’t miss the zombie series

Proving its mastery of the zombie genre with hits like Train to Busan and Kingdom, South Korea is trying their hand at another zombie series: All of Us Are Dead—only this time, it’s set in a high school. Same ol’ zombies, different setting and maybe new twists?

Combining the excitement of the zombie genre with survival elements we’ve seen in Squid Game, All of Us Are Dead is already proving to be highly anticipated among the audience. The Korean drama will also kick off Netflix’s Korean content slate for 2022 which has recently announced almost 25 new titles last week.

Ahead of its release on Netflix, we break down all the reasons why you should tune in to All of Us Are Dead.

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1. Zombies are coming to a high school

All of Us Are Dead sees another zombie invasion happening in South Korea but this time, the undead is coming to a high school. The series is based on a popular webtoon, Now at Our School.

It follows a group of high school students who become trapped inside their school when a virus that turns people into a zombie spreads throughout the city. As more and more become infected, the authorities declare a state of emergency, placing the city under lockdown. The students struggle to remain alive—without phones, without food and without the grown-ups to protect them.

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2. A team of rising actors

The cast of All of Us Are Dead are comprised of mostly young and rising actors, given that the series is set in a high school. They are expected to deliver spirited performances which will catapult their careers to new heights.

Leading the survivors is Yoon Chang-young as Chung-san. This role marks Yoon’s transition from child actor to his most top-billed role to date as he is is best known for playing the young versions of lead characters. Park Ji-hoo, best known for her breakout and award-winning role in the 2018 film, House of Hummingbird will be playing On-jo. All of Us Are Dead marks her first leading role on the small screen.

Choi Yi-hun is taking on the role of Nam-ra. Choi is known for her roles in other coming-of-age series like School 2021 and How to Buy a Friend. Actor Park Solomon will be making his return to the small screen as Lee Soo-hyuk after five years. Rounding up the main cast is Yoo In-soo as Yoon Gwi-nam, who has been in a number of dramas including Chocolate, At Eighteen and Life.

Squid Game’s Lee Yoo-mi also stars in a supporting role alongside Bae Hae-sun, Ahn Seung-gyun, Kim Byung-chul, Song Sang-yeon and more.

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3. The crew eyes some new twists

All of Us Are Dead will be helmed by director Lee Jae-kyu who worked on the 2008 drama Beethoven Virus and movies, Intimate Strangers and The Fatal Encounter. This upcoming zombie drama will be his biggest title to date.

Director Lee will be working with the screenwriter and director, Chun Sung-II. Penning the drama, Chun has worked on movies like The Long Way Home and The Pirates, showcasing his knack for action. His claim to fame is The Slave Hunters, an all-time favourite period drama.

Director Lee says that he’s not strictly sticking to the webtoon. The characters are all based on the webtoon but their characteristics have slightly changed. He says, “Different relationships are formed when these diverse characters come together and interact with one another.”

“The origin of the virus, the characters, how these children escape the zombie situation, and what decisions the government makes — these are the elements that differ between the original webtoon and the series,” he adds.

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4. A coming-of-age story in an unlikely setting

All of Us Are Dead is easily described as a zombie drama but beneath the surface, the series is at its core, a coming-of-age story. Compared to other zombie horror hits like Train to Busan (which is namedropped in the series) and Kingdom, All of Us Are Dead follows a relatively younger crew of survivors.

We will see them lose their innocence as they come face to face with the undead, saving themselves and their classmates. They deal with the loss of their friends, they need to sacrifice those who have been bitten and the hidden feelings they need to confess before they potentially die. They also need to make decisions during these life and death situations—how will they act, who will they save and how will they guarantee their own and everyone else’s safety. Will they continue hoping to survive or will they perish in despair?

Against the backdrop of a school, director Lee also put in universal issues such as bullying and teenage pregnancy to highlight the things that happen to teenagers and anyone else in real life.

To make the setting more realistic, the production team constructed a large-scale, four-story school with detailed spaces that include an AV room, music room, a cafeteria, a library and an auditorium. The use of props is also utilised all over these spaces. In fact, a large-scale action scene that happens at the cafeteria involved more than 200 actors and relied on long takes to add a realistic feel to the sequence.

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5. Outsmarting zombies to survive

We’ve seen zombies on a train and in the past, now it’s time to see zombies in high school. Compared to its predecessors, the students don’t necessary have weapons like swords or guns to help them so they need to be creative and resourceful to fight off the zombies.

Some of the more exciting action sequences include using a fire hose as a rope to escape, the door and windows as shields and so on.

“There are a lot of zombie series, but what caught my attention about this was that everything happens in a closed space, a school, with young and immature students,” says director Lee Jae-kyu in choosing to helm the live-action adaptation.

To make the fast-paced, intense zombie movements more realistic, experts choreographed them and the actors had to learn them through special training. The makeup team also put their efforts in designing the zombie makeup to add depth and vivid imagery.

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All of Us Are Dead airs on January 28, 2022, exclusively on Netflix.

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