How ‘All Of Us Are Dead’ is different from other zombie content

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2022 03:16 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2022 03:52 PM

High school students face their zombified classmates in the upcoming Korean series ‘All Of Us Are Dead.’ Photo courtesy of Netflix
High school students face their zombified classmates in the upcoming Korean series ‘All Of Us Are Dead.’ Photo courtesy of Netflix

MANILA — In one of the scenes of “All Of Us Are Dead,” Netflix’s latest original Korean series, Yoon Chan-young’s Lee Cheong-san is asked about the chaos ensuing in their school, to which the character replies, “It’s ‘Train to Busan.”

It’s an amusing meta moment, referencing the 2016 box office hit starring Gong Yoo that’s perhaps one of the most popular works from the zombie horror genre in recent years.

“All Of Us Are Dead” is the latest zombie horror offering from cultural juggernaut South Korea, promising a fresh take on the genre through its young characters and setting, director Lee Jae-kyoo said in an online press conference on Wednesday.

“There is a lot of zombie content and [in] most stories, we look at what happens to adults when they encounter a zombie virus. But this ('All Of Us Are Dead') was a little unique. It happens within a very confined space, a school, and to students who are not yet adults,” Lee said.

“I felt that it would be extremely interesting and intriguing to look at the choices that these young adults make. I felt like it could bring a new kind of meaning to the zombie genre,” he said.

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Based on the webtoon “Now At Our School,” “All Of Us Are Dead” follows a group of high school students who struggle to survive after their campus becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak. The series is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on January 28.

Cast member Lim Jae-hyuk noted that even the equipment used by the characters to fend off the infected are different from the guns and weapons usually seen in other zombie media.

“It’s a story that happens within a school so what we have in our hands are school supplies, desks or chairs,” he explained.

The cast includes mostly up-and-coming actors: Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Park Solomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee Yoo-mi, and Lim Jae-hyuk.

(From left to right, top row) Lim Jae-hyuk, Lee Yoo-mi, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Park Solomon, Yoo In-soo, (bottom row) Yoon Chan-young and Director Lee Jae-kyoo at the press conference for ‘All Of Us Are Dead. Photo courtesy of Netflix
(From left to right, top row) Lim Jae-hyuk, Lee Yoo-mi, Park Ji-hu, Cho Yi-hyun, Park Solomon, Yoo In-soo, (bottom row) Yoon Chan-young and Director Lee Jae-kyoo at the press conference for ‘All Of Us Are Dead. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Park Ji-hu is known for her lead role in the critically acclaimed 2018 film “House of Hummingbird,” while Yoon Chan-young has appeared in many TV dramas as a child. 

Cho Yi-hyun has also starred in notable shows like “Hospital Playlist” and “School 2021,” while Lee Yoo-mi played a recurring character in the hit series “Squid Game.”

Director Lee said it was a “totally new” and “fun” experience to work with young and promising actors, having previously worked with big names such as Lee Byung-hun, Hyun Bin and Lee Seung-gi.

'Difficult' training

The cast members went through a three-month training for the action scenes prior to filming the series. Yoo In-soo shared that he and Yoon Chan-young even vomited during one intense session.

“The special training for the three of us (with Park Solomon) was really, really difficult... I couldn’t control myself, I couldn't control my body. So I went to the bathroom and threw up,” Yoo recounted. 

“After that, I could really feel more camaraderie toward my crew,” he said.

The production team tapped over a hundred actors to portray the infected, who were taught zombie movements by choreographers.

Park Ji-hu’s character Nam On-jo faces a zombie in ‘All Of Us Are Dead.’ Photo courtesy of Netflix
Park Ji-hu’s character Nam On-jo faces a zombie in ‘All Of Us Are Dead.’ Photo courtesy of Netflix

Director Lee said an entire day was dedicated to rehearsing the “cafeteria scene” and “library scene.”

“I think that [rehearsal] was important because what I wanted most was a realistic sense to those scenes. I wanted people to feel really immersed,” Lee explained.

But beyond the thrilling zombie-chase scenes, “All Of Us Are Dead” hopes to show its audience that high school issues are not different from the ones that adults face.

“Whatever happens in a school, there are perpetrators, victims. That’s exactly what happens in our society as well. Sometimes due to the selfishness of a particular group, others are victimized and get hurt,” Director Lee said.

“I hope that [through the series] you can ask yourselves, maybe that’s something that I, an adult, am perpetrating as well,” he added.

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