#Alive (2020) Review

What better film to watch during a global pandemic, than a film about a man avoiding an infectious disease by staying locked in his apartment.  Good Advice!

Certificate: 15

Director: Il Cho

Screenwriter: Il Cho (screenplay), Matt Naylor

Starring: Ah-In Yoo, Shin-Hye Park, Hyun-Wook Lee

Genre: Action, Drama

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

When an unidentifiable disease spreads in a South Korean city, it turns all infected into mindless violent killing machines.  Cannibalistic killing machines.  OK, so they are zombies.  One man, alone in his apartment manages to avoid infection by isolating himself inside and rationing his food and water.  When he is about to run out of hope, a young woman from the apartment complex opposite him signals that she is also alive and together they plan to outlast the rampaging hordes in time to either get rescued or at least, not have to die alone.

No matter how many times they make zombie outbreak movies, they still entertain me.  Even if the stories are always basically the same and the tropes are always the same, and basically EVERYTHING is exactly the same.  But this one hits a little differently right now as a vast majority of people are or have been victims of a pandemic themselves and subject to lockdown restrictions.  So although we may not all be rationing our food and trying to survive with no water or supplies, we can totally imagine what it would be like to be shut in your house, with a disease running rampant outside our doors.  Which definitely ramps up the scare factor.

The vast majority of this film has extraordinarily little dialogue.  And even when our two characters do meet up, they still exchange little in the ay of conversation.  So, the sense of horror and suspense has to be portrayed purely using the actor’s performances and the movies score and cinematography.  And while the actor’s performances especially that of our main character Jun-U.  For the first 45 minutes or so he is completely alone, the whole film rests on his shoulders, and he does a great job.  But I think the film relies to heavily on tropes and scenes that we have seen a hundred times before in zombie films to really be scary.  The spreading disease, the running in small corridors, the crazy man with his wife tied up in the apartment feeding her stragglers, it’s all been seen before.  Nothing in this film will shock or disturb you enough to be scary.  But the idea of a horror movie that largely takes place in one location and focusses on largely one character is an interesting approach to a horror film.

There were a few times where I was wondering how they were going to end the film.  And while I am happy that we got the ending we did; it would have been interesting to see something a bit more inventive.  I am not saying that they should have gone out in a blaze of glory, or followed through with their suicide pact, but something a bit more original then rescued by an ominous military chopper would have been nice.  Or maybe some explanation as to how the virus started or what is was?  It was all left a little ambiguous for my tastes.

Still, lover of a zombie movie will find this film ticks all their boxes. 

‘#Alive’ is available to stream on Netflix now!

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