In Netflix’s latest hit Korean series, All Of Us Are Dead imagines what a group of Gen Z high school students would do in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
If you’ve been scrolling through social media these past few days, then you may have come across one, two, or several posts about Netflix’s hit Korean drama and horror series, All Of Us Are Dead. Based on the popular webtoon by Joo Dong-geun called Now At Our School, All Of Us Are Dead follows a group of high school students in the fictional Hyosan High as they fight for their survival as the deadly virus turning people into zombies spreads across school and the city.
It’s premise made for a must-watch show, because soon after its premiere on January 28, the show topped the Netflix charts of 91 countries, including the Philippines. Additionally, according to Netflix, the YA zombie series racked up 124.79 million hours viewed within it’s first three days. For reference, Squid Game racked up 63.19 million viewed hours between Sept 13-19 while Hellbound got 43.48 million viewed hours between Nov 15-21. So yeah, it’s safe to say All Of Us Are Dead is a hit. While by no means a perfect show, the series has attracted many fans and viewers thanks to its tension-filled action, skin-crawling and bone-crunching zombie violence, timely plot, and characters (and actors) to love and love to hate.
But what also helps the show stand out is that it manly revolves around what a group of Gen Z students would do when in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Most zombie shows and movies usually focus on the adults trying to survive. But here, it centers on high school students who can only rely only on themselves when most of the adults abandon them. All Of Us Are Dead is a coming-of-age tale that references the youth of today (both the comical and the serious), and how those intertwine with the crisis they are faced with. Here are some moments when the show depicted and channeled the Gen Z life (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD).
THE JEALOUSY BETWEEN THE MAIN CHARACTERS
One of the central plot lines of the story is the relationship between Cheong-san and On-jo, as well as Nam-ra and Su-hyeok. While these get settled by the latter half of the season, in the show’s start, these relationships are in flux, particularly the love triangle between the characters. You would think when you are struggling to survive getting eaten by a zombie, you would put petty feelings of love aside. But here, you can see in the early episodes the struggle On-jo had when it came to her feelings for the both of them, especially when Su-hyeok got closer to Nam-ra. But TBH, we don’t blame her though.
TRYING TO UNLOCK THE CELLPHONE
During the initial outbreak, as some of the students hid in the classroom, they searched the room desperate to find a cellphone. They did manage to find one, but the owner of the phone wasn’t in the room. They then saw that she got turned into a zombie and was by the window of the room. Cheong-san then takes the phone and brings it to her face with the hopes that the Face ID works. On-jo then says that you don’t need to unlock to phone to make emergency calls. It was a scene that was honestly so dumb, but hilarious at the same time. The novelty of trying to get the “zombified” owner to unlock her phone made for one of the show’s funniest moments.
THE STRESS OF GETTING INTO COLLEGE
School and studies were themes seen a few times in All Of Us Are Dead. From Nam-ra and her laser-eyed focus on school to On-jo struggling to get good grades, they represented students we most likely have met in school before. But one of the most memorable moments was senior Mi-jin and her anxieties about going to college. By the series end, Mi-jin constantly complained that she couldn’t be able to go to college because of what happened. She even wore a sign in the quarantine camp asking for reparations for senior high school students affected by the zombie outbreak. Even in the middle of a hellish situation like the ones they went through, Mi-jin still knows her priorities.
OPENING UP TO CRUSHES
Admitting your feelings to someone isn’t easy, more so during a zombie outbreak. And when you do, it can make for some awkward moments. That can be seen a few times during the show such as the heartfelt campfire scene when the main group was stuck on the roof of the building. One by one, they opened up their feelings to each other. And that was when Cheong-san let it be known that he liked On-jo as more than just a friend, which led to a bit of tension between the two. This scene was also when Dae-su admitted that he liked Wu-jin’s older sister, Ha-ri. And Wu-jin reacted in the same way many would when your best friend tells you that they like your sister. No matter what’s going on in the world, love will always be a complicated thing.
TEASING EACH OTHER
While All Of Us Are Dead has two love teams, let’s talk about the bromance between Cheong-san and Su-hyeok. We were here for their friendship and how they became the unofficial leaders of the group. That scene where they climbed down to the broadcasting room, IYKYK. And we also liked how Su-hyeok would tease Cheong-san about his feelings towards On-jo. Like any best friend, Su-hyeok would poke around how Cheong-san felt toward On-jo, which made for some lighthearted moments between the two.
DEALING WITH THE PRESSURE TO MEET EXPECTATIONS
It’s a struggle many generations, especially the Gen Z can relate to. The pressure that is put on you by your parents or other external and internal factors to do well in life and live up to certain expectations. Moments like these can do more harm than good and that can be most acutely seen with Ha-ri. As an archery prodigy, Ha-ri was expected to also do well in the sport and make it onto the national Olympic team. But it is revealed that she did not do well in the competition and therefore didn’t make the cut. She was made to feel like she was a failure even though that wasn’t true. But the series proved that she was more than dead weight thanks to her level-headed attitude and badass archery skills.