Some things never go out of fashion. Even on the verge of dying a death like one at the hands (or mouth) of a zombie, the zombie apocalypse genre seems to get a new breath of life (the irony is insane!). This time, all thanks to the new #1 on Netflix– All of Us Are Dead, the second Korean drama after Squid Games to climb the charts. Based on a webtoon, All of Us Are Dead brings another gory zombie outbreak story layered with complex human drama. Instead of the usual (and boring) adults, we have a bunch of interesting school kids at the heart of it who are left stranded when their school becomes ground zero for the outbreak of a mysterious mutating virus.
The series manages to settle many questions by the end, but it’s expected for certain curiosities to arise given the rather hopeful climax. Fret not! We are here to help you with all your zombie-related queries. Head to the help desk where our blood-thirsty executive shall help you get turned. (Just kidding.)
How it all begins?
Things get rolling when an infected rat bites a schoolgirl who was cleaning the science lab at Hyosan High School. I wouldn’t blame the rat. It was the girl poking her finger inside the cute rat’s box. (If I had to spend my day in a box, I would be pretty angry too.) The rat’s original owner is the science teacher who used the rat to test a virus he created to help his son get back on some bullies. He hoped the virus will make his son stronger.
On the contrary, the virus turns him into what movie lovers would call a zombie. Then follows the usual zombie apocalypse story arc. The infected girl bites another girl at school while being taken to the ER. While the first girl creates a zombie horde at the hospital, the second one does her fair share in creating one at the school. With only a handful of students (our protagonists) remaining, starts a survival drama with all the gore and bloody violence of a classic zombie horror combined with an intense microscopic-level dissection of the human character.
Who all did Survive in the End?
For a series titled ‘All of Us Are Dead’, it must be a total bummer that not everybody died. For a zombie apocalypse, it’s obvious that a lot of people will die. The question is: Who all did survive?
After being helped by her firefighter dad in escaping into the mountains, Nam On-jo along with eight others, namely, Lee Cheong-san, Choi Nam-ra, Lee Su-Hyeok, Seo Hyo-ryung, Yang Dae-su, Jan Wu-jin, Jang Ha-ri, and Park Mi-jin are able to run away from the zombies and hide in an under-construction building. Soon Cheong-san proposes a plan to distract the zombies towards the roof while others can escape. However, On-jo who’s still grieving from her father’s loss resists another attempt by anybody to make a sacrifice. She finds support from others.
Meanwhile, Nam-ra uses her super-hearing capabilities, thanks to her newfound halfbie (half-human and half-zombie, as Dae-su, smartly puts it) qualities, to inform the group about the evacuation warning. The school is one of the few spots being bombed by the military to kill all the zombies. (Always a good idea to blow it up when out of solutions.) Before they get a chance to plan a way to get out of the whole bombing situation, Gwi-nam, the former school bully turned halfbie appears to avenge his loss of an eye and kill Cheong-san. The virus surely makes people quite persistent. In a brief tussle, he manages to bite Cheong-san before being pushed down the building (yet again).
Faced by the eventuality of being turned into a zombie, Cheong-san asks everybody to escape while he distracts his soon-to-be brain-eating buds. Everybody manages to escape into the forest. Gwi-nam manages to get into another fight with Cheong-san. As the Hyosan High School is seen being bombed, we witness Cheong-san and Gwi-nam fall once again down an elevator shaft as the flames of the fire wrap them up, while others have managed to reach a safe distance.
With little more help from On-jo’s father, the surviving group manages to reach the neighbouring city of Yangdong.
During their brief visit to the city, Wu-jin, brother of archer Ha-ri, is also seen being swiftly killed off by Nam-ra as he tries to attack his sister after being infected. As they set out again to find safety, Nam-ra finds her zombie-half overtaking her human instincts. She decides to separate ways from the group. Following a quick encounter in which Nam-ra nearly bites On-ja in front of Su-hyeok, she finally loses the tail and disappears into the unknown. On-ja and Su-hyeok along with Dae-su, Ha-ri, Mi-jin, and Hyo-ryung are then seen encountering some soldiers and finally making it to the quarantine camp.
Fast-forward four months and the survivors are seen managing their lives in the quarantine camp in their own ways. One night, we see On-ja climbing the wall and jumping out of the camp premises to go to a small memorial she has built in the memory of her lost friends. On her brief outing, from the height, she notices a fire burning on the rooftop of her school. Being reminded of Nam-ra’s wish to sit around a campfire with her friends again makes On-ja believe that Nam-ra is still alive. She shares her thought with Su-hyeok and her plan to go to the roof of Hyosan High School. She tells him not to tell others but what’s the fun in going out to a possibly zombie-infested terrain without everyone. So, everybody joins On-ja and Su-hyeok on this little night adventure. In the final scene, on reaching the roof of the school, they find Nam-ra, visibly improved than before, greeting them.
So, we are left with seven survivors- On-ja, Su-hyeok, Nam-ra, Dae-su, Ha-ri, Hyo-ryung, and Mi-jin. The way the fire engulfed Cheong-san and the way in which the name-tag given by On-ja is seen lying in ashes down the elevator shaft, should be enough evidence to say that Cheong-san is dead for now. But the pressures of making a second season return could make any miracle happen.
The Final Scene
On the rooftop scene, On-ja requests Nam-ra to return with them to the camp. Nam-ra refuses the offer by stating that she is not completely a zombie, but she’s not a human either. She tells them that there are more people like her, halfbies, who have not been turned into zombies completely and she must help them. On hearing her halfbie friends approach, she jumps off the roof (that too, in style) to everybody’s amusement. Yes, jumping off from heights doesn’t kill the halfbies as evident from Gwi-nam’s multiple death falls. In the final moments of season 1, we witness our bunch of survivors presenting an assortment of expressions as they look in the direction where Nam-ra’s headed.
More survivors? Possible. Familiar faces? Possible too.
The final scene reveals the existence of more people like Nam-ra and this revelation changes the situation at hand for all parties involved, especially the government.
All Of Us Are Dead Season 2 Setup
Nam-ra has already floated the idea of more people like her surviving who while having the strength and capabilities of the zombies retain some of their human instincts. These people with the brain of a human and the strength of a zombie could prove to be more fatal than the regular zombies as seen in the case of Gwi-nam. It will also be futile to expect everyone to share the same feeling as Nam-ra when blessed with inhuman power. Quoting Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
And experience says that responsibility can be a tricky thing in a zombie horror. There’s also, the possibility of more zombies surviving in other pockets of the city. Also, we see the scientist’s son and mother, the original zombies, being taken away by the authorities quite suspiciously. The virus itself is explicitly stated to be one of a mutating nature. It has the potential to give birth to newer and stranger varieties of zombies. (Yay! More zombies!)
The Movie Culture Synopsis
Is a season 2 incoming?
It will be interesting to see which direction season 2 of All of Us Are Dead will take with its engrossing action and engaging drama. Waiting for an official announcement will be the best thing to do right now, but the setup is pretty well laid out for a future season with more zombies, more interesting characters, and possible reunions.