Release year: 2020
Director: Il Cho
Screenwriter: Il Cho, Matt Naylor
Starring: Ah-In Yoo, Shin-Hye Park, Hyun-Wook Lee, Bae-Soo Jeon, Hye-Won Oh, Woon Jong Jeon
With this and Train to Busan (2016) South Korea is quickly taking the throne as the Zombie masters of the world. Like Busan Il Cho’s feature film debut is a combination of truly terrifying zombies, great performances and an intensity magnified by well-developed characters whose outcome you care about. There are so many small details that gives a sense of realism, the greasy hand stains on the door, a messy hallway and the characters behavior; Oh Joon-Wo and Kim Yoo-bin are realistic, complete characters with faults and strength, changing between delighting and annoying you. The cast is limited, if you ignore the inhumane mass of zombies (though the performances of the zombies shouldn’t be ignored, they are masterful!), and for a great part the story relies heavily on the skillful Ah-In Yoo (Burning, 2018) whose gaming crazy teen has a storyline which is pretty much about survival, not just surviving zombies but also hunger and thirst. Just when the one-person limitation could become dull Kim Yoo-bin is introduced, played by Shin-Hye Park (Call, 2020). The two are a good match, alike but different and their interaction creates some sunny moments in the darkness. Exhilarating, intense and effective, #Alive is not quite the quality of Busan, but what a promising start of a hopefully brilliant career for Il Cho!
The script is based on Matt Naylor’s 2019 script Alone co-adapted with director Il Cho. Upcoming horror film Alone is also based on Naylor’s script.