Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: #Alive

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Copyright: Netflix

I don’t think any of us are feeling #Alive as of late. Confined to our homes, shuffling around with no real purpose, it’s fascinating that we’re managing to function at all. I heated up some soup today, the crowning achievement of my week so far, and I doubt that’ll be toppled by anything else for the next month. Still, my mild achievement of working the microwave is far more impressive and praise-worthy than this horridly poor horror from the Neanderthals at Netflix. #Alive, the debut feature of director Il Cho, showcases a man trapped inside his apartment during a virus-ridden world. Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? The similarities begin and end with inane levels of boredom. 

Much of the pacing feels very out of place. Oh Joon-Woo (Yoo Ah-in) sees the catastrophe of a zombie apocalypse unfold before his eyes in the very first moments of the film, but then refuses to admit his neighbours help, and needs help from outside sources in explaining the real horrors of his situation. We rattle through all the expected tropes of the genre within twenty minutes, and there’s nothing Cho can offer on a directing level that feels either innovative or interesting. It’s all the things wrong and boring with the genre, steamrolling what little interest #Alive has to offer. A layabout loser that’s hard to connect to gets his just desserts as he eats his way through his supplies, falls victim to not owning wired headsets, and drunkenly dances his way through more than a fortnight of poorly adjusted survival. It’s a miracle the idiot doesn’t fall off of his balcony. 

Uneventful action sequences soon follow, and the opening minutes show just about everything you’re in store for. Underwhelming horror, boring characters, and a flimsy, overdone premise that looks to combine the isolated manners of a man fighting for survival and bland, laughably poor dialogue. There are brief points of interest, though, most of which being how social media could help us in the impending zombie apocalypse. It’s amazing to think that Joon-Woo spends most of his early days of survival playing Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and flicking through Instagram. To his credit, I’d most likely do the same.  

Right place, right time, but the wrong sort of message to send. Also, it’s a painfully dull watch, so maybe the poor message isn’t the most pressing issue here. There’s not a single interaction throughout #Alive that feels able enough to capitalise on the unprecedented, rather obvious ties it has to the real world. There may not be flesh-eating zombies out on the streets, but there are certainly a swathe of parasites ready to knock you over with a trolley for the last roll of toilet paper. #Alive is a mostly bland, predictable feature that doesn’t quite manage to coax a good performance from its leading man. A forgettable debut from a genre completely overrun with poor quality, throw this onto that pile and forget all about it.