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Korean zombies will make you feel ‘#Alive’

Park Shin-hye and Yoo Ah-in poses for picture during the premiere event of
Park Shin-hye and Yoo Ah-in poses for picture during the premiere event of "#Alive" held in Seoul on Monday. (Lotte Cinemaworks)

While most zombie genres take up half the time explaining about the behavioral patterns of the walking dead and the protagonists trying to find the source of the disease and cure, “#Alive” wastes no time in any such elements and jumps straight into survival itself.

“I hope the audience can just revel in it. Rather than trying to get a message from the story, I wish they’d get a strong feeling of ‘being alive,’ the value and feeling of gratitude in just being here, alive, right now,” the film’s lead cast Yoo Ah-in said during a preview press conference held in Seoul on Monday.

Another lead actor Park Shin-hye was also present but director Cho Il-hyung joined the event through live video chat as he was quarantined in the US due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the 2019 US horror movie “Alone,” the writer of the original film Matt Naylor and director Cho teamed up to adapt the movie to a Korean setting.

“When I first read the original movie’s scenario, it was just a genre film of people locked up in a confined space. In remaking the movie, I stressed on the adaptation of the emotional aspect, more than the cultural, technical or locational elements,” Kim said during the live video chat.

“#Alive” takes place inside an apartment complex as an unexplainable disease spreads, turning infected people into zombie-like creatures. The film follows Jun-woo, a YouTuber and gamer who is apt with using high-tech devices, played by Yoo Ah-in. Unlike Jun-woo, who flies drones to check the outside situation and posts videos and pictures of himself on the social media, Yu-bin, played by Park Shin-hye stays low inside her house, away from the outside world, only using her hiking tools, such as hatchets and ropes to fight against zombies trying to invade her house. 


Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye speak during the press conference on
Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye speak during the press conference on "#Alive" held in Seoul on Monday. (Lotte Entertainment)

“The Korean apartment used in the film is a closed space but it can be considered open. The corridors and rooftop can be considered as an outside space, and there is also a huge parking lot in the middle of the complex. Although the film takes place in a single location, we thought we could make the film more dynamic using such diverse elements,” director Cho said.

The seemingly clumsy yet friendly personality of Jun-woo, balanced out by Yu-bin’s calm yet strong character may be what pulls the story through the chaotic journey for survival.

According to the actress, unlike most of her previous roles of a hopeful and energetic character, Yu-bin is a person who conforms to her given situation and does not try to escape from it. It is Jun-woo who brings Yu-bin out from the boundary she had set around herself and gives her hope.

“With this film, I had the chance to express diverse things as an actor. Although it was a strong genre film, it also dealt with the very instinctive feeling of wanting to survive. Even if we were not in a situation as extreme as in the film, we all struggle for our lives and would do anything to survie, and I felt the joy of depicting such a feeling,” Yoo said.

“The film speaks about survival, isolation, escape and freedom, and I believe that, watching the film, we will inevitable link the story to the current (COVID-19) situation we are in. I hope the audience can also take home a positive power from the film,” the actor said.

The film will open in local theaters on June 24.



By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)
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