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'#Alive' captures global Netflix audience

“#Alive” by Cho Il-hyung (Lotte Entertainment)
“#Alive” by Cho Il-hyung (Lotte Entertainment)

Korean zombie thriller “#Alive,” by director Cho Il-hyung, continues to be one of the most streamed movies on Netflix in many countries around the globe, currently standing at No. 2 in global Netflix movie rankings worldwide, according to streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.

“#Alive,” starring Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye, is a story about two survivors trapped in an apartment complex during a zombie apocalypse. It was the first movie released since March to sell more than 1 million movie tickets in Korea when it came out in June, temporarily reviving the Korean cinema scene struck by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Released on Netflix on Sept. 8, the movie reached the top spot as the most streamed movie worldwide in just two days, according to Lotte Entertainment, ranking at the top of charts in 35 countries. It is the first Korean movie to place atop the Europe and US Netflix rankings.

Critics and foreign media have pointed out several factors that allowed the movie to succeed on the online platform, including viewers who could empathize with the characters’ predicament, as they themselves were going through similar isolation in their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While #Alive does not take place in a COVID-19 world, its way of featuring a lockdown situation eerily resembles the beginning stages of the global pandemic that began in March of 2020,” said online movie website Screen Rant.
“#Alive” (Lotte Entertainment)
“#Alive” (Lotte Entertainment)

Many critics said the movie was the best zombie flick Netflix had to offer that people had not yet seen.

Another factor that contributed to the global success of “#Alive” is that the film was subtitled in 31 languages, according to critics, allowing more access to people around the world. Most movies are available in less than 20 languages.

Also, there aren’t many characters to keep an eye on, with the story revolving around just the two main characters’ survival, which worked to its advantage.

“Who knew that zombie films could be as inventive and nerve-wracking as this, despite there not being a dozen characters with backstories to care about?” said the Strait Times of Singapore on the movie’s Netflix success.

“For his feature debut, the director Cho Il never takes his foot off the gas pedal: minimal exposition, no back stories, little dialogue, a plot that’s cut to the bone -- this is a fat-free but full-flavored treat,” said the New York Times.

On Monday, “#Alive” held the No. 1 spot on Netflix in Korea, Japan, Spain and Vietnam, among others.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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