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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, February 16, 2024

Gangnam Zombie (2023)

The movie opens with a man and woman, who we later find out are Hyeon-seok and Min-jeong, fighting a running battle with some zombies. He tosses her into a car before kicking some zombie ass. Though it doesn’t take long for him to be overwhelmed so it doesn’t seem to end well. The action then jumps back twenty four hours. Here we see that the outbreak starts when some criminals are breaking into a shipping container to steal some jewelry. There is a cat that scratches one of them and he turns. So, I guess it was a zombie cat?

Here we meet Hyeon-seok and Min-jeong as they both work for the same YouTube company. Is that a thing? Basically, they make prank videos, although not well since the boss hasn’t paid them or the rent in a while. We also meet the landlord who is obsessed with her building. So much so when the zombies attack, she has security lock the building down and refuses to allow anyone to call the police. You know because it will hurt the property values and stuff… The rest of the movie are the zombies killing folks until we catch up to the opening scene. After that the zombies kill folks until the survivors make their escape. That is pretty much all we got.

This is clearly a very low budget Korean zombie movie. The filmmakers do a few things correctly. They hired actors that can deliver dialogue and our leads have some chemistry. They also understand that they don’t have a large budget so other than a few scenes at the beginning the majority of the movie takes place in a single office building which I’m assuming they had during off hours. They kept the zombie makeup basic with black or bloodshot eyes with a bit of blood around the mouth. These are all good things.

Though the lack of a memorable kill or two is a hindrance. Despite a lot of people being attacked all of the bits are offscreen and what we do see is the zombie or zombies looking up with blood coming out of their mouth. When I sit down to watch a zombie movie I’m expecting some gore and here we get nothing much in that area. But the biggest issue that I have with Gangnam Zombie is the dreadful pacing. This movie is only an hour and twenty minutes long. Other than the one brief post cat zombie attack nothing much happens for over half an hour. Well, I mean we get some drama about Hyeon-seok having a thing for his co-worker Min-jeong which seems unrequited. We also find out that it is hard for a woman to work in their field as there is some inappropriate touching of her by the boss. There is even a bit of class warfare in the way that the lady landlord treats the “poor” people. All of this is set to a Christmas background that feels right out of a Hallmark movie… a bad one.

Notice what is missing? Zombies! I signed up to watch a zombie movie not some lame ass Korean drama about modern society and the challenges of those living in it! Now you might be saying “well at least things get better when the zombies attack” and you wouldn’t be totally wrong. But between scenes of Hyeon-seok karate kicking the crap out of the shuffling dead we get periods where the characters talk to each other. These “getting to know you” bits of dialogue slam the brakes on what was already not a fast paced zombie story. This seems like a movie that decided to shoot itself in the foot whenever the chance to do something entertaining came up.

Throw in the inexplicably odd plastic vampire teeth on the zombies (think Sprit Halloween level costume here my friends) and the non-ending conclusion to the story where they escape the building full of zombies and leave the giant garage door behind them dooming the city to the fate they narrowly escaped and you have a movie that made me feel like I wasted my time. I don’t recommend that you also waste your time on this one.


© Copyright 2024 John Shatzer

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