Gangnam Zombie Blu-ray Review


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Lee Soo-sung
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Ji Il-Ju, Park Ji-Yeon, Cho Kyung-Hoon
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 21 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ September 26, 2023


             It has long been my belief that a great deal can be known about a society at any given time by the horror films being released. Sometimes the social issues are addressed allegorically, while other times they are explicitly included in the narrative. Given the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it seemed inevitable that contagion narratives like those found in the zombie sub-genre would be utilized to address these fears. The South Korean horror film Gangnam Zombie makes these parallels even clearer by setting the story in the middle of the pandemic, before including the threat of the undead.


            While the world is dealing with the threat of Covid, a pair of thieves accidentally unleash a zombie outbreak after being infected by a cat. This threat slowly makes its way throughout Seoul before a group of the infected find their way into an office building where a handful of employees are trapped. Hyeon-seok (Ji Il-joo) is a former taekwondo champion who is working at a small online streaming firm in a Gangnam office building when the zombie threat is revealed. Hyeon-seok works to protect his co-worker Min-jeong (Park Ji-yeon), who he has a crush on, while their boss (Min Choi) attempts to capitalize on the situation to help his failing business.


            Single-location zombie films are extremely common, partially because of the victims’ tendency to hole up and hide from the threat. This makes the sub-genre ideal for Covid allegories, and also accommodates budgetary constraints. With Gangnam Zombie, even this single location is not enough to stretch the budget and it doesn’t take long for the seams of filmmaking to show strain. The zombies are not especially frightening and the action is less than believable, but none of this is as painful to endure as the stilted dialogue and goofy performances. Sadly, the greatest value in Gangnam Zombie is the unintentional humor resulting from the poor filmmaking.


            The Blu-ray release of Gangnam Zombie offers no additional reasons for purchase beyond the film itself. The special features are nonexistent and the high-definition presentation only enhances the shortcomings in filmmaking.


    Entertainment Value: 4/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 3.5/10

    Historical Significance:  5/10

    Special Features: 0/10

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