Having been directed by four highly dedicated individuals, The Neighbor Zombie is a horror movie with the theme of a zombie virus. The spin is the zombie virus isn’t as immediate as it is in other zombie films and it can take months for the infected to transform completely. The Korean government declares martial law to wipe it out, but people work to protect them by providing shelter and food as they are more than just infected patients – they are friends and family members as well.
As an anthology, it is broken up into chapters: Crack, Run Away, Mother I Love You, The Age of Vaccine, I’m Sorry, and Pain Killer. All six chapters revolve around the outbreak in Seoul and document the progression of the virus and its aftermath. The film was well received by critics, winning two awards at the 2009 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, and has been garnering positive word of mouth from genre fans on the international circuit. I can see why this film got so much critical acclaim, as the film ranges in style from comedy to drama to some serious zombie action. This really is a fun time to be had at the cinema.
The main question this film tries to answer is: If someone in your family becomes one of the undead, how far would you go to feed him while his dearest wish is to eat you? The vast majority of zombie movies these days are highly unoriginal affairs, and the AMC Walking Dead series, although good, didn’t really help the market of oversaturated zombie flicks. This one never tries to take itself too seriously which makes for a more believable outcome in the end. Despite the seriousness of the subject, humor is no stranger in this picture, and neither is blood. The different ideas brought to the table by each creator infuse the project with a certain freshness.
The stories feature some pretty heartfelt moments as well, as one story depicts a young man who was once a zombie, finds discrimination even though he is now cured. And what if, after being cured and returned to your daily life, you were haunted by nightmares depicting your own carnage and the people you frantically devoured? Survival is not as easy as it may seem. Not too many zombie flicks tackle such questions and this film dared to address those subjects. Oh Young Doo, Ryu Hoon, Jang Youn Jung and Hong Young Guen all spent the last few years working in various positions in the Korean industry, before pooling their talents and resources, sharing the many duties across the ambitious production. With a budget of only $17,000 I’d say this was a raging success.