‘Kingdom’ is the zombie K-drama we didn’t know we needed

‘Kingdom’ is the zombie K-drama we didn’t know we needed

This show does a lot of interesting things with the zombie apocalypse genre.

A historical period K-drama mixed with a zombie apocalypse may seem like a weird pitch, but in Kingdom, it all makes sense. The premise is already intriguing — you’re taken to Korea’s Joseon period, overcome by corruption and famine, and overrun by a plague that turns affected individuals into flesh-eating monsters. Add to that a well-intentioned crown prince being framed for treason, as politics is just as important to the story as the zombies are.

Directed by Kim Seong-hun (The Tunnel) and written by Kim Eun-hee (who authored the webcomic series The Kingdom of the Gods, which the show is based on), Kingdom distinguishes itself beautifully from the typical zombie apocalypse flick. The crown prince is played by Ju Ji-hoon, (Princess Hours, The Devil) and is on a mission to not only save his people but to take the crown that is rightfully his. We see him battling the undead, but we also witness him face the difficulties of being thrown out of his privileged upbringing and into the harsh realities of his country’s struggles. Kingdom also stars Bae Doo-na, Ryu Seung-ryong, Kim Sang-ho, and Heo Joon-ho, and while the story’s treatment of women may be a little archaic, it’s still entertaining to see characters interact with each other.

The zombie apocalypse genre is something we’re all accustomed to, but it’s still refreshing to see a new take that challenges the status quo. We’re treated to an elaborate production with a detailed taste for design and an engaging storyline that captures inequalities still rampant today. The zombies aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill savages, they somehow “sleep” during the day and only come out at night. They are also treated like an obstacle that needs to be solved, rather than being the central theme of the story, creating interesting plot twists here and there.

Kingdom is also particularly visual — elaborate scenes of violence are depicted with every killing, but rest assured that these scenes are exquisitely shot, so they’re still captivating. Expect shots of the scenery too, where Korea’s palaces and grasslands are highlighted to look gorgeous at every turn.

With its visuals and compelling storyline, Kingdom proves to be a must-see — not only to zombie film enthusiasts or K-Drama fans, but to anyone who’s in it for a worthy six-hour binge-fest of fun.


Rating: A-


Kingdom is now streaming on Netflix.

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