ZOMBIEVERSE on Netflix is a new reality show from South Korea. It’s wild and wacky – even too much for my taste. There are eight episodes in the season. Each is around one hour in runtime. For me, it was too unclear what was going on. Read our Zombieverse series review here!
ZOMBIEVERSE is a new Netflix series that is called simply “unscripted” but also listed as “reality” and “game show”. And yes, it is all three, but it’s also quite tricky to catch on at first. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how contestants show up for a dating show when suddenly a young woman bites a young man.
Seeing the look on the faces of the would-be Zombieverse contestants was brilliant. Also, as a fan of zombie movies and series in general, I definitely like the idea of making a reality game show with zombies. And yet, it just never really got under my skin. For moments, sure, but it could also drag on forever.
Continue reading our Zombieverse series review below. Find all eight episodes on Netflix from August 8, 2023.
A mix of horror, suspense, and humor
You’ll need to be very focused to know what the hell is going on in Zombieverse. Also, I have no doubt it’s much easier to keep up if you can understand both written and spoken Korean. The information given in episode 1, just before everything begins, is shown so briefly, it made my head spin.
Crucial information is a “blink and you’ll miss it”-moment, so be ready to hit pause if you want to catch everything.
As the title indicates, Zombieverse is set amidst a zombie apocalypse in Seoul. Obviously, having an unscripted series in such a setting results in plenty of horror and suspense. However, it also leads to quite a bit of humor. People trying to get out of doing things or pointing out obvious issues is fun to watch.
Plus, it helps you care about the Zombieverse contestants.
Unscripted but with actors
Zombieverse is described as having a “10-member cast” and being a “reality survival show”. However, what to make of the word “cast” as opposed to “contestants” was unclear from beginning to end.
What isn’t as unclear is that they need to complete (as in survive) several “adventurous quests” over the course of three days. The goal is to escape Seoul and get on a boat out of the zombie-ridden city.
What makes this show tricky is that it is also described as “A group of unwitting contestants gather to take part in a reality dating show” which is how it starts alright. But these “unwitting contestants” are also “cast members” and thrown into crazy things.
Again, I loved this opening, but a lot more information would’ve been good. They could easily have gone for a slower pace in the beginning instead of having quests that go on forever later.
Also, you’ll see actors such as Lee Si-young which (again) blurs the lines between the whole unscripted reality versus an actual production. You may recognize Lee Si-young from the Netflix genre series Sweet Home. That series has season 2 coming out later this year.
In Zombieverse, she’s a contestant… but that just also seemed weird to me. Maybe I’m just jaded like that.
Watch Zombieverse Netflix now!
Should you watch Zombieverse? Well, if you like reality shows and zombies, then you should definitely give it a shot. For me, this was at its best when the humorous responses from contestants came across. Their blunt reactions to a very bizarre predicament were the only thing that felt real and unscripted.
Also, the whole setting (which is on a huge scale) is impressive to watch. The creators of the entire setup come from the art team of the Netflix zombie series All of Us Are Dead and the choreographer behind the amazing action scenes of the Netflix zombie period piece mega hit Kingdom.
I must admit I have no idea what to expect from the upcoming Squid Game reality game show now. Not that I did before, but I certainly hope it’s more focused than this zombie reality game show hybrid with actors being both contestants and portraying characters somehow.
Then again, the Squid Game game show is based on something that was already a “survival game”, so a reality version is a relatively easy adaption. Or so I would imagine. That particular reality show is coming to Netflix in November and will be titled Squid Game: The Challenge. Also, it will have the largest cash prize in reality television history, so it’ll probably be wild!
Zombieverse premieres on Netflix on August 8, 2023.
Directors: Park Jin-kyung, Moon Sang-don
Writer: Yoo Jin-young
Cast: Lee Si-young, Ro Hong-chul, Park Na-rae, DinDin, Tsuki, Yoo Hee-kwan, Yiombi Jonathan, Yiombi Patricia, Kkwachu Hyung (Hong Seong-woo), Dex
In Seoul, where a zombie virus outbreak has run amok, who will outwit the undead in the face of challenging quests and come out alive?