Netflix's upcoming 'Kingdom' brings a unique aesthetic twist to the zombie genre

The portrayal of zombies is so refreshing that it becomes pretty much aesthetically pleasing to witness the undead unleashing their horrors upon the living.


                            Netflix's upcoming 'Kingdom' brings a unique aesthetic twist to the zombie genre

If there has been one distinct genre that has become exceedingly popular especially on streaming networks, it is South Korean thrillers. And after Netflix's own 'Okja' from Bong Joon-ho managed to leave people speechless and earn rave reviews worldwide, the streaming giant has once again managed to recreate yet another South Korean horror, collaborating with 'The Tunnel' and 'A Hard Day' director Kim Seong-hun. Titled 'Kingdom', the story comes with a gripping plot, political conspiracies, and the best part - zombies. But here's the catch - the portrayal of zombies is quite unique in the upcoming show, in the sense that it is pretty much aesthetically pleasing to witness the undead unleashing their horrors upon the living.

This fresh spin in the portrayal of zombies releases on Netflix on January 25, and one look at the official trailer which dropped just a little over a week ago will confirm that 'Kingdom' is about to bless us with dead people coming back to life, in a manner never seen before. As the plot synopsis reads: "In a kingdom defeated by corruption and famine, a mysterious rumor of the king’s death spreads, as does a strange plague that renders the infected immune to death and hungry for flesh. The crown prince, fallen victim to a conspiracy, sets out on a journey to unveil the evil scheme and save his people."

 

The story is set in South Korea's medieval era, which is also known as the Joseon period, and comes from writer Kim Eun-hee, on whose webcomic 'Land of the Gods' the story is also loosely based. Eun-hee also holds credits for writing some of the finest Korean dramas, especially the critically acclaimed show 'Signal'. In charge of directorial duties for the first season specifically is Seong-hun whose another masterpiece, 'The Tunnel,' was an adrenaline-charged Korean drama inspired by the Hwaseong serial murders.

But we're talking zombies that are about to leave us shaken and stirred come January 2019, so here's the big deal about those horrifying, gory, undead people in Seong-hun's upcoming show. To begin with, 'Kingdom's take on zombies is quite different from the stereotypical reanimated dead genre, where the creatures seem almost robotic, accompanied by blood stains and the typical struggling with movement. But in Seong-hun's world, zombies have a style - a certain signature panache if you will. They aren't the scatterbrained, brain-hungry supernatural creatures dragging their feet along to quench their bloodthirst. In 'Kingdom,' the zombies have an order and a certain manner of going about things. 

Take the trailer itself for example. It shows a particular scene from the upcoming show where these zombies - who have risen from dead bodies being dumped and incubated in the palatial lake - accumulate in the form of a mountain of corpses for the simple purpose of feeding. True, the scene is almost spine-chilling, with the undead gathered around a woman, as they eat her alive, but there's a certain essence of symmetry and balance about the whole thing, which only fuels the vibe of an underlying political conspiracy further.

Zombies forming a mountain around a woman and eating her alive in the trailer of Netflix's Kingdom. Source: Youtube
Zombies forming a mountain around a woman and eating her alive in the trailer of Netflix's Kingdom. Source: Youtube

The trailer also shows soldiers taking on an incoming horde of these zombies, who have been purposely brought back from the dead for sinister agendas, but the scene is all about the calculated, largely organized undead being attacked using bows and arrows of all things. So far we have known that the one-shot way to exterminate zombies is a gunshot to the brain, thanks to countless dead-genre flicks that modern entertainment abounds in. But in 'Kingdom,' there's almost a wholesome aesthetic pleasure in every scene involving the zombies. The bow and arrow shots can be explained by the time period the show's plot is set in, but there's no explaining the eerie calmness acquired by just witnessing these scenes.

With a cast comprising of Korean A-listers like Ju Ji-hoon ('Dark Figure of Crime'), Bae Doona ('Cloud Atlas'), Ryu Seung-ryong ('Miracle in Cell No. 7'), Kim Sang-ho ('The Witness'), Heo Joon-ho ('Sovereign Default'), and Jeon Seok-ho ('Miss Baek'), season 1 of 'Kingdom' premieres on Netflix this coming January 25, 2019 and is sure to be a total treat for horror drama fans!

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.