It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before, and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.

For the curious, here are links to 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013201420152016, 2017, and 2018.


In sticking with our easing into this year’s Easter Zombie Movie Marathon, today we’re still in the land of television zombies with a look at the South Korean webcomic adaptation on Netflix, Kingdom. This is another one to toss in the faces of people who say they’re tired of zombies and that zombie shows are all the same.

Kingdom takes place in Korea’s medieval Joseon period and centers on Crown Prince Yi-Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) who is trying to find out whether his father is dead or not, while trying to avoid being executed for supporting a political coup in the meantime. You see, his father’s young bride (Kim Hye-jun), the new Queen, is pregnant and her handlers are trying to keep the king’s death a secret until the new heir can be born.

If you’re a fan of political intrigue, then this might be the show for you. Especially if you have a fondness for Eastern cinema. The first episode is a bit of a slow burn, but the series director, Kim Seong-hun, has a beautiful eye and every shot of Kingdom is gorgeous, especially the use of color. There’s not a lot of zombie action in the opener, for those gorehounds out there, but the episode finale does a fine job of establishing the undead threat. And the cause of the mass rising of the dead is particularly disturbing.

KINGDOM

The relationship between the Crown Prince and his personal guard Moo-Young (Kim Sang-ho) is the real highlight of the episode. Moo-Young plays up the comedy in the way the two interact and I laughed out loud a few times during their scenes. Kingdom also features Bae Doo-na (from Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending and Sense8) as a nurse at the heart of the zombie outbreak.

Episode 2 picks up the action and is a bit more engaging than the first. We get a detail about the zombie outbreak that is extremely interesting and unique. The dead only rise after sundown, which is a nice touch, as is the way they cluster together in huge masses under buildings during the day. There’s a truly horrific scene as a group of corpses are hauled out into the daylight that kind of made my skin crawl.

There’s more political intrigue, of course, as the Crown Prince and Moo-Young are being hunted by the law for their involvement in the planning of the coup and we even get a sword fight this episode. Unfortunately, it’s not a spectacular display, but the character of the Crown Prince doesn’t seem to be all that skilled, so it works.

Again, the gore is light but the design of the undead is suitably grotesque, as are their twitchy movements and bestial attacks. The closing scene is a powerful one and has me eagerly anticipating what’s to come.

Check back in a couple of days to see how things go!

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