A medical taste for a new diabetes medication goes wrong and triggers a zombie outbreak in a small rural community. The Park family are surprised when a young man (Ga-ram Jung) happens upon their property and bites the widowed patriarch Man-duk (In-hwan Park). The family fear their father is going to be turned into a zombie but the bite actually restores his youth and energy. Nicknaming the young man Jong-bi, the family decide to profit from him but their money-making scheme doesn’t quite go according to plan.
The zombie genre is one that is completely and utterly swamped right now. In the aftermath of the hey-day of The Walking Dead, you don’t have to look far to find another zombie film or TV series. That being said, Lee Min-jae’s Zombie For Sale is at least trying to do something different and relishes in playing against the well-established rules of the zombie genre. Tackling the film and its subject matter with a sense of humour, Lee Min-jae has crafted an entertaining and pretty funny film.
It’s fairly obvious that things are going to take a turn for the worse and the film attempts to lull you into a false sense of security before that happens. It doesn’t wholly succeed in doing that but it does have a lot of fun getting you to the inevitable ‘things go bad’ twist. Jong-bi is surrounded by the quirky Park family, and the daughter Hye-gul (Soo-kyung Lee) starts to fall in love with him, even though their relationship really isn’t viable.
While I’ll definitely give Zombie for Sale a thumbs up for trying something different, it does unfortunately drag things out for too long. Running at almost two hours in length, the film would have benefitted from some editing to bring it down to the 90-minute mark. Getting to the twist takes much longer than it should have done and once it arrives, the feeling of inevitably somewhat hampers its impact.
Zombie for Sale is a solid and entertaining film that tries to do something with a very tired and oft-treaded genre. There’s definitely plenty to enjoy here but you may find yourself starting to tune out before the credits role. The film clearly draws inspiration from some of the greatest zombie films ever made and it’s clear that the cast had a blast making it. Zombie fans will lap it up but if you’re a bit worn out by the genre, it might not hit all the marks you’re hoping for.
Cast: Jae-yeong Jeong, Ga-ram Jung, Nam-gil Kim, Soo-kyung Lee, Ji-won Uhm Director: Lee Min-jae Certificate: 18 Duration: 112 mins Released by: Arrow Films