We maybe think we have seen all the zombie stories, but it still comes out new fresh takes of the undead genre. Especially from South Korea in the recent years, with the stress-inducing box-office hit Train To Busan (with a sequel coming out this year), and the high-budget historical zombie drama Kingdom on Netflix. Both of these have something more in common except the zombies, they are indeed very serious and terrifying. I had the pleasure to watch The Odd Family: Zombie For Sale, which is quite the opposite.
The zombie genre didn’t strike people at first as a perfect recipe for laughs. What’s fun with your neighbourhood being dead and eating brains? There have been more and more so-called zom-coms popping up, probably a lot because of the cult-film Shaun Of The Dead from Edgar Wright that showed us the comedic effects of an apocalypse filled with braindead cannibals. The Odd Family: Zombie For Sale is exactly that as well, with its comical approach to a zombie apocalypse.
A (Quite) Simple Premise
The film, directed by Lee Min-jae is a fun little story about said odd family named Park who lives at a worn-down gas station in the countryside. And them meeting a young man (Jung Ga-ram) who has been turned to a zombie by a pharmaceutical company, who then bites the old dad (Park In-hwan) in the household. But the thing is, the old man’s after-effects of his bite isn’t exactly what the family expected, or the viewers.
In the first half of the film, you get actually a bit surprised where the plot is going. It takes a while for all of the typical zombie apocalypse events to actually happen. It is mostly with fun dialogue and moody music in the background that makes you look forward what comes next and wonder “How the hell is this going to turn out?”. Especially with the whole bizarreness of it all and how the family sees what could have been a tragedy as a financial opportunity.
A Strange Family Indeed
The Korean title is directly translated to Odd/Strange Family, whilst the English title has the zombie in it probably to make viewers more interested, in hearing about said zombie that’s for sale. But the Korean title doesn’t dismiss the zombies, it just makes it clear what it’s about – the family. Throughout the film, we get to meet three siblings Park, their old dad and the pregnant wife to the oldest brother (an amazing deadpan performance from Uhm Ji-won) and how they react to having a zombie in their garage. Said zombie is actually not that carnivorous, he mostly eats cabbages and gets treated first as a pet and then a family member.
But it is here where the script fails the family. In the end, they turn into pretty flat characters that mostly depend on the chemistry between them. The narrative tries to present us with these conflicting personalities, especially the older brothers with their father. But the actual conflicts and anxieties are just gently brushed upon, without actually going into it.
Downsides Of A Zombie Apocalypse
With a zombie movie, you are prepared for some kind of gore. But Odd Family surprisingly doesn’t give the viewers the expected gore, and that is another part of where I think it lacks. It feels more just like a family comedy set in the Korean countryside with jokes very fit for it, but with zombies. That the zombie part is almost sidelined in the plot, even though it is described as a zombie comedy. But at the same time, the family’s characters aren’t that well-developed to have the whole film focus on them only.
With its runtime that in my opinion, is a bit too long for the plot, the ending also turns into a mesh of different ideas that turns out… Okay? And that brings me to it, that The Odd Family: Zombie For Sale is a fun zom-com, but if you aren’t desperately seeking out for a lighthearted zombie film, (which is quite specific) then it’s maybe not the first film you would come across.
What do you think? What is your favorite “zom-com”? Let us know in the comments!
The Odd Family: Zombie For Sale was released by Arrow Films July 6th, 2020.
Watch The Odd Family: Zombie For Sale
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