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Zombie For Sale Main

Zombie for Sale Blu-ray Review

Written by ZigZag

Blu-ray released by Arrow Video

Zombie For Sale Large

Written and directed by Lee Min-Jae
2019, 112 minutes, Not Rated
Released on July 7th, 2020

Starring:
Nam-Gil Kim as Min-Gul Park
Ji-Won Uhm as Nam-Joo Jung
Soo-Kyung Lee as Hae-Gul Park
Ga-Ram Jung as Jjong-Bi Park
In-Hwan Park as Man-Duk Park
Jae-Young Jung as Joon-Gul Park

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Review:

The Park family is always looking to work an angle to bring in extra cash and get ahead. They own and operate a struggling service station where they tend to overcharge stranded motorists. Their shady behavior extends to leaving sharp objects along the twisty roads to knock out the tires on passing cars. One of the Parks’ friends, Nan-Loo, drives the only tow truck in the village and of course he brings stranded drivers back to the shop for expensive repairs. The family is not mean-spirited, just desperate scam artists low on funds and morals.

The big story grabbing all the headlines recently is of a whistleblower accusing a bio-company of running illegal experiments on vagrants and college students, causing strange side effects. A young man who is actually a zombie escapes the building and makes his way to the village where he attempts to bite the locals, but he is clumsy and awkward and easily avoided. He successfully bites Mr. Park and runs away. When the old man wakes up, he is significantly younger and full of energy. The family tracks the zombie down and locks him in their barn until they can find a way to monetize the situation.

Starting with the village elders, the Parks charge by the bite. As their customers grow more youthful in appearance, word spreads and soon everyone is lining up to pay for a nip on the arm. This zombie is by nature a vegetarian with a taste for raw cabbage, but with a little ketchup he is compliant. Mr. Park’s daughter Hae-Gul bonds with the ghoul and the two form a tenuous relationship. Everything is going wonderfully until the incubation period wears off and suddenly the town is overrun by zombies. Can the family avoid danger long enough to find a vaccine and restore order?

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Zombie movies have long been a part of the horror community, a subgenre that comes in cycles and refuses to die. Popular the world over, the living dead got a resurgent boost with the Korean hit Train to Busan (2016). Zombie for Sale, another Korean export, is a refreshing twist on the well-worn material that succeeds with its playful tone and colorful characters. The film opts for light-hearted comic mayhem over grisly scenes of gory gut munching. One of its greatest assets is turning the titular character into a childlike innocent. Our protagonists are opportunistic clowns with an underlying loyalty that keeps you firmly planted on their side despite some of their unscrupulous acts.

Writer/director Lee Min-Jae makes a strong debut with this briskly paced, humorous misadventure that taps into the popular theme of the family unit in peril. Financial concerns outweigh a potential zombie outbreak, and when such a ghoul is introduced, he is taken in and becomes something of an extended member of the group. He is not much of a threat and it is interesting watching him interact with the Parks’ daughter. There is a budding love story at the heart of all the ensuing mayhem that is endearing. Lee draws solid performances from his cast and keeps audiences fully engaged no matter how bonkers the situation.

Zombie for Sale is definitely worth checking out, especially to fans that enjoy horror/comedy hybrids. In addition to confident direction and acting, the film benefits from some gorgeous cinematography and creative camera work. Adding to the fun is the quirky soundtrack that really nails the tone as things shift from comedic to horrific to batshit chaos. The picture ends on a strong note that invites further adventures of the Park family and I look forward to seeing what this director does next.

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Video and Audio:

Colors really pop in this beautiful transfer presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Black levels are bottomless and image quality is razor-sharp with plenty of small-object detail.

Both the DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix and the DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track yield solid results with the expanded mix showing aggressive activity in the rear channels during the finale. Sound effects are well-balanced with the music cues and are free of hiss, pops or other distortion. This is a Korean language film with optional English subtitles included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

Film critics Sam Ashurst and Dan Martin are big fans of this movie and supply a lively audio commentary filled with praise and analysis of this wacky movie. They share their thoughts on how this picture fits within multiple genres and also reflect on the themes and characters. This is an entertaining conversation that flows non-stop and is well worth checking out.

Director Lee Min-Jae participated in a Q&A following a screening at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago (2019, 13 minutes), moderated by film critic Darcy Paquet.

Eat Together, Kill Together: The Family in Peril Comedy (2020, 20 minutes) is a video appreciation by critic Pierce Conran of Korea’s popular subgenre of social satires.

We Are Natural Humans (2019, 4 minutes) is a traditional “making of” featurette offering a look at the production.

There are two behind-the-scenes segments, both running one minute each. The first shows alternate takes of scenes featuring stronger language while the second spotlights some comedic moments on set.

The original theatrical trailer has been included.

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Grades:

Movie: Threeandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Cover
Buy Amazon Uk
Video: Fourandahalfstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Threestars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

 

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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