Best Korean Zombie Movies to Watch, Ranked

From Train to Busan to Peninsula, these are the best Korean zombie movies to watch.

Zombie movies have been a staple subgenre in horror for a long time now. That said, it has seen a modern resurgence thanks to hits like The Walking Dead . What's more, South Korean cinema in particular has been leading the pack in terms of popular and successful zombie movies. What is it about Korean zombie movies that is so appealing? It’s quite simple when you think about it: they foremost create multidimensional characters with complex story arcs that involve more than just mere survival.

Indeed, with South Korean dramas like Kingdom , All of Us Are Dead , and Sweet Home , it's clear that the industry has its finger on the pulse of the zombie subgenre. South Korean zombie movies, too, have been epic in scale while being grounded in emotional and heart. From Train to Busan to Peninsula , these are the best Korean zombie movies you need to watch next.

7 Peninsula (2020)

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula a.k.a Peninsula is a standalone sequel to the commercially successful 2016 movie Train to Busan . Co-written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho, and starring an ensemble cast featuring Gang Dong-won and Lee Jung-hyun, the plot is set four years after the zombie virus has spread all across Korea. It follows Jung-seok, a former soldier, and his assigned team as they embark on a mission to retrieve a truck full of money. They have to get through the peninsula that is now inhabited by zombies. Although the movie received mixed reviews, with criticism mainly directed at the lack of significant character development, you won't mind it too much as the movie feels like a mix of Mad Max, Aliens , and Judgment Day.

Related: 10 Highest-Grossing South Korean Movies of All Time

6 Rampant (2018)

Rampant is a period action zombie film directed by Kim Sung-hoon. Mixing period drama with zombies seems like a bold move, however, South Korean filmmakers are no strangers to experimenting with genres and somehow making it work. Set in the 17th Century, Rampant follows the clash between exiled Prince Lee Chung (Hyun Bin) and Joseon Minister of War Kim Ja-joon, while a zombie plague breaks out in the country. The Prince has to lead the remaining few who are capable enough to defeat the monsters.

5 Doomsday Book (2012)

Directed by Kim Jee-woon and Yim Pil-sung, Doomsday Book is a science-fiction anthology film that tells three unique stories. The cast includes big names such as Bong Joon-ho, Ma Dong-seok, and Bae Doona. The themes take a satirical approach to human destruction in the modern high-tech era, as well as genuine human compassion. The first chapter of the anthology, A Brave New World, serves as a political satire about a viral zombie outbreak. A geeky scientist and his sister end up eating toxic beef, which turns the population into flesh-eating zombies. South Korean movies excel at satirical political commentary, so you definitely shouldn't miss out on watching this one.

4 #Alive (2020)

Based on the 2019 script Alone by Matt Naylor, Cho Il-hyung decided to co-adapt the script into his own with the help of Naylor. Starring Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye, #Alive revolves around a video game streamer struggling for survival in his Seoul apartment during a zombie apocalypse. #Alive yet again proves that South Korean zombie movies are superior: the cinematography is amazing, the acts of violence are simply badass, the soundtrack doesn't feel overbearing, and the exploration of isolation serves as an emotional foundation in a story about a zombie-pocalypse. The film was said to revive South Korean cinema in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: 6 Must-Watch Korean Horror Movies

3 The Wailing (2016)

Written and directed by Na Hong-jin, The Wailing is a horror film starring Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee in the leading roles. The movie centers on a policeman who investigates a set of mysterious deaths and illnesses in a rural village in order to save his daughter. The sickness starts spreading right after a foreigner's arrival in the village. We won't spoil too much about the plot, but what's interesting about this horror movie is that there are no jump scares. Indeed, what makes it entertaining are the mysteries, characters, mix of ghosts, zombies, body horror, and Eastern exorcism themes.

2 Seoul Station (2016)

Seoul Station is an animated zombie film written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho. Starring Shim Eun-kyung, Ryu Seung-ryong, and Lee Joon in the lead roles, the movie serves as a prequel to Train to Busan , showing how the epidemic started. The plot takes place around and in Seoul Station, and revolves around three characters: Suk-gyu, a father searching for his daughter; Hye-sun, a sex worker; and her boyfriend/pimp, Ki-woong. Right before they get the chance to reunite, the zombie epidemic breaks out. Many felt the production lacked budget to execute the story well, but, despite that, the movie was awarded with major accolades, such as Best Animated Feature Film at the 10th edition of the Asian Pacific Screen Awards in 2016.

1 Train to Busan (2016)

Last but not least, we have arguably the best zombie movie of all time: Train to Busan . Directed by Yeon Sang-ho and starring Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Su-an, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee, and Kim Eui-sung, Train to Busan is an action horror film that takes place mostly on a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan as a zombie apocalypse breaks out in the country. If someone needs inspiration on how to write the perfectly complex characters, watch this film. It shows how apocalypses can yield kindness in some, while simultaneously demonstrating how we can easily become the monsters we fear. It reinforces our sense of sympathy, and makes you question humanity and human relationships.

The 10 Best Korean Zombie Movies of All Time

Craving tales of the undead? We've got just the list for you.

film genre zombie korea

Perhaps most interesting about Korean zombie movies is how the apocalyptic visions offer a dash of social criticism—hitting at the rigidity of class structures, the encroachment of technological advances, or the collapse of society after the random introduction of a viral pathogen. Essentially, these Korean movies aren’t all just made to get easy scares from flesh eating monsters. From Netflix’s newly released # Alive to Peninsula, these zombie movies have a little bit of everything— psychological thrillers , body horror, class allegories, and even a historical drama , all unified under their shared subject matter: the undead.

Train to Busan (2016)

train to busan

If you're a horror movie aficionado, you've likely heard of the box office and critical hit Train to Busan. The Gong Woo-led movie follows a group of travelers fighting for their lives aboard a zombie-infested high-speed train hurtling to one of the last safe places in the country. The film's powerful class commentary shows the benefit of taking collective action over prioritizing individual survival. Critics pointed out how the movie may be a response to the Sewol ferry disaster of 2014 that left 300 dead, including around 250 teenagers.

Peninsula (2020)


This This to Busan sequel picks up where the seminal film left off. While Peninsula isn’t jam-packed with the social analysis that fans of the first film praised, it does feature the kind of body horror that fans of the genre know and love. This time, the survivors of the zombie apocalypse in the Korean Peninsula are safe and sound in Hong Kong. That is, until Jung-seok (played by Gang Dong) gets caught up in a scheme to recover $20 million back in Seoul. Yeon Sang-ho returns to direct this hybrid zombie-heist thriller, choosing to wander through the eerie CGI post-apocalyptic wasteland that has few human survivors.

#Alive (2020)


The definitive quarantine film that was somehow conceived before the pandemic, Il Cho’s #Alive follows a spacey gamer who is stuck in the house while a zombie apocalypse rages at his doorstep. He’s running out of food, and it’s not like zombies give up on a siege. As the days pass and the situation continues to devolve into the end of times, he makes contact with a neighbor and together they plot their escape.

The Wailing (2016)

the wailing 2016

When a rural town suffers from a series of inexplicable murders, a country detective investigates the events under the shadow of a mysterious plague. Na Hong-jin directs this police procedural with a keen ability to harness suspicion and dread. Complicating matters is the arrival of a Japanese migrant who possesses malicious supernatural powers, according to the superstitious townspeople.

Seoul Station (2016)

seoul station

This animated prequel to Train to Busan imagines Seoul's lockdown at the start of the zombie outbreak. The movie follows former sex worker Hye-sun, who is searching for her pimp-slash-boyfriend amidst the chaos. While Train to Busan luxuriates in the spectacle of violence and the social conditions that triggered it, Seoul Station looks closer at the lives who are at the margins and most likely to be cast aside in a cataclysmic event. In fact, one of the first zombies is an old homeless man, yet his affliction is ignored due to his age and social status.

The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (2019)

the odd family zombie on sale

Capitalism breeds innovation...and zombies. Directed by Lee Min-jae, Zombie on Sale follows the broke, dysfunctional Park family who are down on their luck. To make money, they manufacture car accidents and live off the cash they extort from the unwitting drivers who think they caused the wreck. Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company is just reaping the aftermath of a secret drug trial–it looks like the abducted trial “volunteers” have turned into flesh eating monsters, with one test subject escaping the facility and taking shelter at the Park family’s gas station. Once the family discovers that the zombie bite purportedly makes everyone feel younger and healthier, the Parks charge everyone in town for a bite. Cue the unintended consequences.

Doomsday Book (2012)

doomsday book

One apocalyptic story not enough for you? How does three sound? In Doomsday Book , Yim Pil-sung’s sleek anthology film that dives into three different rapture scenarios, the end of the world isn’t the stuff of the Book of Revelations. Instead, it’s a zombie apocalypse, an asteroid strike, and a robot takeover. These scenarios might sound quite terrifying, but the film itself is absurdist and nimble, and indulges in comedy and introspection to critique Korean politics. Even the creation of zombies is handled with a degree of humor: The triggering biological event occurs when a man eats a rotten apple that leads to toxic materials entering the food chain, turning everyone into the living dead.

Rampant (2018)


Hyun Bin of the K-drama Crash Landing on You fame stars in this visually rich historical drama set in the Joseon Dynasty —with a twist. Namely, it features flesh-eating demons. A genre mashup of court intrigue and a zombie thriller make this Kim Sung-hoon directed flick a satisfying watch. Hyun plays a prince in the throes of a political crisis–the current king spends his time kowtowing to the neighboring Qing empire while the war minister plots his own rebellion. Throw in the nocturnal zombies and you have a certified Game of Thrones -style movie in conversation with Korea’s history of geopolitical crises, which tended to favor the powerful while leaving regular people in the dust.

Horror Stories (2012)

horror stories

A modern day retelling of the Arabian nights, a Korean Scheherazade is kidnapped by a serial killer who can only fall asleep when told scary stories. Four directors helm each part of this anthology film, which runs the gamut from zombie horror to terrorist attacks to nightmarish plastic surgery. As for the zombie story, aptly titled “Ambulance on the Death Zone?” In that segment, a group of survivors race through the zombie-infested streets aboard an ambulance hurtling to nowhere. But there’s a problem: There’s a mysterious scar on the little girl’s wrist. Could it be a zombie bite?

The Guard Post (2008)

the guard post

Recalling the geopolitical mystery Joint Security Area –one of the masterpieces of contemporary Korean cinema that deals with North-South relations–this slow burn follows a platoon on the Korean Demilitarized Zone that disappears following the outbreak of a virus. Army operatives find dismembered corpses upon their investigation and must piece together exactly what happened to the dead soldiers. Director Kong Su-chang tells the story through a series of flashbacks that grow more unsettling as the film wears on.

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Zoe Guy is the digital fellow at Marie Claire, where she covers pop culture, hot celebrity gossip, movies and TV. She’s obsessed with Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of The Age of Innocence , anything written by Jesmyn Ward and stan Twitter.

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Resurrect your love for horror with these 8 Korean zombie series and movies

Complete with gory fight sequences and nail-biting chases – tales of the undead are a classic option if you’ve got a hankering for some supernatural bingeing. Exploring class differences, historical themes, and modern-day settings – Korean zombie series and movies are a notch above the rest. We’ve curated a few titles on Netflix and Amazon Prime that are a must-watch.

The frenzy around grim survival, consumption of human brains, and supernatural viral infections has evolved over time – from Haiitian folklore to the cult-classic The Walking Dead . Today, scores of zombie movies and TV series populate the horror sections of streaming platforms. However, few can match the production values and eclectic plotlines of Korean dramas. Led by the wildly popular All Of Us Are Dead , these shows are as binge-worthy as they come. Not to mention, they’re great guides to surviving a zombie apocalypse. If you don’t know where to begin, take a peek at our guide to the best titles for an acquaintance with the living dead.

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These Korean zombie series and movies will send shivers up your spine

Train to busan.

Train To Busan follows a father-daughter duo as they board a KTX (fast train) to Busan (from Seoul). Soon, they find themselves in the centre of an endemic viral infection that causes humans to turn into flesh-eating zombies. As the outbreak advances, they battle for their lives against the undead and – eventually – each other. Exploring themes of class differences and human guilt while also presenting the audience with some of the best action sequences in Korean history – this one’s as entertaining as they come. Not to mention, there’s some stellar acting performances that you shouldn’t miss out on.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime IMDB rating: 7.6

The streets of Seoul see scores of zombie-like transformations while gamer Joon-woo remains holed up in his apartment alone. As the apocalypse of the living dead progresses, he struggles to survive – losing modern-day comforts like groceries, phone service, water, and internet one day at a time. Fortunately, he’s got his neighbour Yoo-bin working right alongside him to find resources and ways to be rescued by the military. The film touches upon themes of modern-day comforts and the importance of mental grit in times of distress. You’re bound to be on the edge of your seat with this one.

Where to watch: Netflix IMDB rating: 6.3

All Of Us Are Dead

Perhaps the most talked-about bit of zombie content to come from the Korean peninsula – All Of Us Are Dead follows a bunch of students going through the usual high-school experience until a student returns from the school science lab with an unusual infection. Based on a webtoon titled Now At Our School, the series sees the teenagers fight for survival as they look for escape routes. This involves careful planning, blood-soaked chase sequences, and the constant threat of being turned into a zombie looming over their heads. Besides, with talks of season 2 already underway, there’s plenty more to look forward to with this one.

Where to watch: Netflix IMDB rating: 7.5

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Unlike most others on this roundup, this series is set in the near future, where a defective cure for COVID-19 leads to a whole-new virus. Named “Rita,” the infection leads patients to experience extreme rage and bloodlust – much like zombies – for a certain amount of time. In the midst of this occurrence is a newly-constructed high-rise apartment. Placed under quarantine, the residents of said structure struggle to survive, all while harbouring deep mistrust, fear, and apprehension. Promising a rollercoaster of emotions, this Korean drama features stellar acting performances. Best part? It intersperses comedy into all the hair-raising drama – giving the audience some much-needed relief. If that doesn’t spell entertainment, we don’t know what does.

Where to watch: Netflix IMDB rating: 7.9

Zombie Detective

Kang Min-ho wakes up as a zombie with no recollection of how he transformed. As he grapples with amnesia and learns how to walk and talk like humans to blend in, he dons the detective coat to uncover his past. Along the way, he meets Kong Sun-ji, a former current affairs writer who quit her job after an attack on one of her clients. Seamlessly merging comedy with moments of poignancy and mystery – the drama is endearing. The characters, who have a strong moral compass, are a departure from the ones that feature in usual zombie series. This makes for a refreshing switch up from most other options on this list. That said, your mileage may vary.

Where to watch: Netflix IMDB rating: 7.4

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This historical drama – an unusual genre for a zombie flick – is reportedly one of Netflix’s first original Korean series. Set in the Joseon period, it looks into the life of the Crown Prince Lee Chang whose father falls ill with a mysterious illness that’s taken hold of his kingdom. While investigating this said disease, he gets caught up in a power struggle with a powerful clan that labels him a traitor and seeks to overthrow him. Spread over two seasons, the plague progresses as time passes, with themes of class conflict, politics, and power dynamics being explored. Expect plenty of plot twists, careful strategizing, and political turmoil. This one’s highly favoured by critics and viewers alike – promising to be an engaging watch.

Where to watch: Netflix IMDB rating: 8.3

The Wailing

If dark thrillers are your idea of a binge-worthy show, this one’s right up your alley. Based in a quaint village – Goksung – in South Korea, The Wailing follows the life of police officer Jong-Goo who investigates a mysterious zombie-like viral infection that’s spread through the community. Believed to be caused by an evil Japanese spirit, the hunt for answers leads to gory clues, an attacking guard dog, and eerie memorabilia of people who’ve succumbed to the virus. At once profound and thrilling, this is one of the best Korean zombie series. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to take your eyes off the screen while watching this one.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime IMDB rating: 7.4

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This series follows Hyun – an introverted high school student who lost his family in a horrific accident. Now forced to move to an old apartment building and navigate life – he finds himself in the midst of a zombie-like apocalypse. As he struggles to survive, he finds himself trapped with other residents of the building. Although not strictly a zombie series, the creatures in the show are just as horrifying and eerie. Based on the eponymous webtoon, the drama features stellar acting performances and intriguing character backstories while exploring themes of human desires and societal sensibilities. And although the show often receives mixed reviews, it’s definitely worth the watch if you enjoy all things zombie.

Where to watch: Netflix IMDB rating: 7.3

Feature and hero image: Courtesy Netflix

Resurrect your love for horror with these 8 Korean zombie series and movies

Eshita Srinivas

Eshita is a food, alcohol, travel, and entertainment writer who spends her days thinking of the next big trend to write about. She’s a communication graduate with bylines in Conde Nast Traveller India, GQ India, Deccan Herald, and Girls Buzz. When not at work, you’re likely to find her hunting for a good read or charting out the perfect itinerary for a solo trip across Asia.

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10 Best South Korean Zombie Shows and Movies of the 2010s

The very best zombie media from the Korean peninsula.

The Korean cinema industry is experiencing a zombie resurgence which has become a rising cinematic inspiration of the 21st century with globally renowned works like Train to Busan . The prevalence and heat of these infectious diseases do not appear to be diminishing. The growing film industry has satiated audiences by releasing more zombie films and series each year.

RELATED: 10 Best South Korean Crime Movies Of The 21st Century (So Far)

These zombie movies and shows, ranging from Netflix's recently released All of Us Are Dead to The Wailing , include psychological thrillers, class allegories, and even historical drama. All of them were brought together by a common theme: the undead, which will satisfy your need for a zombie apocalypse.

'Train to Busan' (2016)

This South Korean zombie film is more of an action film than a horror film, cementing South Korea's cinematic status in the hearts of worldwide moviegoers. As a zombie outbreak advances, the film follows a father ( Gong Yoo ) urgently trying to safeguard his little daughter aboard the titular overrun train . As certain characters learn they were personally engaged in the virus's unintentional spread, there are also undertones of guilt presented in the film.

Train to Busan's compelling class commentary demonstrates the advantages of collective action above individual survival. Thanks to its unique characters, passionate performances, and fast-paced action, it was an instant smash with moviegoers worldwide.

'Seoul Station' (2016)

Seoul Station , directed by Yeon Sang-ho of Train to Busan and released the same year, is an animated feature-length zombie film that acts as a prequel to the live-action horror smash. The animated film is set one day before the events of Train to Busan , imagines downtown Seoul being overtaken by armies of zombies. Before the zombie plague, Suk-Gyu ( Ryu Seung-Ryong ), a father anxiously seeking his lost daughter, Hye-Sun ( Shim Eun-Kyung ), is central to the plot.

RELATED: Exclusive 'Seoul Station' Clip: 'Train to Busan' Prequel Unleashes an Animated Zombie Apocalypse

While Train to Busan revels in the spectacle of violence and the socioeconomic forces that gave rise to it, Seoul Station examines the lives of those on the fringes, most likely to be forgotten in the case of a disaster. It’s an intriguing chapter in Train to Busan’s story that fans should see, and it takes a unique approach to the setup.

'The Wailing' (2016)

The Wailing follows a series of supernatural events after a mysterious man arrives in a tiny fishing hamlet. A viral infection spreads throughout the village, considered to be caused by an evil spirit in the area. And it's up to local police officer Jong-goo ( Do-wan Kwak ) to unravel the case.

The story's masterly combination of powerful cultural and genre aspects creates an unforgettable concoction. The movie is not only one of the most contemporary zombie films but also one of the most modern horror films, featuring a brilliant performance, a gut-wrenching slaughter, and a profound morality tale.

'#Alive' (2020)

#Alive follows Oh Joon-Wo ( Ah-In Yoo ), a reclusive gamer who must remain hunkered down in his flat and battle off droves of home-invading zombies in a densely inhabited building under siege from a savage zombie incursion borne from an unknown infection. As the days pass and the situation continues to deteriorate into the end of days, he contacts a neighbor, and the two arrange their escape together.

RELATED: 25 Movies Like 'Army of the Dead' For More Ensemble Heists and Zombie Action

Cho Il-hyung 's first feature film flourishes in moments of psychological contemplation and deftly navigates the difficulties of a zombie-horror-romance in the age of smartphones with blood, guts, and selfies sticks. Thanks to a strong, youthful cast and a pretty intriguing premise, the movie is undeniably fascinating.

'The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale' (2019)

The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale , directed by Lee Min-Jae , is one of the best zombie comedies (zom-com) to come out of South Korea, and it adds an unprecedented level of eccentricity to the mix. The Odd Family follows the Park family as their lives are turned upside down when a zombie bites the old patriarch. When the family discovers the zombie was developed due to an illicit pharmaceutical business experiment, the Park family tries to profit from it.

The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale lives up to the title, with the Park being an odd, humorous, and unexpectedly close family. The original idea of monetizing their misfortune is brilliant. When combining action, drama, and romance, fans will receive a film that is both original and engaging.

'Rampant' (2018)

Rampant follows Lee Chung ( Hun Bin ), the Prince of Joseon, who the powerful Qing family kidnaps to appoint him as the next Crown Prince. An invasion of horrific nocturnal zombies threatens to devastate the entire region as Lee Chung spars with Joseon Minister of War, Kim Ja-Joon.

RELATED: The 22 Best Zombie Movies of All Time

Rampant is another idea that aims to breathe new life into a popular genre but has fallen into obscurity. Blending these creatures with the Asian epic action movie style and altering a few rules results in a film packed with adrenaline, stunning visuals, and stock characters in a fascinating plot.

'Kingdom' (2019 - )

This is Netflix's first original Korean series; it has two seasons and was adapted from the webcomic serial The Kingdom of the Gods . In Kingdom , The Crown Prince of Joseon, Lee Chang ( Ju Ji-hoon ), is investigating a mysterious illness devouring his country in this historical horror drama. While defending his realm from the horrible plague, he gets caught in the middle of a political power struggle that threatens to overthrow him.

The series deeply and subtly delves into the question of class conflict and social interests. The action sequences are also masterfully staged and will easily satisfy even the most discerning television watcher. Once you're done with the series, be sure to watch Kingdom: Ashin of the North , a special episode of the series that explores the backstory of the plague.

'Zombie Detectives' (2020)

This Korean drama series follows Kang Min-ho ( Choi Jin-hyuk ), who wakes up with amnesia and realizes he has also transformed into a zombie. He learns to walk and talk like everyone else to blend in and finally assumes the persona of a private detective while working on uncovering his history.

Despite being comic book-esque and eccentric sometimes, Zombie Detective manages to be amusing while also delivering plenty of poignancy, melancholy, and seriousness. The use of comedy was wisely employed to lighten the tone of various passages. If you want to take a break from the ravenous flesh-eating zombies, Zombie Detective is a good choice.

'All of Us Are Dead' (2022 - )

The drama is based on the popular Webtoon Now At Our School and follows a group of high school kids who are stranded at their school due to a zombie virus outbreak. The pupils try everything they can to prevent being turned into zombies and escape from their school.

RELATED: 8 Great Zombie Movies & Shows to Watch on Netflix

What distinguishes All of Us Are Dead from other Zombie shows is the focus on a group of teenage kids and how they navigate tough decisions in dangerous scenarios that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The show features a cast of interesting characters, a terrifying bunch of zombies, and an environment that throws the protagonists challenge after challenge.

'Happiness' (2021 - )

This cheery Korean horror series is set in the near future and follows a group of people in an apartment building plagued with zombies during a government quarantine. This was the outcome of a failed treatment medicine that resulted in a pandemic known as the Rita Virus, or "mad person illness" as it is more often known.

The show is well-balanced and feels fresh with frequent surprises and interesting twists happening in the plot. Furthermore, instead of frightening moments, the series focuses on developing social relations with a perfect combination of drama and comedy.

KEEP READING: The Best Foreign-Language Zombie Movies of The 21st Century

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