Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
'The Jungle Book' brings Disney's Silver Age to an end - listen in our lastest episode of 'Ink & Paint' now!x
review, The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale, The, Odd, Family:, Zombie, on, Sale, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Jung Jae-Young, Kim Nam-Gil, Uhm Ji-Won, Lee Soo-Kyung, Jung Ga-Ram, Park In-Hwan, Shin Jung-Geun, Kim Ki-Chun, Jeon Bae-Soo, Lee Min-Jae, Comedy, Horror




By Jake Watt
24th August 2019

The zombie genre has a broad tonal spectrum. Their stories can be a heartbreaking family drama, an arse-kicking action movie, or a real horror film that could also be narrated with explicit gore, jump scares or a true lugubrious atmosphere.

Well-defined genres - even ones as grotesque and gutsy as zombie movies - have long been fertile ground for comedy. A codified set of tropes is the perfect place to play around with expectations and catch an audience off-guard. And if that surprise can involve someone’s innards becoming outtards, all the better.

The zombie comedy is most easily associated with the hit movies Edgar Wright’s ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and Ruben Fleischer’s ‘Zombieland’ and Shinchiro Ueda’s recent ‘One Cut of the Dead’... and less easily with complete duds like ‘Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead’. Factor in the massive impact that Yeon Sang-ho’s ‘Train to Busan’ has had in South Korea and it’s surprising that we haven’t seen more zombie comedy’s clawing their way out of the country.

Directed by Lee Min-jae, ‘The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale’ is an amusing satire about family values and how one family’s money-hungry entrepreneurship puts everyone in danger and nearly leads to the end of the world.

Human Bio, the biggest pharmaceutical company in Korea, conducts illegal experiments on humans. One day, a test for a new diabetes medication goes wrong. These first few minutes of the film begin stylishly enough with a series of local radio announcements being played, detailing the disastrous outbreak that’s threatening to run rampant nationwide. The “Odd Family” of the title are your classic gang of fringe-dwelling hustlers (a South Korean cinema trope, see: Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ and Kim Ji-woon’s ‘The Quiet Family’) running a gas station in an isolated village of Poongnam in the countryside. They seem to make cash by puncturing the tyres of motorists and charging them exorbitant fees for towing and repairs.


Into this quiet town stumbles a boyband-looking zombie (played by Jung Ga-ram). Eventually, Park Man-duk (Park In-Hwan, ‘Thirst’), the head of the household, captures the ineffectual creature and imprisons it in the family garage, but not before being bitten on the head. Once they figure out that they’ve captured a zombie (by watching a clip of ‘Train to Busan’ on a smartphone), the family members each attempt to overcome their fear of their new guest. Similar to Jonathan Levine’s ‘Warm Bodies’, the youngest daughter Hae-gul (Lee Soo-kyung, ‘Coin Locker Girl’) takes a liking to the zombie, nicknames it “Zzongbie, the pet” and trains it to each cabbage smeared in ketchup.

Her brothers are scared at first but discover that anyone bitten by Zzongbie becomes younger, healthier and seemingly immortal. The family decides to turn this into a business opportunity (like Alejandro Brugués’ ‘Juan of the Dead’), and begin selling rejuvenating zombie bites to the village elders who are having problems with their wizened junk. Eldest son Joon-gul (Jung Jae-young, ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’) helps with his father’s money-making scheme in order to support his unsmiling, pregnant wife Nam-joo (Uhm Ji-won). Min Geol (Kim Nam-gil, ‘Memoir of a Murderer’) is the middle child in the family, a recently unemployed university graduate who looks to profit even further by selling their newfound fountain of youth to a large corporation. Their back and forth banter and weird antics of the eccentric family provide the majority of the laughs and helps the movie feel somewhat fresh despite recycling ideas we’ve seen time and time again.

The family decides to turn their situation into a business opportunity, and begin selling rejuvenating zombie bites to the village elders who are having problems with their wizened junk.

The first half of ‘The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale’ takes its time as the strained Park family dynamics are carefully aligned, as Hye-gul and Zzongbie begin their unlikely courtship. There is real tangible chemistry between the family members and you get an inclination of a genuine affection amidst the family squabbles. All the main characters an authentically likeable and you will find yourself rooting for this unconventional family unit, no matter how absurd their situation gets. This blend of silly comedy and pathos keeps the film trundling along nicely until events take a turn that the family did not expect, and it turns out that their latest scam may have consequences on a national scale.

The second half is the epitome of chaotic, literally and figuratively. Lee steers clear of blood and gore, instead playing for laughs with a number of beautifully staged set pieces, not least a wedding ceremony for one of Man-duk’s newly rejuvenated homies.

The cinematography by Cho Hyoung-rae and editing isn’t overly flashy but, alongside some impressive gory makeup and effects, they help to set the mood and pace of the film perfectly well.

Korean comedies are known for their quirkiness, and ‘The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale’ combines this with a set of principal characters so wilfully obnoxious that it would be difficult not to like them. While the film is not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, it is an enjoyable take on an oversaturated sub-genre. If you’re seeking a lightweight and absurd comedy, then this film might just tickle your funny bone with its eccentric characters and plot. If you’re after something with more hardcore horror elements or a po-faced message, you might be in for disappointment.

RUN TIME: 1h 52m
CAST: Jung Jae-Young
Kim Nam-Gil
Uhm Ji-Won
Lee Soo-Kyung
Jung Ga-Ram
Park In-Hwan
Shin Jung-Geun
Kim Ki-Chun
Jeon Bae-Soo
WRITERS: Lee Min-Jae
Jeong Seo-In
Lee Ji-Yeon
SCORE: Hwang Sang-Jun
Looking for more Korean Film Festival in Australia reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights. 
Six Minutes to Midnight - An astonishing real-life tale
TRENDINGWIN SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHTAn astonishing real-life tale
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
Palm Beach - Aussie dream cast, unwelcoming dinner party
TRENDINGPALM BEACHAussie dream cast, unwelcoming dinner party
The Trouble with Being Born - Controversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
TRENDINGTHE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORNControversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Endings, Beginnings - Star-studded sex drama lacks substance
TRENDINGENDINGS, BEGINNINGSStar-studded sex drama lacks substance
One Night in Miami - A dynamic look at a meeting of four icons
TRENDINGONE NIGHT IN MIAMIA dynamic look at a meeting of four icons
Golden Voices - Immigration struggles with amusing challenges
TRENDINGGOLDEN VOICESImmigration struggles with amusing challenges
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
Love and Monsters - A fun freakshow for the whole family
TRENDINGLOVE AND MONSTERSA fun freakshow for the whole family
Collective - A shocking, raw investigation that defies belief
TRENDINGCOLLECTIVEA shocking, raw investigation that defies belief
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Cosmos: Ultimate Edition - The world premiere Blu-ray release of the iconic series
TRENDINGCOSMOS: ULTIMATE EDITIONThe world premiere Blu-ray release of the iconic series
Last Cab to Darwin - Tearfully inspiring
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!