The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale
Jung Ga-ram, Park In-hwan, Jung Jae-young, Um Ji-won, Kim Nam-gil, Lee Soo-kyung
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…an entertaining and family-centric horror-comedy, it’s a really fun ride.
When big-pharma does some experimental meddling on random homeless people, a test subject named Joon-Bi claws his way out of an underground dump site and staggers through rural South Korea before wandering into a senior citizens home, where he bites the forehead of Man-Deok (Park In-hwan), the grandfather of the Park family, before zombie-shuffling his way back into nearby woods. Thinking the attack to be a random nut job, Man-Deok feverishly sleeps off the encounter, before waking to feel (and look) twenty years younger.
After Joon-Bi has a series of encounters with other members of the Park clan: ne’er do-well unemployed middle son Min-Gul (Kim Nam-Gil), hapless eldest son Joon-Gul (Jung Jae-Young) and his very pregnant wife Nam-Joo (Um Ji-Won) and youngest daughter Hae-Gul (Lee Soo-Kyung), the family all presume that the limping, groaning zombie is just a homeless person who’s ‘not quite right’.
Thinking it best to trap the bitey wanderer in the garage of their dilapidated family-run petrol station, he’s kept there tied-up long enough for Hae-Gul to decide he’s the object of her romantic affections and for their now-youthful and reinvigorated father to start charging local elderly residents large sums of money for access to Joon-Bi’s rejuvenating chomps and the de-aging effects that await.
Mixing elements from Cocoon, The Castle and Shaun of the Dead, the film manages to homage everything from Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead to straight up showing characters watching a clip of Train to Busan. Despite wearing its influences on its sleeves, it’s clearly made by earnest fans of the genre, aiming the zombie shenanigans squarely at a broad audience, deploying a light comedic touch with less of an emphasis on gore and more on the screwball comedy.
There are funny character touches, particularly the pregnant Nam-Joo’s handy self-defence techniques utilising a frying pan and the weirdly romantic relationship between the zombified Joon-Bi and the young and impressionable Hae-Gul.
This is definitely on the comedy side of the ‘zom-com’ and there’s much to enjoy here. As an entertaining and family-centric horror-comedy, it’s a really fun ride.