Prior to watching this my wifey and I saw Rampant, also a Korean period zombie movie set in the Joseon Dynasty. This one bored us to death. It made us so sleepy that we turned in at 1030pm. That NEVER happens.

Then we gave Netflix’s Kingdom a whirl because I read that it is written by Kim Eun-hee who wrote the compelling Signal (2016), one of the best things that happened that year. A few minutes into it we realised the story is practically the same as Rampant – court intrigue, some power hungry scumbag wants to rule the kingdom, a prince who is still wet behind his ears; all this right smack in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But the similarities end here.

Kingdom does everything right. The humour never feels forced, characters lift off the screen and those damn zombies are the killer. The great zombie movies always know how to capture a microcosm of society, from the cowards to the heroes, and make it fun. Kingdom has that in spades. Every episode shows you the basest of human behaviour and also the best.

The visuals are great. The locations are stunning. The zombies are incredible to behold. The premise of how they come to be is horrific. To tell you more is to spoil the fun for you.

I enjoyed the crown prince’s arc. Like the prince in Rampant, he gradually learns the ways of a good king by caring for the weak and developing a mind of a military strategist.

The scenes of zombie carnage are superbly set-up and shot. Pathos is never in short supply and unlike Rampant we actually care for the characters here.

However, the zombies rightfully take centrestage. The physics of their movement, the singularity of their feral desire and their physical look, all outstanding.

There are only 6 episodes in the first season and it ends with a cliffhanger that gives the saturated genre a good kick in the butt. 

You know I can’t recommend Rampant at all, but watching it before you see Kingdom will show you how everything can go wrong even if you have an amazing story premise. Then you will begin to understand and marvel at the mechanics in the crafting of a good zombie entertainer.

Rating 4 of 5