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MOVIE REVIEW: “Rampant” Is A Fun, High Octane Zombie Blockbuster Straight From The Joseon Era

Darkness looms over ancient Korea: murderous creatures known as Night Demons have overrun the country.

Returning from a long imprisonment abroad, the talented but womanizing and gambling-prone swordsman, Prince Ganglim discovers that it will take the entire kingdom to stop the bloody rampage spreading across the nation in this fresh new take on zombie horror from the same studio that brought us “Train To Busan”. Korea’s biggest zombie movie of 2018, “Rampant” (창궐, Chang Gwol) is directed by Kim Sung-Hoon and written by Hwang Jo-Yoon and features Korean superstar Hyun Bin ( My Name Is Kim Sam-Soon, Secret Garden) as Prince Ganglim, together with Jang Dong-Gun, Jo Woo-Jin, Kim Eui-Sung, Jeong Man-Sik, Seo Ji-Hye, Lee Sun-Bin, Jo Dal-Hwan, Kim Tae-Woo and Park Kin-Woo.

Though the concept of zombies in period set stories aren’t a new thing anymore (remember the 2016 historical action horror “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies”?), there’s a lot of things that makes “Rampant”, the latest Korean blockbuster stand out amongst others. At first glance, it’s basically “Train To Busan” minus the train and set in the Joseon Era. Imagine these characters clad in full Hanbok fighting blood-thirsty zombies at night. “Rampant” combines the thrills of a zombie blockbuster with the drama of Korean historical dramas like “Jumong”, “Jewel In The Palace”, and “Hwarang” to great results.

There are a lot of exciting set pieces in the movie that will truly make your heart stop. There were some effective scary moments that will surely scare the hell out of audiences. The zombies themselves were pretty terrifying to begin with, though they are introduced to the film as night demons who are afraid of daylight. Despite the fact that these bloodthirsty monsters can’t really go out under the sun, once night falls, all hell breaks loose. The film also boasts stunning production design, creative cinematography, fabulous wardrobe and the feels of your favorite period K-Drama.

The casting was also perfect.  Hyun Bin did a great job as he plays the talented but womanizing and gambling-prone swordsman. His humor is on point and he makes a pretty good lead. I honestly believe that a good story, whether it’s film or television, is only as good as its villain. And Jang Dong-Gun was beyond outstanding with his performance as the film’s antagonist. His portrayal of the story’s main villain was so good that it sometimes overshadows Hyun Bin’s performance.

So if you’re looking for the perfect Halloween movie for your squad, this one’s highly recommended. “Rampant” is a fun, high octane zombie blockbuster straight from the Joseon Era.



RATING: 4/5

5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
“Rampant” is now showing in Philippine cinemas, distributed by Rafaella Films International.

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