Netflix Series ‘All of Us Are Dead’ Dredges up Sewol Disaster Memories

  • Korean-language zombie series ‘All Of Us Are Dead’ is Netflix’s most popular show right now.
  • For some, however, it’s dredging up painful memories of South Korea’s 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, which left 304 people dead.
  • Many of those who died in the tragedy were students abandoned by the ship’s crew as the ferry sank.


‘s new number one series, “All Of Us Are Dead,” is being lauded worldwide for its bloodthirsty zombie scenes — but for many young viewers, it’s also dredging up painful memories of one of South Korea’s deadliest disasters in recent memory.

On Twitter, users pointed out how many scenes from the Korean-language show were heartbreaking reminders of the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster that killed 304 people. Out of those, around 250 were children from the same high school on the outskirts of Seoul. 

One Twitter user shared that the ferry tragedy was all they could think after watching three episodes. “How children were neglected by adults whom they put their hopes on,” they wrote alongside three crying emojis.

Meanwhile, a Twitter user with the handle @say_nanya said they were reminded of the disaster after seeing the show’s “adults failing the youth.”


The MV Sewol ferry sank en route from Incheon to Jeju on April 16, 2014

The tragedy sparked massive outrage when it was reported that several ferry crew members, including the captain, abandoned the ship — after telling the passengers to remain in their cabins

Given Korea’s culture of obedience, few students questioned the order, and hundreds died. 

Similarly, in “All Of Us Are Dead,” high school students have been left to fend for themselves after a zombie virus takes over the school. Many of their teachers prove useless and selfish even as the children go to them for help. 

Some of the show’s details have also been singled out on social media for appearing to pay homage to the ferry disaster.

Several scenes, for example, prominently feature yellow ribbons, a recognized symbol of the Sewol tragedy.

Another scene features the students recording a video message to their parents, reminiscent of the recorded farewell message videos and texts sent from the ferry as it sank

A woman puts a yellow ribbon with others at a memorial for victims of the 'Sewol' ferry disaster in Seoul on May 1, 2014.

Yellow ribbons were used to mourn the Sewol ferry disaster victims, and they can also be seen in “All Of Us Are Dead.”

ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

As soon as “All Of Us Are Dead” was released on Netflix last Friday, it shot up to the top of the streamer’s Top 10 non-English-language TV list in 91 countries worldwide.

According to Netflix, it drew 124.79 million hours of viewing in its first three days and is now the streaming giant’s most popular series.

Following the massive success of its Korean thriller “Squid Game,” Netflix is set to release more than 25 Korean-language series in 2022, its most in a single year.

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