Netflix’s latest serving, the hit Korean horror series All of Us Are Dead, is a hit amongst the audience, regardless of their age. But unlike many other horror shows and films on the platform, the series comes with an age-restricted rating of TV-MA.
All of Us Are Dead tells the story of a Hyusan High School in South Korea, which becomes ground zero for a zombie outbreak. While the world outside is in chaos, the surviving high schoolers are left on their own to face the friends-turned-zombies and somehow make it out alive.
But despite predominantly featuring teenagers, the show has been deemed unsuitable for teen viewers.
What does TV-MA mean?
In terms of entertainment-viewing, TV-MA, which translates to Mature Adults, means that said content is suitable to be viewed only by audiences who can be designated as adults, someone who is 18 or older.
While viewers, as young as 12 to 13 years of age or younger, more or less have no qualms about viewing horror films or explicit gore these days, it is the duty of the filmmakers and the platform it is offered on to let viewers know the age criteria of viewing.
TV-MA essentially establishes that the show, film, or documentary shouldn't be watched by those 17 and younger.
Why is All of Us Are Dead TV-MA?
In a chat with Soompi, series director Lee Jae-kyoo touched upon the fact that while many other Korean dramas also got mature ratings, his show has many reasons for falling in this category. He said,
“The series received the maturity rating of 18+ for about seven different reasons, which would be one to two more than Squid Game or Hellbound. There are cruel and violent scenes, but we thought these would be necessary in order to stay true to the zombie genre."
To start with, the authentic zombie makeup, which shows the actors with their skin rotting and walking around with open wounds, is the first reason. Then, there are the rather gruesome and realistic scenes of gore and violence where zombies are seen tearing out their victims' necks, intestines, etc.
Also, while on the run, the survivors, especially the character of Mi-jin. played by Lee Eun-saem, are often heard using profanities throughout the twelve episodes.
Apart from the expected zombie horror, All of Us Are Dead also includes scenes of bullying and physical harassment in the first episode, for which Netflix has been slammed for not incorporating a trigger warning.
The best option would be for younger kids to be kept away from the series as the presence of gory scenes and graphic violence only escalates as All of Us Are Dead progresses.