Happiness (2021) review: Exceptional zombie series with a blossoming romance

Amid a zombie apocalypse, ‘Happiness’ displays the trials and tribulations of the residents of a high-rise building, while letting the love story of Jung Yi-Hyun and Yoon Sae-Bom bloom. The Korean thriller drama is now streaming on Netflix.


Jung Yi-Hyun and Yoon Sae-Bom meet in high school and choose to go down the same career path as they grow up.

Sae-Bom becomes a corporal of the Special Operations Unit and is dealing with trainees when a case of the ‘mad human disease’ is discovered by Yi-Hyun in the middle of a murder investigation.

Yi-Hyun, a corporal detective at Seyang Police Station, fixates on this new problem, differentiating it from Covid-19. He concludes that it’s caused by the medicine called ‘Next’ produced by the government to cure pneumonia.

It was supposedly banned from consumption but is found readily available amongst the population.

Lee Jong-Tae is an infected trainee who deals the drug to others. While taking down Jong-tae, Sae-bom is scratched and later taken to a secret facility where the infected were being quarantined.

This facility was run by Lieutenant Colonel Han Tae-sok from the Crisis Management Center at CDSC HQ. He reveals that it is a mutant virus that affects the brain and is not airborne like the Corona Virus but is transmitted via a bite or a scratch. He then adds that anyone infected either dies from excessive bleeding or develops a bloodlust.

Sae-Bom is released from the facility once she tests negative for the sickness as Yi-Hyun happens to locate the drug that caused the disease, turning it in to Tae-Seok.

Sae-Bom threatens to leak the secret about the facility and the disease when his partner at SOU, Lee Seung-young, also shows symptoms of the new infection, the Rita Virus.

Seung-young ultimately leaks the information at the expense of his life. This act leads to a butterfly chain of chaos dictated by the fear of getting infected.

Sae-Bom gets her dream house in a high-rise building as she gets into an agreement with Yi-Hyun about being married on paper to acquire the apartment, while the spread of the infection follows her life in the new apartment and all aspects of human behaviour in crisis unfolds.


Han Hyo-Joo and Park Hyung-Sik play magnificent roles under the spotlight, portraying the balance of yin and yang under difficult circumstances.

Hyo-Joo brings out the confidence and spontaneity of her character with her body language, while Hyung-sik brings out his character’s calmness and intuition via his dialogue delivery.

Jo Woo-jin, who played the role of Han Tae-Seok, carried out his character’s constant change in being on the side of the good or bad. His performance brings out his character’s sincerity and desperation at the same time.

The cast is hand-picked skilfully to bring out their characters’ ups and downs via their dialogue delivery, body language and facial expressions. Their performance makes the web series more realistic and brings the whole theme together to make it intriguing for the audience.


Not a dull moment passes by in the residence of ‘Seyang Forest Le Ciel 101’ as the ‘mad human disease’ spreads among the residents. A huge plus to the web series was that every episode brought a new adventure and something new to look forward to.

The web series is one of the first to portray the elements of the pandemic realistically and showcase the panic and horror people went through. 

Not only did ‘Happiness’ display real-life incidents brilliantly, but it also created a thriller out of it that feels relatable to the viewers.

Albeit a show on zombie apocalypse, ‘Happiness’ does not rely on excessive gore and shock tactics to keep the audience engaged at all times.

There is a certain element of humour too in the middle of so much tension and horror. 

It brings out the human behaviour vividly from portraying selfish people during a crisis to kind people who are inviting and want to help each other survive the situation.

The CGI and the soundtrack were extremely creative and realistic and aided the entertainment value of the drama. 


A major drawback lies with the ending of the web series, which does not match the rest of the storytelling. The ‘happy ending’ that the show gave seemed too good to be true.

The last episode left little to nothing for it to continue to a new season or give us something to look forward to, while the main point of the ending appears to be something that gives the audience a hint of hope in the light of the pandemic, failing to be true to the original core of its theme.


While exploring love in the middle of widespread disease, the web series portrays the dark side of humanity and how humans fall fragile to circumstances while finding it difficult to keep their sanity in the face of a crisis. This idea is very true as we faced the same during Covid-19. The show is a must-watch as it gains perspective as characters develop or become worse under the pressure of the new virus.

Rating: 4.5/5

Also Read: Happiness (2021) summary and ending explained

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