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Arts in Review

We’re Alive: zombie story revives the radio play genre

The radio play is a charming form of media that are uncommon in the modern age.

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By Daniel Holmberg (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: January 28, 2015

Interesting characters and a strong plot put a fresh spin on the zombie apocalypse story. (Image:  Ma_Co2013 / Flickr)

Interesting characters and a strong plot put a fresh spin on the zombie apocalypse story. (Image: Ma_Co2013 / Flickr)

The radio play is a charming form of media that are uncommon in the modern age. To find a radio play in the zombie genre is somewhat of an anomaly, and so it is difficult to compare to anything else.

The first thing I will say is that I quite enjoyed We’re Alive. It filled a niche that I hardly knew existed. We’re Alive is a survival story, following a group of Americans trying to make their way in the aftermath of a global apocalypse that has spawned the walking dead. The story runs about 50 hours, and managed to keep me enthralled throughout. I listened to the story mostly on the bus, and on more than one occasion I was tempted to keep listening while in class just to find out what happened.

The characters were interesting, although several were cliché. The different voices were mostly distinguishable, helping to keep track of the wealth of characters talking throughout the story. Being an audio medium, it was not always clear what was going on in an action scene. The crew did well with their sound effects, and quickly learned that most action scenes did better with narration to guide the listener through what was happening.

The true strength of the series was in the plot rather than the believability of the story. With any zombie story, there must be some suspension of disbelief to allow the idea of zombies to work out “scientifically.” I don’t want to spoil the story, but suffice it to say that the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy the story becomes more and more difficult as it goes on.

Something that often frustrates me with stories in general is the abruptness of their endings. We’re Alive was a real treat for me in that it had an excellent epilogue to give the listener some insight into the future of the characters they had come to know over 50 hours of listening. It was relatively short, but gave the story a sweet ending, rather than the usual explosion just before credits roll.

We’re Alive is an enjoyable listen, something to keep you awake on long bus rides to and from class, or something to plug in and listen to while you drive. Just be careful how loud you crank it — people tend to freak out if there are gunshots and screams coming from your car as you drive past.

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