31 Days of Horror: “Train to Busan”



Title: Train To Busan
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Posted October 13, 2016 by

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Leave it Korea, to breathe new life into the worn out zombie genre. Writer/director Sang-ho Yeon‘s first live action film blends elements of the fast and furious zombies in Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” and the class warfare of Joon-ho Bong‘s “Snowpiercer”. The result is a kick ass zombie film, with a strong “Selfishness=death and love=sacrifice” moral to it’s story.

The opening scene of “Train to Busan” shows a truck driver, driving through a quarantine zone, where there has been some kind of chemical spill. When the driver makes the mistake of taking his eyes off the road, he hits a deer and, being late for his delivery, keeps on driving. Then we see the lifeless corpse of the deer twitch, snap, crackle, and pop back to life.

From there, we meet our main protagonists, workaholic Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) and his neglected, sad-eyed daughter Soo-an (Soo-an Kim). After mistakenly getting her a birthday present that she already had, Seok Woo promises to give her the one gift she really wants; to go visit her mother in Busan. He gets his affairs in order, buys two tickets, and they board the high-speed train, from Seoul to Busan. Unfortunately, so does an unwell woman, who is clearly infected with something nasty.

train-to-busan-2Before you know it, the woman has attacked her first victim, and the virus rapidly begins spreading through the back cars of the train. The group dynamic quickly comes into play, when the first-class passengers barricade themselves from the rest of the train, leaving the poor bastards in the cheap seat cars to fend for themselves.

With stronger themes, and subsequently a stronger heart, than it’s western counterparts, “Train to Busan” is an impressive genre exercise. Both the dangers of neglecting one’s family for the sake of a career, and reacting to danger with an “Every man for himself” mentality are on full display throughout the film. It really screams that if humanity is to survive the violent chaos, of the current, global situation, we have to work for the greater good and not our own, individualistic desires. train-to-busan-3

Even if you push aside the strong, social commentary, “Train to Busan” is one hell of a fun zombie flick! Constant tension, and hordes of fast, blood-covered, twitchy undead provide more than enough action and gore. The different challenges that face the survivors, in each car they must pass through, provide a fun, unrelenting pace that never lets up for more than a second. It is a well-balanced film, with a well-told story. That, my friends, is a rare treat in the zombie genre.




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