While a zombie-virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.
I love a ton of “foreign” horror films. If you’ve ever taken a glance at my recommendations, you’d have noticed a good number of “foreign” titles making the list. Korean film makers, like their Japanese cousins, have a different and often fresh direction when compared to their western counterparts. So much so in fact that western audiences remain blissfully unawares that the “new” clever horror flick they just caught down at the cinema on Friday night is actually a remake of something successful out of Japan, Korea, or even Thailand.
I have a modest collection of Korean horror films and I actually lived there for a few years. Knowing a little of the language and a lot of the culture, I was obviously thrilled to be able to sit down to the latest offering: Train to Busan. Already a huge hit in its homeland, Train to Busan is also doing incredibly well in foreign markets, and for good reason.
This film is epic. It’s paced perfectly, with just the right ratio of character development to action. It’s a zombie flick; a genre that can easily get campy and comical even when it doesn’t try to. Train to Busan manages to avoid this though by mostly dropping the cliched characters, instead opting for a more realistic band of fearful, flawed family men and their dependents. It savagely purveys the lack of humanity that fear and fatalism bring out in people when faced with a life and death situation.
While certain scenes really satisfy that craving we get for ravenous hordes and bloodied baseball bats, others are really heart breaking and harrowing. Our heroes barely manage to escape a near impossible encounter before once again being tossed back into an ocean of undead Asians. It really is edge-of-your-seat stuff.
The movie smartly tackles many themes like parenthood, social status, selfishness versus selflessness, responsibility, loyalty, and love. It offers morsels of hope in what seems like the churning chaos of hopelessness. Definitely recommended, but probably a little too depressing for a date night. Overall one of the better movies I’ve watched this year. Oh, and Busan is actually a pretty awesome city. definitely a recommended tourist spot when not overrun by the undead. Catch the trailer below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.