Zombie films, as a whole, are a plenty. Pick one out of a line up and it is usually the same formula just reheated. Especially since the modern-day resurgence that started in the early 00s and continues through this day, they are almost impossible to avoid at this point. After a recommendation from some online friends, I decided to check out the Korean film “Train to Busan.”
A couple quick notes to emphasize the set up for this film. A.) It is fast. As in the zombies are sprinters, and the action takes no time to begin. B.) There is a lot of emotion throughout this film. And C.) The effects are a wonderful hybrid of practical and CG – to the point that it can often be hard to discern the difference.
Train to Busan is simply a story of a father and his daughter (who don’t exactly see eye to eye) who are taking a train together on her birthday. Shortly after the train departs, a zombie apocalypse is triggered and they are caught surrounded with nowhere to go. The film carries a lot of claustrophobic nightmare fuel as the film takes place mainly on a single train with its many cars, and even when it does expand by going to places such as a station, it still feels so small because there is so many zombies. There is literally nowhere to go. And since they are so fast and violent, you hardly have time to react in the first place. The deaths turn the characters into zombies within seconds, making the initial onslaught on board the train even more dramatic. We watch passengers and workers alike get eaten and begin eating within moments.
This film had me holding my breath for a great duration of the film, which admittedly doesn’t happen too often nowadays. It takes some great turns, withholds the tension all the way throughout, and has characters that I fell in love with. I began to cry at points and I wanted to scream at others. The director does a great job of making you feel helpless while you watch people you slowly care about begin to lash out at each other and fall victims over very simple mistakes. And this movie is big. It is no wonder this film was one of the most successful Korean films in history.
I went into this film rather blind and I was not disappointed in the slightest. I recommend this film to anyone who thinks they’ve seen everything related to zombies, or to anyone who simply wants to be entertained. This film holds its weight all the way to the finale with very little time to breathe or use the restroom.
Train to Busan is available for streaming on Shudder and Netflix.
'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra