Sunday Matinee: Train To Busan

I’m always interested in seeing other countries and cultures take on more American pop culture. The current zombie genre was first started way back with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead but it seen spread to other countries. Train to Busan is a South Korean horror/thriller from animation director Sang-ho Yeon.

This is Sang-ho Yeon’s first live action movie, his previous two were both animated features the excellent King of Pigs and The Fake.

The story starts with a man driving into a quarantined area where there was been a “small chemical leak” from the nearby chemical factory. The man complains to the guards about it and they let him proceed. On the road the man hits a deer. After he leaves the deer gets back up all creepy and zombie like.

Next we meet Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) a fund manager whose wife left him and he has a daughter who he ignores over work. The daughter Soo-an (Soo-an Kim) wants to go see her mother for her birthday and the mother is in the city of Busan. Seok doesn’t want to take his daughter because he would have to leave work but he does. The next day several people all get on a train in Seoul. Seok Woo and his daughter Soo-an along with Sang Hwa (Dong-seok Ma) and his pregnant wife Sung Gyeong (Yu-mi Jung) a baseball team, two elderly sisters and evil CEO Yong-Suk (Eui-sung Kim).

A young woman flees from a scuffle and boards the train with a bite on her leg. The train departs and the woman succumbs to the bite and becomes a zombie. She attacks people and soon several cars are filled with zombies. The survivors barricade themselves and hope to reach safety. The train is ordered to stop at Daejeon for help but when they get there the station is quiet with no signs of life. The survivors unload but quickly find that the place like most of South Korea is overrun with zombies. The remaining survivors make a run back to the train but get trapped in different compartments from each other with zombies everywhere.

At times the zombies seem a little silly, they are the fast moving breed but they do have some weaknesses. They can’t see in the dark giving our heroes small opportunities to try and sneak past hordes but this is overall a pretty good intense thriller. The movie has become a huge hit internationally and director Sang-ho Yeon went and made an animated prequel to this called Seoul Station which was released shortly after Train to Busan. It looks pretty good it’s a shame that Well Go USA didn’t get the rights for it along with Train to Busan. In fact it doesn’t look like anybody in North America at the moment is releasing Seoul Station which is a shame because I really want to see it. Still Train to Busan is pretty damn good. I look forward to Well Go USA’s The Wailing.

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