Zombie movies have lost their pizzazz in the last few years. The last big hit was World War Z and after that, the studios decided it’s time for something else. However, zombies are quite resilient and here we are with one of the best zombie movies in recent years. And it’s coming to us from fucking South Korea! Dare I say it came close to Romero? I dare not, but they were damn close. Directed by Sang-ho Yeon, who also wrote the script for this masterpiece, Train To Busan (his first live-action movie) is actually a sequel to Seoul Station , an animated story about a zombie outbreak in Seoul.
Yeon fucking nailed the atmosphere and pacing, especially when it comes to camera-work and stunts. I mean, those stunts were so realistic, energetic and threatening that I thought this is some blockbuster. It’s so easy to go for that cheap close-up of action and it saves a lot of money too. Not to mention the shaky camera gimmick for added tension. Director said fuck that and created some of the better-filmed action sequences, especially involving zombies. Frantic and fast-paced action in tight and claustrophobic train carts was very engaging and with some never-before-seen zombie sequences. The movie’s only flaws are a bit stretched last quarter and overemphasized sacrifice. This is purely subjective and what I found to be stretched, someone else could find riveting and traumatic.
Seok-Woo is a divorced businessman, overworked, and worried about his career. His ten-year-old daughter Su-an rarely sees him, so she decides to be more proactive and convinces him to go on a trip to her mother in Busan… The rest was inevitable.
What separates Train To Busan from other zombie flicks is that serious atmosphere, without almost any gimmicks to make the audience feel comfortable. The sheer realism of the situation cuts deep, blurring the whole zombie thing in your mind and leaving you wondering what would your fellow citizens do in case of an emergency. They would fuck you over, that’s for sure, I mean even the mainstream movies have been saying that the real question is how much would they fuck you over? I will let Mr. Yong-Suk answer that question for you in this movie.
I also loved how Yeon incorporated elements that are prevalent in their culture: trains, social structure, punctuality, K-Pop, and idealized social ideology. Social structure in the sense that everyone has a determining role, although this could be just good character development and idealized social ideology in the sense that both people of authority and common people are willing to hastily help others. These two elements were presented in the right way proving we’re watching a masterpiece.
In the end, I just have two more points: I have seen a lot (a looooot) of zombie movies and this one kept my attention and zombie-on. I know that nerd-on sounds so much better, butt erection jokes must be made, it’s the law. And Fear the fucking walking dead ain’t got nothing on Train To Busan. I’m making this comparison since both of them are dealing with the very beginnings of the outbreak (credit for this reference Tom Saint, from France).
P.S., Of course, there’s already a remake in the works. Gaumont bought the rights and the whole thing should kick off sometime in late 2017. And if you’re looking for more Asian zombie movies I recommend you first check the television show Kingdom and then watch I am a Hero , Shi cheng  and then finally, the best one of them all, Rampant .
P.S.S. The other big element of this movie, apart from zombies, is the very train journey. So, if you want to check out more movies set on trains I recommend you check out: Snowpiercer and Last Passenger for train horror movies and Unstoppable, Transsiberian, Murder on the Orient Express, The Commuter, Source Code and The Taking of Pelham 123
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Writer: Sang-ho Yeon
Cast: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jung, Dong-seok Ma, Woo-sik Choi, Sohee, Eui-sung Kim
Fun Facts: Gong Yoo (Seok-Woo, the divorced businessman) was actually born in Busan.