Review: ‘Train to Busan’

South Korean Cinema


Genre: Horror

Directed by Yeon Sang-ho

Released 20th July 2016

Gong Yoo as Seok-woo, a trust fund manager who is too focused on work
Kim Su-an as Soo-an, Seok-woo’s Daughter who wants to see her mum in Busan
Ma Dong-seok as Sang-hwa, a no nonsense working class man
Jung Yu-mi  as Seong-kyeong, Sang-hwa’s pregnant wife
Kim Eui-sung as Yon-suk, a rich selfish COO

Train to Busan

I’ve always enjoyed horror films and so by default, zombie films too. But I, like many others, began to get bored of the zombie genre, especially after the zombie boom we had. So I’ve been put off by zombie movies for a while, but for good reason, we haven’t had a great one in a long time.  I mean look at what we’ve been given recently, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Dead Snow Red vs Dead and whatever Resident Evil still keeps spewing out. So people have genuine excuses not to feel hyped for a zombie movie. Now obviously you’re here because you want to learn about a great Korean movie to watch, and you may not like Zombie or horror movies. But this movie is a refreshing take on the zombie horror genre and creates a well structured and flowing narrative that I implore anyone to watch.

The films main character is Seok-woo a father and trust fund manager who is so caught up in his job he never makes time for his daughter Soo-an. Seok-woo has split from his wife and only he and his daughter live together in Seoul. Seok-woo is the typical businessman dad, the one who never has time for his daughter, missing her recitals and not paying enough attention to her life.  the two decide to visit Soo-ann’s mother in Busan and the next day they go to catch the train there.

Now during all this, ‘riots’ are going on in the city, which we later discover to be a virus outbreak, and so the chain of events begins. The films setting is very interesting as from my own memory, we’ve had zombies in malls, zombies in houses, zombies pretty much everywhere but I have never seen a zombie on a train.

Train to Busan

A train is compact and long, which makes a great place for the feeling of claustrophobia to take over. Going up and down a train full of zombies is a real struggle. We see how the main characters use their wits to travel through the horde of infected.  One of the interesting things about this movie is watching the characters learn about the zombies and maneuver around what they know. the characters rarely fight the zombies, choosing to use stealth and tactics to get around them.

Instead of running headlong into a horde of flesh eating monsters, like most zombie films, using tactics to maneuver around them is a refreshing idea to watch. this film takes the old tried and used ideas of zombie cliche and improves it. trying out new ideas in a visually brutal and moving story. I can not recommend this film enough. usually watching zombie movies i feel infected myself as my brain was eaten by the stupidity of the usual narrative. Train to Busan is refreshing, brutal, fun ,and moving, a must see for anyone.


3 thoughts on “Review: ‘Train to Busan’

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