Lemming Off a Cliff: Train to Busan Movie Review

Next Entertainment World (presents) / RedPeter Film

Next Entertainment World (presents) / RedPeter Film

Obioma Oparah, Staff Writer

Lately when you think of zombie movie you tend to think of a topic that is radically overdone or in need of something that’ll spice it up in order to give a recommendation or the time worth a second viewing, luckily Train to Busan is that, a fresh new take on the zombie genre

Train to Busan or Busanhaeng is a South Korean zombie apocalypse thriller directed by Yeon Sang-ho and stars Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi and Ma Dong-Seok. The film premiered in the Midnight Screenings Section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on May 13th and set a record as the first Korean Film of 2016 to break the audience record of over 10 million theatergoers on August 7th. While I can’t say that I know any of the listed actors, this film has not only got me more interested in foreign films and entertainment, but Korean films and entertainments as well. If you can’t take my word for it, I’ll just explain to you what makes this movie so amazing.

The film begins with a man attempting to enter a Quarantine Zone detained by the Biotech District, now pissed off the man gets distracted while driving by his phone and hits a deer. While the man drives off the camera pans to the deer who proceeds to bring itself back from the dead with lifeless white and red eyes; it has begun! Fast forward several moments and we are presented with Seok-woo our protagonist. Seok-woo is a salaryman and a wealthy man, but with such wealth comes neglect, that being the neglect of his very young daughter Su-an. Turns out her birthday is tomorrow, worried that Su-an might think that he has forgotten her birthday Seok-woo reassures her by bringing out her gift early, it’s a NIntendo Wii! A hilarious scene then plays out as the camera pans to Su-an’s counter displaying two Nintendo Wiis making the grand total 3.Unphased by her father’s forgetfulness Su-an begs Seok-woo to take her by train to Busan to see her mother (Seok-woo and Su-an’s mother are divorced). As our characters drive to the station we can see the city deteriorating as various skyscrapers cath fire, unsure of what’s going on our characters still proceed to board The Korean Train Express to Busan. Unknownst to the passengers a girl sneaks on the train with a noticeable bite mark, kicking off the zombie infested train ride.

Where Train to Busan really shines is in two aspects its characters and the setting. Train to Busan possesses a colorful cast of characters being, a husband and his pregnant wife, a high school baseball team, a homeless man with PTSD and a selfish CEO who is more of an antagonist than the zombies themselves surprisingly. I found myself quite attached to the characters in the movie’s span of two hours especially expecting a child and the courageous homeless man, which I found surprising considering that most of the time when watching a thriller or horror film I find myself either yelling at the screen calling out the character’s mistakes like they can hear me or forgetting the movie within the span of a week, but Train to Busan seemed to alleviate that problem, in particular with its setting. Unlike most movies in the genre whose characters are placed in an open world setting tasked with gathering materials or finding a cure to the outbreak, instead the cast of Train to Busan are placed in a train with the outbreak which mean cramped spaces often times moving from train car to train car for safety or to regroup with others after switching trains all while avoiding the zombies.

I recommend Train to Busan for anyone looking for a fresh take on zombie movies or for just a good watch in general. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of foreign films or reading subtitles off the screen, I guarantee you that a good time will be had, heck, it’s even accessible on Netflix at the moment.