Screenshot from Zero Media’s trailer
Rating: 4/5 Star
Sometimes, you can only take so much of American horror movies and feel a bit burnt out with everything that’s available to you. Foreign countries, however, have come up with some truly amazing Foreign horror movies that bring the genre into an entirely new level of scary movies; such “Troll Hunter,” “The Host”, and the original Japanese versions of “The Ring” and “The Grudge.” I’ve often found that horror films from the Asian culture are a million times scarier than anything an American director can cook up. Sometimes, they can even put a new spin on an old classic; like what British comedy/horror film “Shaun of the Dead” did for zombies.
“Train to Busan” is another different take on the flesh-eating zombies we’ve all come to fear and love. When a businessman takes his estranged daughter on a train ride back to his ex-wife’s home in Busan, things turn dark fast as a girl infected with some kind of virus snuck on board the train. One bloody bite later and soon, more than half of the train’s passengers have turned into ravenous, all-consuming zombies. Now the remaining passengers struggle to survive any way they can; unable to even get off the train as the virus has decimated nearly every major location in the country.
People often debate which is better: classic slow zombies or new fast-moving zombies. “Train to Busan” is all about wild, crazy fast zombies and I personally think this makes them far more intense and terrifying than your typical slug stepping “classic” kind of zombie. Once someone’s been bitten, the actual sight of one of these zombies was intense enough it sent chills down my back. Seeing such maddening horror as people spasm and scream; wildly thrashing about until they find some fresh human meat to sink their bloody teeth into. The use of the train made for some very interesting sequences with everyone crammed together and trying to survive.
It’s a simple concept: zombies on a train, but director Sang-ho Yeon knew how to spin this into a far more terrifying and compelling story. The relationship between the father and daughter blooms beautifully (as well as tragically), as they try and find each other amongst all this zombie chaos. The deeper we go into the story, the more new characters emerge and contribute more and more material to the plot at hand. It creates a sort of horror-themed community that forces perfect strangers to stick together. People have to fight side by side, plowing through zombies in order to get to their friends and loved ones trapped in another car.
The film is perfectly paced. Everything happens, stops and starts up again with just enough time and information for you to process throughout the film. The sequence where the main group travels from car to car INTO the ones packed with zombies; desperate to save their friends and families is insanely engaging and highly compelling. Despite this mostly taking place on a train, we do get a sense from other people just how messed up the world has become because of this virus. Each new pre-destined stop on the train’s schedule leads to a potential new horde of zombies just waiting to swarm over and engulf anyone that comes their way.
The stakes keep getting raised and so does the body count and it keeps the film’s momentum going strong; from bloody start to violent finish. Those with weak stomachs or low tolerance for crazed people jumping out of nowhere and eating people’s faces off will probably want to steer clear. The film is very bleak and its ending is not what I would call a smile worthy sendoff. But still, this is truly one of the best zombie movies I’ve seen in years. Sang-ho Yeon truly knew what he was doing and doesn’t skimp out on any opportunity for frights or feels.
Overall, “Train to Busan” is one of those amazing Foreign movies that are totally worth sitting through the subtitles for. The characters stick with you (sometimes too heavily), the drama and intensity are excruciatingly real and the zombie action and makeup just looks fantastic no matter how many times I see or it which scenes I loop over. This is the kind of zombie material we need these days, this is the kind of horror movie material that everyone needs to observe and enjoy once in their life. If you’re a zombie fan and are seeking something really good that has zombies in it that you’ve ACTUALLY seen, then this train is one you definitely don’t want to miss.