Train to Busan (MA15+) | Review


Luke McWilliams gives us his review of the 2016 South Korean action horror film, Train to Busan, which can be streamed now to watch in isolation.

In Seoul, the cynical and selfish fund manager Seok-woo instructs his firm to sell all shares of a local chemical plant due to its recent leak. Coming home to his daughter, Seok-woo eventually agrees to take her to her mother’s house for her birthday, due to his absence from her recent singing recital. The two board a train en route to Busan, where wackiness ensues!

Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Zak Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake brought zombies back into vogue. Since then, zombies have spread from movies to TV’s The Walking Dead and the South Korean period zombie TV series, Kingdom. Train to Busan takes established zombie tropes and mixes a social commentary on selfishness and capitalism; survivors fighting for survival, and even zombies piling onto one another to get what they want.

The zombies are running corpses, crashing into each other, smashing through windows and perpetually trying to catch a train! All this horror action is captured in broad daylight, reminiscent of Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host. Like Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer, the train houses a less complex class structure; that of ‘us’ versus ‘the other’. The fear of infection is as terrifying as the zombies themselves, and our passengers take the fight to each other in paranoid fashion. Seok-woo’s daughter is his moral compass, his strength and vulnerability, challenging his selfish philosophies and definition of ‘winning’.

Verdict: An electric, thrilling experience, reinvigorating the zombie genre and showing that it is in no way slowing down! 4.5 stars.

Train to Busan is showing on SBS On Demand and Netflix.

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