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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Train to Busan (2016)




The zombie movies keep coming as I cover one of the best to have come out in the last few years. Train to Busan is from South Korea and hit the horror scene with a huge splash generating a lot of buzz among fans. Since I’ve already covered the animated prequel to this one I figured it was about time that I covered it for the Horror Dude Blog.

Seok-woo is an important broker who works long hours at his job. His daughter, Su-an, wants to see her mother on her birthday. After screwing up a gift because he really hasn’t been paying attention to his daughter he is guilted into taking her to Busan by train for a visit. I forgot to mention that they are divorced so there is that added bit of baggage. The pair board an early morning train just as things start going to hell!

On the drive to the station the father and daughter see emergency vehicles speeding around the city and a large fire in one of the high-rise buildings. Just before the train pulls out an infected girl runs aboard and that causes a breakout of the zombie virus. At least I think that is what is going on. If you get bit some sort of infection sets in and you die only to return to attack the living. Though these creatures don’t eat the flesh of their victims, only bite them to pass the sickness along. The rest of the movie is an ever-decreasing group of survivors trying to make it to Busan, which is supposed to be a secure and safe city.

Is this a zombie movie? Well I’ve included it on this list, so I think that it must be. The infected manage to survive things that would incapacitate or even kill a living human being regardless of how sick they were. These suckers jump from buildings and fall off of helicopters breaking bones and bodies while still getting up to chase after the living. That brings me to another thing that I need to point out. These zombies run like crazy. While I prefer my shuffling Romero zombies, I’ll admit that the dead in Train to Busan are scary as hell. They move fast and can’t be stopped easily. The only advantage the living has is that they can’t see in the dark. This is used to great effect during the train’s passage thru tunnels.

Excellent characters and cast
One of the things that I enjoyed most about the movie is how quickly it sets up the story and gets to the good stuff. It does a wonderful job of introducing the characters and tossing them to the zombies. Make no mistake though, while this is quick we do get well defined characters. This is critical because they are the heart and soul of this movie. Not only do the father and daughter become relatable to the viewer but we also get a pair of elderly sisters and a man with his pregnant wife. You care about all of them and others and this shouldn’t be a spoiler that for many it doesn’t end well. Train to Busan has a lot more heart than most entries into the subgenre and that alone makes it a good watch.

Decent zombies/infected
Can’t talk a zombie movie without zombies. They all fall into the milky eyed predatory variety with some gruesome injuries here and there. Bones break, and bodies are twisted into horrible shapes as they swarm towards their victims. The wounds they inflict on the living aren’t too gruesome and are all bites, again these zombies don’t want to eat you, but instead are only trying to spread the love. Still there is enough here that I think horror fans will be interested in the gore. Not a bloodbath like the Italians or Savini inspired chaos we all enjoy, but it is enough.

Train to Busan has an excellent reputation and is easy to find. The movie deserves this reputation and needs to be seen. This is a must watch and if you haven’t seen it yet do so this October. It is a perfect movie for this Halloween season.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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