Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jeong
Action, Horror, Thriller
5 / 5
It honestly surprises me that after so many zombie movies have come down the pike we could still love another but that’s what audiences are doing and this reviewer right along with them. The ratings on all the services like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are stellar. People are loving this foreign zombie film and for good reason.
Suspense is built through the use of a train. This isn’t a prop either. Somehow the director got access to a major metropolitan train going to Busan and these actors are really riding it. There’s something about mass transportation that equalizes us as citizens. Whether one is a drunken bum or a preschool teacher or a major officer in a fortune 500 company, if one is on the train, one is the same as any other.
Once that playing field is set, questions arise as to who “should live” and who is best equipped to. There are humanitarians who shouldn’t die and asshole businessmen who perhaps should. You’ll have to watch the film to get that reference. These are zombies like most others we’ve seen. One unique feature is that they are just as fast if not faster as normal humans. There is no haunting amble like the ones from The Walking Dead. Their speed makes them terrifying and it isn’t limited to their movement: they turn in a minute or two it seemed to me. Imagine seeing a bite on your body and knowing you had not hours but minutes and seconds. What would you do? Would you stay near your loved ones or would you get away and do what you knew you had to do?
There is a tender story here that brought me near tears more than once. You have the main character, Seok Woo who is a COO for a major company. He rarely spends time with his (what appears to be an 8-9 year old) daughter. She resents him for it but more intensely she longs for his time. We get the feeling he loves her, that is not the issue. He is simply a workaholic who puts the company above his family. His priorities suck. To give an example, he buys here the same game system he bought her the year before and didn’t even remember. The sideline story of he and his daughter is extremely moving and works well amidst the zombie craziness.
There are a lot of twists in the story. The director also wrote the movie. It has a take-your-breath-away ending you may or may not expect. Predictions varied in my family. By the way, I watched it with my 9-year-old and she couldn’t leave the room she was glued to the film. This film will appeal to horror and suspense films more than anyone. At the same time, I see a universal appeal in this film. I must warn you, it does have subtitles but they are easy to follow. Moreover, there are long stretches of time where there is no dialog at all. It tells the story through the images.
There are at least a couple more side-stories that make the movie and its characters endearing. You do care about these characters, they are not flat lifeless victims in a horror film. I would recommend this film for older children: 10 and up but parents should use their best judgement.
Like I shared, my 9-year-old loved it but she was clinging to me the whole movie which made it easy for me to explain things. For fans of the genre I highly recommend this film. I give it a perfect 5/5.