Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Starring: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim, Yu-mi Jeong, Dong-seok Ma, Woo-sik Choi
Running Time: 118mins
Train to Busan begins with a farmer in a truck goes through a quarantine check point. He asks what is if for and gets the reply that there has been a minor leak from the local Biotech site. As he pulls away he hits and kills a deer and then drives off. As we pan over to see the remains on the deer it re-animates and stares at the camera with pale white eyes.
Meanwhile we meet distant, busy father Seok Woo and his daughter Soo-an. It is Soo-an’s birthday and the thing she wants most is to see her mother in Busan. Eventually Seok Woo agrees to take her on the train. On the way to the station there is obviously something up, a procession of fire trucks and police zoom past. They board the train and just as it is about to set off someone who has been bitten gets on board, collapses and changes. And this is where the film really kicks into gear with much biting and gore splattering violence from the really physical zombies; fast, rabid but incapable of any higher thought.
After the initial attacks a small number manage to be safe but are trapped in a carriage with the infected on all sides. They stop at a station to be rescued by the military but they have already been over powered by the infected. A mad rush back to the train results in the group being whittled down and split up in different sections the train, separated by many carriages full of the infected. And so begins their journey to reconnect with the other survivors, travelling through the dangerous, infected filled carriages to get there.
I found the film to be really well paced with moments of extreme tension punctuated with lulls in the action to catch your breath as you follow the survivors’ situations. The characters are realistic and varied and they all bring something to the screen.
As zombie films go, this is right up there with 28 Days Later as one of my favourite of the genre. And these are the 28 Days Later variety of zombie/infected; Fast and violent, quick to change from first bite. It seemed to me that hardly any CGI was involved in the creation of the majority of the infected and because of that they retain their realism (as much as they can do being zombies!). All of the infected put in really good performances to portray the rabid, jerky movements and the brain dead desire to kill and bite/infect any living being.
There is some lightness to this film and it enjoys a few funny moments and also showed an emotional side that took me by surprise. I have a soft spot for the visual style of Korean cinema, from the films that I have seen they manage to make things explode out of the screen with their vivd colours and this helps no end with the blood and the passengers standing out against the bland colour of the inside of the train, adding to the action and power of the scenes.
Train to Busan is a great, wild ride of violence and vivid imagery that will take you all the way to the last station. A must for any aficionado of the horror or zombie genre.