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article imageReview: Train To Busan serves up a superior zombie movie Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 12, 2017 in Entertainment
Seoul - Zombie movies are released at a plentiful rate and many are mediocre. 'Train To Busan' is, however, a genre redefining moment. Well-scripted and effectively paced, it provides plenty of excitement on-board a claustrophobic train ride to Busan.
The zombie genre of horror movies has gone through several changes, some for the better and some for the worst. Beginning with Hammer-style flicks where zombies were reanimated corpses of Voodo lore (such as The Plague of the Zombies), and moving through the use of zombies as biting (pun-intended) social satire of George A. Romero, from the 1980s the zombie movie became mostly devalued with most features substandard (a trend that continues today, with last year's The Cell starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson being one to avoid). There are notable exceptions, of course, such as 28 Days Later and The Girl With All The Gifts (the latter reviewed by Digital Journal).
While it remains there is only so much that can be done with zombies, directors can be inventive with new situations and in creating tension at the right moment. Having decent actors, conveying the sense of terror and hopelessness, is an added bonus. With such movies are far and few between, Train To Busan is one that breaks through and the South Korean movie it is, with a generous helping of fast action and claustrophobic fear, the best made zombie movie for some years.
Social satire competes with melodrama and gore into this frenetic South Korean horror movie - Train ...
Social satire competes with melodrama and gore into this frenetic South Korean horror movie - Train to Busan - about a rail-borne plague.
Film Fan
Train to Busan is directed by Yeon Sang-ho and it stars South Koren actors Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, and Ma Dong-seok. The premise of the movie is a zombie outbreak in Seoul, which rapidly spreads through the country. One city has managed to fend off the hoards of fast moving zombies (this is no The Walking Dead) - Busan. The film takes place inside a train bound to Busan. Inevitably zombie plague begins on the train compromising the safety of the passengers. Will any of the them reach Busan alive?
Where the movie works is developing real stories around the main characters, with their back stories fleshing them out (this time, no pun intended) and allowing the audience to develop empathy. There are two key off-train points too (in Daejeon and East Daegu), which breaks up the dynamic to good effect, easing the on-board claustrophobic elements to bigger cinematographic lanscapes, before returning to the train.
As well as developing the characters there is also an underlying current of social commentary (it is greedy corporations that seem to have caused the outbreak) and insights into the human condition (who is likely and who is unlikely to help another human being). These moments are interspersed with bursts of skillfully staged action.
Following the surprise international success of the movie a sequel is being prepared along with, what is customary for South Korean and Japanese international hits, a Hollywood-esque remake. For horror fans, and those who want to catch a movie in the zombie genera that's a little different, Train to Busan scores five out five.
More about Korea, South Korea, Train to Busan, Busan, Zombies
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