Train To Busan is a Zombie movie. It is my very first zombie movie actually and the only reason I watched it is because ImpressionBlend reviewed it and it sounded amazing. And then I noticed some of my favourite actors were in it and immediately checked to see if it was showing near me….and surprise surprise….it was! You cannot imagine what a big deal this is because world films usually don’t show in my city and certainly not in non cultural centres so I was super excited.
The cast features some of my favourite people (as I mentioned earlier) like Gong Yoo of Coffee Prince fame (though I love him in Silenced more). He plays the main character Seok-Woo who I a divorced father who is so busy with work that he has ended up unwittingly ignoring his child. When her birthday comes up he tries to get her what all kids her age like but she only wants one thing, to go to Busan to see her mother whom she misses dearly. With no other option, and with prodding from his ageing mother, he accepts and takes the next day off so he can take his daughter to Busan. On the train however, just before the doors shut, an injured girl falls in and we see that something is seriously wrong with her.
The slow transformation she makes is very interesting, although not too dramatic, to watch and immediately the film gives you this adrenalin rush. After the initial slow change however the other changes are rapid, almost instant, giving the film this air of urgency. It’s like, “Nope, no time to lose. Once bitten you’re gone. There’s no option.”
The other two characters I really like were also main characters here. Ma Dong-Seok as Sang Hwo a proud father to be who’s busy pampering and protecting his pregnant wife, Seong-Kyeong (played by Jung Yu Mi). He joins with Seok-Woo and tries to protect their little circle which includes his wife, Seok-Woo’s daughter, Soo-An and a small number from a high school sports team. While things slowly go from bad to worse they’re losing people by the dozens and having to resort to hard choices and sacrifices to keep their loved ones safe.
I cannot speak about the film in comparison to other zombie films but on its own I have to say it was a brilliant introduction to me. I’m terrified of horror films and definitely Asian horror which is said to be much scarier than western horror so I was a little nervous but it wasn’t terrifying. Yes it had a sense of urgency and a sense of fear but it isn’t like The Ring or Two Sisters.
Direction, I can imagine, was tough and since I don’t watch horror much I have to saw I can’t compare it to much. There were a few places where it was slowed down for emotional impact and the transformations were also slowed own for emotional impact and those felt a little jarring to me but apart from that, it was great. Most of it happens on the train and I imagine the cinematographer had a tough time but it looks absolutely brilliant on screen so the hard work definitely payed off. The actors though, they did a brilliant job. I’m not just saying this because they’re some of my favourites, they genuinely did do a wonderful job.
If you can watch psychological thrillers but no body horror or actual horror then you can watch this without worry. It feels more like a Zombie action movie with a really strong emotional mix than a horror. Train To Busan will be a perfect watch for this Halloween and it’s in theatre near you. You’ll laugh and cry and freak the hell out. And yes you can watch this alone without being scared.
Directed by – Yeon Sang-ho
Cinematography – Lee Hyung-deok
Rating – 8/10
Note : If you’re wondering why I’m writing a movie review here I’ mentioned in an earlier post that once a month or a week I’ll be adding movie reviews to my blog. It made sense to me because I’m planning a lot of book to screen review so I can’t really post here and my movie blog as well. Once my reviews from there are moved to here I’ll be deleting that.