October Fright Watch: Train To Busan
Every once in a while a film can transcend the boundaries normally instilled by it’s genre. People who do not like horror films generally do not watch them, same for science fiction. Sometimes these films have elements that exceed what you would expect and make it more accessible to wider audiences. Train To Busan does just that.
Before we expound on the virtues of this film, I will state this. It is a foreign film, Korean, with subtitles. Many people have issue with subtitles or dubbing, I implore you not to ever let that make you miss out on fantastic entertainment. Gong Yoo plays Seok-woo, a workaholic businessman with a young daughter and a fresh divorce from his wife. His daughter Soo-an, played beautifully by Kim Su-an misses her mother and wants to visit her in the nearby city of Busan. Seok-woo has a strained relationship with his daughter, as he focuses on work more than her, and even she at her young age knows it. Seok-woo accompanies Soo-an on a train to Busan on her birthday to drop her off safely at her mothers house. Before the train leaves it’s station a sickly stow away woman gets aboard, and gets the ball rolling.
Zombies, man the world loves zombies. What has been the biggest trope in horror in the last few years gets exercised again here. Except it is done in such an awesome fashion that it does not suffer from the zombie-itis that has kind of sunk in and jaded so many fans of the horror genre. Once the stowaway bites another person on the train, the movie becomes an hour and a half of survival action, as Seok- woo and the other passengers aboard must fight off the undead hordes. From battling through train cars to get to the next one to investigating an abandoned train station, the film rarely slows down. When it does, it is to focus on actual character development, as we get to see the bond between father and daughter strengthen through unreal circumstances. The zombie makeup is phenomenal, as are the performers, who move and twist their bodies into unusual contortions as they move and attack. Special attention should be given to a great performance by Kim Eui-Sung as Yon-suk who could go down as one of the greatest sniveling coward shit bags in cinema history. Trust me when I say that as an audience member you will be rooting for the zombies when it comes to him.
It’s October, time to fill up on horror films. If you are looking for a smart, action packed film with tons of heart, seek out Train To Busan. This film does not rely on jump scares as much as it relies on terror caused by situation. It is currently streaming on Netflix, and will be well worth the two hour runtime. Keep an eye on The Pint as I post horror film reviews all month long!