Train to Busan (2016)

12th of 31 nights of horror!

Sam Jackson can keep his Snakes on a Plane, the Koreans have zombies on a train!

I’m not sure this really qualifies as a horror. It was one of the suggestions Netflix gave me when I searched for horror, and it is about zombies, but aside from a couple of jump scares, it plays much more like an action/thriller. I’m not going to complain though, it was a fun film to watch.

Don’t let the subtitles scare you away, this is a really interesting take on the zombie outbreak genre. There are no guns, swords, chainsaws, machetes or even knives. The survivors have to deal with the monsters using just their wits, brute strength and some blunt instruments they find, in the confined spaces of a passenger train going from Seoul to Busan. They don’t even go for the trope where a passenger “just happens to be” a taekwondo master or former special forces operative, these are just regular people on a one hour train commute.

This is a “fast zombie” movie, like 28 Days Later or World War Z. Normally not my preferred living dead type, but it works better for this scenario.

The special effects are very subtle, but exceptionally well done. Not so much the zombie makeup, I mean more like people falling from helicopters, then getting up and racing after their next victim, or animals untwisting their mangled corpses. The CGI is very well done and blends seamlessly with the live action.

Only minor downside is, I think, more of a cultural thing. I don’t really need themes and morality tales being so explicit in my monster movies. On the plus side, not being familiar with tropes common to Korean movies, I had no idea who would wind up surviving, where it’s often pretty easy to guess with North American films.

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