Train to Busan (2016) Review

This film hits the ground running with an original opening scene. One that I’ve never seen in a zombie flick. It was my first viewing of a Korean thriller. The main character, Gong Yoo struggles to connect with his daughter whose birthday is in 24 hours. All she wants as a gift is to be with her mother. It doesn’t help that they’re contemplating a divorce. Yet he must relent to make his daughter happy. This leads to the father/daughter duo taking what? You guessed it, the train to Busan. Things go off the rails (no pun intended) rather quickly as an infected passenger gets on the train.

Oh my god! What an intense ride. My heart was pumping with adrenaline the entire time. As a daily commuter of the CTA “L” I can’t imagine what I’d do in such a situation. I think that’s the genius of the plot. It forces the viewer to see themselves in the shoes of the characters. A lot of people ride public transportation everyday. So if some virus turned people into flesh eating monsters there wouldn’t be much space to flee on a train car. This movie is a refreshing take on the zombie apocalypse genre. There’s a nice rhythm to it. I appreciated the moments when characters had a reprieve from all the chaos. What I like most is that anybody could bite the dust at any given moment.

The zombies are fast and seemingly endless. Environment plays a big role. A train station isn’t the most open space and all the windows make you an easy target to be spotted. The despair and hope created in these scenes keeps the suspense fresh. Characters fates are determined in interesting ways. It was really amazing to see how blindly unified the zombie horde was. Operating as a massive wave advancing the others. In closing, this was a compelling story that was written with much care and thought. You wont be disappointed by this film. So go find it wherever you can and check it out.

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