Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review: Train To Busan

2016 Yoo Gong, Dong-seok Ma, Woo-sik Choi

A conflicted businessman and his young daughter board the train to Busan in the midst of a viral out break and must fight for survival.
Director Sang-ho Yeon's Train to Busan is one of those films that just ticks all the boxes. Now most mainstream 'zombie horrors' stick to a very familiar formula and are for the most part light hearted in tone and don't require much concentration. There have been a some real stand out over the last decade however with the likes of 28 Days Later and World War Z achieving massive success.

Train to Busan works so brilliantly because it cherry picks all the best aspects from all the best zombie flicks, then puts it's own flare on them for good measure.
The story begins following the farther and his daughter boarding the train, but as the mayhem unfold other passengers are thrust into the fray. These certain groups then become our main characters. The young childbearing couple, a Junior baseball team and a pair of shifty looking railway network employees.

Zombies films have always prided themselves on their creatures, but sometimes the human aspect is also a main focus and this is certainly to the case with this film too. We have a range of ages, genders and personality types to observe and it was interesting to see how each demographic coped with the apocalyptic situation. I found myself rooting for certain characters and carefully watching and reaming suspicious of others. I was constantly willing them to succeed rather than succumb to horrible fates and that was a first I think!

The zombies/infected are a good blend of popular tropes too. The film opted for the faster running variety like we got in 28 Days Later and they also shared the same swarm like mentality as the previously mentioned zombie in World War Z. The swarms however we in tight knit spaces which made for some truly terrifying scenes when hundred surges forward often scrambling over anything and even each other in order to reach their prey. Train To Busan throws a great curve ball into the mix by making the infected almost blind in the darkness. This original design lead to to absolutely nerve shredding scenes of the survivors creeping through the hordes are the train screamed through railway tunnels. The tension of one of these particular scenes is one of my fondest horror memories of the last few years and will stay with me for a long time.

The Verdict

Train To Busan is a perfect blend of all the best zombie flicks with it's own flare and tale to tell. The film has a lot of heart, emotion and more than enough action to to keep even jaded horror fans glued to the screen. Fantastically written characters, surprises and thrill galore make this one of the best horror films released this year. The subtitles may not be to everyone's liking but its a minor niggle to overcome for a rewarding and gripping watch.


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