December 22, 2016

Train to Busan

Sang-ho Yeon, 2016
When we saw how fast the zombies were moving in Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, we realized that one specific tweak changed the genre drastically. This was a different universe than Romero's where you could quite easily dodge the walking dead. These were frenetic terrors hellbent on attacking you. They jumped through glass. The crowds moved swiftly. So some future films followed suit and these were now placed in the category of fast zombies. Zombies that could run. REC, the remake of Dawn of the Dead, Zombieland. There are zombie purists who discount this change to the genre. They believe that zombies should inherently be slow moving. I am not one of these people.

Jump to 2013's World War Z and we not only have fast zombies but there is another level of intensity to them. Perhaps it's the massive numbers that are moving quickly. Rapid virus transfer. Inhuman biting actions. These things pile on top of each other, go airborne, take down helicopters. Terrifying.

Korean film Train to Busan captures a similar ferocity that World War Z had. The only difference is much of the movie is set inside a train. So the movie itself becomes this hybrid offspring of World War Z meets Snowpiercer. Like Snakes on a Plane, but Zombies on a Train. Complete terror that is unleashed in a tight space.

There are so many memorable moments in this film. The image of when they reanimate and you can hear the bones breaking and they get into these contorted positions, damn its freaky. I don't think i will ever get the image out of my head of the zombie running down the train platform with the broken arm that is sticking straight up the air. Busan is without a doubt one of the best zombie films to come out in the past 10 years. Maybe even the best. Yeon manages to get you invested in the characters with their vastly different personalities. You are really rooting for the couple or so to make it out in one piece. Then there are others that you are begging to receive some comeuppance. One guy in particular, Yeon creates this one character (corporate POS Yong-Suk) that is just so completely selfish that you are eagerly waiting for some karmic balance. The film itself is an interesting concept, the world around you completely falling apart while you are stuck on a high speed train that is also falling apart but on a more micro scale. The special effects are remarkable. These are really rabid-like zombies. There's no 10 minute break from death to reawakening. This virus spreads very rapidly. It's a matter of seconds. Train to Busan is a solid offering to the zombie genre that I believe history will be very kind to. Hopefully now that it's receiving international distribution (currently through streaming services) it will get many more eyes on it.

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