The Zombie Apocalypse, an insanely popular genre infecting all forms of media entertainment. Wherever you go, there will be stores stocked in DVDs of Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead or World War Z. Personally, I still can’t comprehend how long such a genre managed to hold up or the fact that AMC’s The Walking Dead has been airing for 10 years now.
There is no appeal to Zombies whatsoever. They lack nuance and character as they shamble about to get a piece of flesh and blood from the remaining survivors. Aside from their ravenous nature, zombies are as threatening as a pack of baby puppy dogs. Much to my surprise, there have been 2 shows that managed to keep me engaged and invested throughout the sea of decaying flesh eaters. One of them was Netflix’s original series, Kingdom, and the other was 2016’s Train to Busan.
Train to Busan is a South Korean zombie film brought to us by director Sang-ho Yeon. The idea follows the typical worn and torn premise of an inevitable zombie apocalypse. However, the setting is claustrophobic, taking place almost entirely in a speeding bullet train, where the colorful cast of passengers is stuck fighting for their lives. What makes this so compelling are the passengers themselves.
Among this endearing band of heroes and villains consists a father and daughter team, a pregnant woman and her husband, a young teenage baseball team, and various train attendants. We are offered sufficient bits of introductions for each character and understand who they are for us to be invested in them. Additionally, there are many changes in the dynamics of the characters. We see their personalities evolve and grow, we find out about their motives, their relationships and the depths they would go for their loved ones. This rings true during the emotionally charged, devastating climax that left me a sobbing mess by the time the credits started rolling.
Train to Busan was an exhilarating roller-coaster ride from beginning to end. The adrenaline rush just keeps going until the very end. The zombies proved to be an opposing threat as they sprint like Olympic athletes, viciously unrelenting in their quest for human flesh. They barrel through doors and bust out through windows. They are a whole lot more terrifying than you anticipated, and that’s a very refreshing change.
Train to Busan is not just a zombie film. It’s a captivating drama of real human relationships and interactions that rise above the horrifically thrilling carnage. Train to Busan was released in 2016 and is out on Tubi and Amazon Prime.