Monday, October 15, 2018

Chills & Thrills: Train to Busan (2016)

Movie Name/Year: Train to Busan (2016)
Tagline: Life-or-death survival begins.
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Length: 117 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production Companies: Next Entertainment World, RedPeter Film
Producer: Woo-taek Kim, Yeon-ho Kim, Dong-Ha Lee
Director: Sang-ho Yeon
Writer: Sang-ho Yeon, Joo-Suk Park
Actors: Yoo Gong, Yu-mi Jung, Dong-seok Ma, Su-an Kim, Eui-sung Kim, Woo-sik Choi, Sohee, Soo-jung Ye, Myung-shin Park, Gwi-hwa Choi, Seok-yong Jeong, Hyuk-jin Jang, Seong-soo Han, Do-im Woo, Hye-Yeong Moon, Jae-rok Kim, Chang-hwan Kim, Joo-sil Lee

Blurb from Netflix: As a zombie outbreak sweeps the country, a dad and his daughter take a harrowing train journey in an attempt to reach the only city that’s still safe.

Selina’s Point of View:
Train to Busan is easily the most requested film we’ve gotten from readers, and I can see why.

I truly enjoyed this film. On the surface, it’s a pretty typical zombie flick. A few times, especially in the beginning, I called scenes seconds before they happened. However, when you start to get absorbed by what’s going on, the sum of the parts becomes much more.

It has fast zombies with quick transformations that are reminiscent of World War Z (2013), but you also have a lot of the claustrophobia and cinematography that went into Snowpiercer (2013). It’s an interesting – and often harrowing – combination.

I wasn’t surprised that the movie itself was good. It has an insane reputation – even from people who don’t like subtitles. In fact, my horror-film-hating husband actually sat down to watch this with me because of how good everyone says it is.

The ratings are not off, at all. The acting was spot on – even little Su-an Kim (Memories of the Sword, Gyeongju, The Battleship Island). The script was honest and somewhat original.

I need to specifically talk about the visuals, though. Some of the visuals used were absolutely unique to this film. There was one scene near the end that was so suspenseful, and yet still honest to physics – I couldn’t look away.

This is easily one of my favorite zombie movies ever.

If you’re looking for something terrifying to get you into the Halloween mood – Train to Busan could be just the flick you need.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ll admit, right off the bat, that this wasn’t my first viewing of Train to Busan. I had been so captivated by its trailer that I snuck a watch-through in shortly after it arrived on Netflix. It was still nice to get a fresh perspective of it. I was not unhappy about watching it again, at all.

Even though the film is set in South Korea, complete with foreign language; there are some things that you don’t need subtitles to translate for you. I’d even bet you could turn them off and still understand the core of the movie. Of course, then you’d miss out on a few plot nuances, so I wouldn’t recommend doing that for a first viewing.

I’ve got to tell you that Train to Busan has made my ‘short list’ of favorite zombie movies. I appreciated the choices that were made in ‘bringing the undead to life.’ I like that we get to see different aspects of their behavior in relation to environmental stimuli. I really have to give kudos to the effects team for this one – and the stunt people, too. Particularly, I was digging the ‘zombie physics’ as it applied to large numbers of them. The stunt people really got a good workout in for this one, I tell you.

For all of the rapid pacing of the film, and changing angles of perspective; there was only one instance where the camera goes a bit loopy. There’s no shaky-cam in general, thankfully.

I was absolutely floored to learn that this is the first live-action feature for director Sang-ho Yeon (The King of Pigs, RedaKai, Psychokinesis). His projects prior to this film were all animated, including the film that is a prelude to the events in Train to Busan - Seoul Station (2016). When I looked the director up, I was also excited to find that IMDb shows that a sequel is currently in pre-production. Here’s to hoping that it doesn’t take too long to hit Netflix when it’s finally released.

All told, I believe this is an excellent addition to the zombie-horror genre, and I certainly wouldn’t mind giving it my glowing recommendation as well as another watch-through. 

Speech Available: Korean
Subtitles Available: Korean, English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 88%
Metascore - 72/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.9/10
IMDB Score – 7.5/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating5/5

Movie Trailer:

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