31 Days of Horror: Train To Busan (2016) – REVIEW

There’s nothing quite like watching a horror film that reminds you of feelings you’d forgotten you had. 2016’s Train to Busan is a zombie film with a lot of heart as well all the other good stuff. It had taken me a long time to get around to watching it, but it was worth the wait.

The film follows a group of passengers stuck on a train when zombie virus breaks out in South Korea. As the train gets closer to its destination, the fight for survival becomes more and more intense.

Train To Busan

Train To Busan fires on all fronts

There’s a great deal packed into this film, so it’s no wonder it was such a crowd pleaser on release. In terms of plot, there’s nothing that stands out as brand new, but it’s the quality that really lifts it. Take the cinematography, for example. Train To Busan is stunningly shot. Whether it’s drawing focus to characters, or creating super engaging action through dramatic slow-motion sequences, this is a film that knows how to present what it has on offer, and that was great to see.

Speaking of characters and the heart-wrenching bond at the very centre of the film, Train To Busan knew exactly what kind of cocktail was needed for the story to properly hit home. I’ll admit that at the beginning of the film, everyone was either annoying or selfish. However, because of the turns the narrative takes, and choices the characters make as a result, rooting for these people becomes very easy. They grow from start to finish, and many end up being perceived in a far better way than they started. People actually make the right decisions, either for themselves or the betterment of the group.

Train To Busan

Perhaps the reasoning for why this happened is down to the little girl at the heart of everything. Soo-an (played wonderfully by Su-an Kim) was the force of good and purity that anchored the whole film. She was a great device for ensuring the humanity of other characters shone through, preventing Train To Busan from turning into an everyone-for-themselves kill-fest. And as for the relationship between her and her dad… let’s just say that you’ll get ambushed by your feelings.

Strong emotional notes

I think as well as the overall quality, Train To Busan is so well renowned because of its emotional depth. This is a zombie apocalypse film with so much humanity. As I was watching it, I had some flashbacks to The Impossible because it could so easily have been a film that centred on a natural disaster as opposed to a virus outbreak. You literally see families being torn apart in front of your eyes, and people sacrificing themselves so that their loved ones can survive. It gets seriously heavy at times. 

Train To Busan

But this is a zombie movie, and you do get to see plenty of zombies in-between the tears. This crowd was nothing like the fellas stumbling around in The Walking Dead. They were fast-moving and feral. This, however, paved the way for action sequences that would leave any viewer with a phenomenally twitchy sphincter. It really is a complete package.

This one was a big hit with me

After holding off on watching it for so long, and having heard so many good things about it, I’ll be honest, I was ready to be slightly disappointed by Train To Busan. I wasn’t sure it’d live up to the hype that had surrounded it in my head for the last four years. However, I will happily admit that the disappointment held off. It is a well-crafted, hard-hitting adrenaline rush that also serves to remind you that you are, in fact, in possession of a heart and working tear ducts. Fantastic stuff!

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