On Yeon Sang-ho’s Train To Busan (2016)

by Kayann Mitchell

South Korean zombie horror film Train To Busan made its debut at the 2016 Cannes midnight screenings. And was brought to the Toronto After Dark fest as a special screening as part of their zombie night festivities. Which is where I finally had the chance to partake in this crowd pleasing chiller.

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In Train To Busan we meet a cast of characters all boarding a KTX train to various destinations from Seoul to Busan. Namely Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) a divorced father seemingly more dedicated to his work than his young daughter Soo-an (Soo-ann Kim). Soo-an is gravely disappointed in her father for missing her class recital so she decides that in order for Seok Woo to make it up to her he has to board a train to Busan to take her to her mother. Terrifyingly though, once on the train an outbreak of the reanimated gets loose turning half the passengers into flesh mad cannibals and leaving the rest of the passengers fighting for survival against the zombies and most frighteningly themselves.

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What can I say about Train to Busan that hasn’t been said about countless zombie films before it? Not too much I’m afraid. We’ve seen all of this before and done leagues better than what’s on display here. What is different about it though is the human element. We are made to care for the various cast members in a variety of ways from cheering them on to survive to wishing for their gruesome death. Making us care is no small feat and is entirely what this film has going for it. From beginning to end you will be on the edge of your seat wondering if they will survive their hellacious train ride. It may even elicit tears at certain intervals. So while we’ve seen this before I doubt highly if we’ve cared this much. So get your popcorn and maybe a stuffy to hold and buckle in for your trip to Busan.

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