In a world inundated with zombie media, ranging from The Walking Dead to this year’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Remember that one!), its hard to believe there could be anything left to explore within this decomposing genre.
However, like 28 Days Later did over a decade ago, the Korean-made Train to Busan breathes new life into a decaying subject matter by delivering an excellently made fast paced horror that tugs at your heartstrings.
Opening with a suitably creepy dead deer, we are soon introduced to Seok-woo (played by Gong-Yoo), a divorced and rather inattentive father. His daughter Soo-an (Kim Su-an) just wants to go back to her mother and the two soon board the ill-fated train to Busan.
Chaos almost immediately breaks out and, along with a colourful cast of supporting characters, father and daughter must try and survive this life or death scenario.
Writer/Director Yeon Sang-ho has magnificently understood that the only thing more frightening than a monster… is a monster you can’t run away from.
Because of this he has managed to craft some of the most intense (yet believable) scenes of panic, but always makes sure to accompany them with the slow emotional scenes that are sadly lacking from most Hollywood blockbusters.
However there’s no denying there are many cliches ranging from the selfish businessman to the star-crossed teenage lovers. And while I do applaud the film for its many uses of practical effects, significantly less care has been paid to the CGI aspects, leaving some scenes feeling like interlopers on a larger canvas.
Regardless of its flaws, Train to Busan is an excellent entry into both the horror, and the thriller genres and has greatly increased my anticipation for Yeon’s next entry into the cinematic arena.