Monday, August 28, 2017

Horror Film Spotlight: ‘Train to Busan’

We watch movies for different reasons—sometimes to go on a journey, sometimes to fall in love, and sometimes to scare our pants off. Horror Film Spotlight focuses on the ones that keep us up at night, whether they star restless ghosts or psychotic ax murderers. Some are spooky and some are gory, but they’re all full of that shadow-in-the-doorway, voice-in-the-dark sense that something’s just not quite right. And what’s scarier than that?

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From the film’s first moments, it’s clear that not everyone will be making it off the train to Busan alive. First to die (excluding one scene-stealing zombified deer) is a woman who sneaks on board seconds before the train departs from the station. The horde she creates forces surviving passengers to barricade themselves in a single car as their country collapses thanks to the fast-moving virus. Survivor Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) is a pragmatic workaholic bent on saving only himself and his daughter, Soo-an (Kim Su-an). Soo-an isn’t nearly so selfish: thanks to her, Seok-woo forms tentative alliances with other passengers, including a no-nonsense working-class couple (Ma Dong-seok and Jung Yu-mi) and two high schoolers (Choi Woo-shik and Ahn So-hee). Despite Seok-woo’s best efforts, the group draws together as the train carries them toward their last hope, the quarantined city of Busan.

Why You Should Watch It

Train to Busan is basically World War Z—action-packed and full of some damn speedy zombies—but with a far deeper emotional core. Whatever his faults, Seok-woo loves his daughter. In the end, his love redeems him. The film does hammer in its message (selfishness is never okay, even in a train full of zombies) hard: most of the self-serving characters are guaranteed a bloody death scene. But like any good zombie movie, the body count runs high, so don’t expect the selfless characters to have it any easier. Train to Busan isn’t as sweeping as World War Z, or as gory as The Walking Dead, but it holds its own as a terrifying, touching story of family, friendship, and zombies.


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