I am a big fan of the zombie genre.
I watch The Walking Dead, read the comics, and play The Last of Us fairly often.
So, whenever a zombie movie gets some buzz, I am sure to check it out.
I have seen a lot of zombie movies, yet I was still completely blown away when I first watched 2016’s Train to Busan, under a year ago.
Since then, I have watched it numerous times and have recently come to the conclusion that it is my favourite zombie film of all time.
Directed by Yeon Sang-Ho, Train to Busan is a South Korean film that follows a group of survivors attempting to survive a train full of zombies heading for Busan.
It is, admittedly, a simple premise, but the film milks that premise for everything it is worth and it works brilliantly.
Train to Busan may start out slow but when it gets going, boy, does it get going.
The film is not just your typical run of the mill zombie film either because it incorporates great political themes for the country and builds on its characters fantastically.
These characters initially seem to fit the stereotypical zombie film tropes.
There are some unlikable businessmen, a pregnant woman, a young couple, it all fits.
But Train to Busan builds on these tropes in such a fantastic way by having the characters move beyond them, to the point that you even care for some of the characters whose names you never learn.
The best example of moving beyond the tropes here is definitely with the main character Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) who is one of the unlikable businessmen I mentioned, initially.
However, as the film progresses, we see him grow from someone who only looks out for himself and his daughter, to someone willing to risk his life for others, and this transition works great.
The other characters are just as great, with one of the stand outs being Seok-woo’s daughter, Su-an, whose child actor Kim Su-an is probably the best actor of the film.
Then there is the capable survivor Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok) who is looking out for his pregnant wife Seong-Kyeong (Jung Yu-mi), both of which have a great dynamic.
You even have a great purposefully unlikable character with the second businessman, Yon-suk (Kim Eui-sung), who I hated more than I had any other movie character in a long time.
The set up for the characters’ arcs are also brilliant, with previously thought to be insignificant things having a massive impact later on.
These characters’ likability adds to the terrific tension of the action scenes because you fear for each and every one of them and, when someone dies, it hits you hard.
Seriously, this is one of those films that will get people crying on multiple occasions.
I will not say who it was but I watched this with my family once and one of them was a crying mess by the end.
The film is so good that I have even heard it may be getting an American remake, which I am very unsure of.
Hopefully, it will not end up like the American remake to the Spanish film Rec, Quarantine, but, even if it is good, I doubt it will be as great of a film as the original.
Although, James Wan is supposedly attached so that is a good sign.
Train to Busan is an amazing zombie movie on every level.
It has fantastic action, brilliant characters with amazing arcs, and complex themes to boot.
Not to mention that it will probably make you cry at least once, before the credits roll.
I cannot recommend this film enough.