GRIMMFEST 2016: My Thoughts On – Train To Busan

Friday at Grimmfest 2016 ended with the Northern premiere of a film that sure woke every sleepy person in the audience at the 11pm screening. Train to Busan was a thrill ride from beginning to end and constantly had you on the edge of your seat breathing every breath and taking every step along with the characters.

Zombie films are loved by many people, not just horror fans, and Train to Busan is one of the finest examples of a zombie film in years. Everything from the non-stop, pulse raising action to the deeply emotional moments between the characters makes for a story so surprisingly compelling that you can’t help coming out of this one having loved what you saw.

English language films haven’t had a truly great zombie/infection outbreak movie since Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later all the way back in 2002 and the last great zombie hit (no, not the messy World War Z), was 2009’s Dead Snow and 2014’s Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead, or, as they’re probably better known…the Norwegian Nazi-zombie movies.

Foreign horror has taken over the zombie genre with all the English language efforts of late failing to be anything above mediocre. Train to Busan is a phenomenal addition to this beloved sub-genre and it certainly should not be missed.

The film centres around a father, Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) and his young daughter, Soo-an (Soo-an Kim) who board a train from Seoul to Busan in order to visit her mother. While on the train, a virus, seemingly similar to that from 28 Days and 28 Weeks Later sweeps the whole of South Korea and the passengers are thrust into an intense battle for survival both on and off the train itself.

The effects of the zombies work very well in creating the necessary unease and tension and make for some truly entertaining and gripping scenes. It’s a film where you will be shouting at the characters on screen with your heart pounding out of your chest and what more could you want from a zombie film than that?

The cast of characters are also an interesting bunch. Each individual’s story is so well balanced and it all just adds to the empathy you feel for them…and makes a number of key scenes that much more impactful.

Sung Gyeong (Yu-mi Jeong) and Sang Hwa (Dong-seok Ma) are particular favourites playing a pregnant couple who are willing to do all it takes to help others survive. As you may imagine, when the outbreak takes over the train itself, that becomes all the more difficult but does make for some wonderfully ruthless action scenes of Sang Hwa battering hordes of zombies in order to rescue people.

This certainly is much more than just your average zombie movie but it isn’t without its use of certain tropes. The difference with Train to Busan is that the depth of the characters that are created and the intensely emotional nature of the story make these certain tropes work.

Writer/Director, Sang-ho Yeon deserves all the credit he can get from this film and we should all be excited to see what he can bring next.

It would be surprising if a better film was showing at Grimmfest 2016. You could feel the emotion of the whole audience and in the bustle coming out, nothing but positive things were heard.

Train to Busan is the next great zombie film!

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