Bu-San-Haeng (Train to Busan)
If you’re into zombie movies, Bu-San-Haeng is a definite win. A celebration of gore right from the very start, Yeon Sang-Ho’s horror-thriller will delight all fans of the genre. Trailing an improbable crowd of passengers through a zombie-filled train, destination Busan is no leisure ride. Adding a good father-daughter relationship drama to keep the more emotional spectators on the hook too, this sanguinary And Then There Were None exploits all the possibilities of trains to create an unescapable environment. Cram bloodthirsty monsters into a few compartments, and the schemes to try outrunning them are endless.
Yeon Sang-Ho is well-known for his animation films (The King of Pigs, The Fake), and the influence of his precedent experience is very appealing. The zombies darting between the orderly seats of the train, filmed from beneath in strikingly interesting angles, as well as the spectacular establishing shots of Korean cities bear unmistakable resemblances to animated films.
The make-up department definitely had a blast working on this production, and the performance of the zombie-actors is fantastic: remaining within the “conventional” idea of what a zombie looks and moves like, these Korean beasts are by no means a copy of their famous cousins on TV.
A few predictable plot-twists pare down the merciless (and absolutely glorious) blood spatter of the film, and toward the end it does tend to sink into a slightly exaggerated sentimentalism. However, to make up for what we could all see coming, other sudden developments have anyone getting jumpy. The characters spend a frustratingly long amount of time staring motionlessly at the zombies, as per usual in this kind of film, but indeed keep the tension flying. We won’t go into analysing pseudo-scientific contradictions of the zombie transformation process: Bu-Sa-Haeng is effective and entertaining for all lovers of slaughter and suspense.
Despite some vaguely mawkish heroism, the picture remains very inventive on the whole, keeping up with the constant and almost exasperating need of throwing stumbling blocks in front of the protagonists while they run for their lives. Do not fear: despite the human plotline, the horrifying attacks of the undead are never absent for long from Bu-San-Haeng. The film fits beautifully into its genre, granting us some fantastic scenes of zombie apocalypse and definitely not disappointing those who enjoy getting the jitters.
Bu-San-Haeng does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer of Bu-San-Haeng here: