Films · Korean Culture

Train to Busan “Busanhaeng” film review

You may think you know all about zombies but have you wondered what it would be like to be on a train with fifty of them all running after you and gnashing at your ankles?

Zombies on a train is the premise of this film, a big hit in South Korea. If you had no idea this film was a horror, or that it featured zombies, it might be quite exciting but I imagine most people will go into this knowing exactly what to expect.

Some kind of catastrophe has led to an outbreak in which dozens of writhing undead are roaming the streets of Seoul looking for their next victims. A group of travellers including main lead Gong Yu are on the train to Busan.  They’ve barely gone twenty minutes before there is clearly something wrong with some of the passengers. Checking the situation on their phones, the passengers see that the country is in a state of emergency.

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They try to leave at the next station but find that the soldiers who are waiting for them have already been bitten. The most exciting and tense scenes are when the group must flee back on to the zombie ridden train, running away from swarms of rabid recruits. Once back on its a long journey for the remainder of the film. Here’s where the film runs out of steam. Once you’ve seen one zombie, you’ve seen them all. The film becomes a very standard struggle for survival and the scenes of characters running down train corridors become very repetitive.

It’s not a bad film.  Its directed in expedient fashion but for a train film its seriously lacking any ambient sound effects such as the clickety-clack sound  you would expect of a train on a track (or do South Korean trains run completely silently?).Fans of zombies will not be disappointed.Otherwise,  it’s more of what we’ve already seen many times over.

My score: 6/10.

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