The Train to Busan grappling

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA

Train to Busan: A Zombie Apocalypse Thrill-Fest

Seok-Woo, a workaholic husband with no time for his daughter Su-an, reluctantly agrees to take her to Busan to visit her mother on her birthday. They board the KTX train in Seoul bound for Busan. Individuals from various backgrounds mix indifferently on the train, unaware of how drastically their lives are about to change.

The Apocalypse Unfolds

Elderly sisters clash over sweets, a high school football team boos a mocking cheerleader, a booing agent condemns a wild-eyed vagrant, and a sturdy father-to-be lovingly holds an eye on his pregnant wife. On their journey, the apocalypse occurs, and a large amount of the world's population transforms into flesh-craving zombies. Unfortunately, the disease is already on board their train spreading like wildfire as travelers bite each other, splashing blood all through the scream-filled train cars. The passengers fast become allies or enemies. Before you know it, a brave gathering of survivors – including Seok-woo and his daughter – are fighting for survival against a horde of zombies. Will any of them get to Busan? And even if they do, has Busan tumbled to the same disastrous disease?

The Thrilling Elements

Like any other apocalypse or disaster movie, the fun part was knowing that anyone could die or get bitten at any time. The film lets you form a bond with a character, and then to your dismay, s/he dies. This strain of zombie infection conveniently has a short time before it kicks in, allowing for last dire shouts of "save yourself!" before the pallor, and articulated veins appear. I also liked the train setting and found it to be brilliant. The setting allowed the movie to have a sharp focus rather than having characters who roam everywhere, and it also created a dizzying feeling of claustrophobia as they were constrained to moving from carriage to carriage, hiding in small lavatories to evade the deadly bite of the undead. These setups created teeth-chattering tension, and the zombies made this horror extremely traumatizing. In addition, after the drama kicked in, it never stopped. The movie lost no momentum, not even when the train finally managed to make a stop. What's more, since this is no slick Hollywood thriller, it's low-budget, yet frightening treat is lusciously unpredictable, surging toward its unpredictable finale without any guarantees of safety for even its most adorable characters. You feel as though you are watching something the world was never intended to see. It is also great that the movie explained the genesis of the pandemic as well as how it spread so quick.

Inconsistencies and Flaws

While Train to Busan is a thrill-fest that I would highly recommend, I feel that it does not hit the five-star mark due to its unnecessarily dull slow start. There are also a few inconsistencies such as how the main actors took longer to turn into zombies. For instance, at the start, the train attendants immediately turned after zombies bit them, while Seok-Woo had time to direct his daughter on how to stop the train and even reminisce about his past before he turned, and Sang Hwa had time to hold off around twenty zombies. Despite the obvious adrenaline rush, it was also peculiar that the pregnant woman could run so fast. Also worth raising an eyebrow was how in the end, the soldiers did not shoot the two approaching people only because one of them was singing. I, and probably everyone who has watched the movie hated that Sang Hwa had to die; the movie made us fall in love with him only to kill him off as he sacrificed himself for others.

A Must-Watch Zombie Motion Picture

With everything taken into account, Train to Busan is an excellent zombie motion picture that is deliciously raw, bloody gruesome, and freshly frightening. It is a movie that I would highly recommend. There is something about zombie movies that always makes us thirst for more, and this was no exception.

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