Ben's Super Spooky Halloween Movie Extravaganza 2019: Train To Busan
Hello there people of the internet, welcome back to Ben's Super Spooky Halloween Movie Extravaganza!....2019 edition. I may have been missing from Hubpages for some time but around here we don't skip spooky movie season and boy do we have a good one to kick things off this year. The 2016 South Korean Zombie/Train/ Moral philosophy powerhouse, Train To Busan.
I am ashamed to say that I had never seen Train To Busan prior to yesterday, especially with all the hype this movie has accrued over the years. From an Edgar Wright quote calling it "The best zombie movie I've seen in forever" to it's constant appearances on r/movies and r/moviedetails, my missing Train To Busan is due to user error rather than a faulty product.
Irregardless of my failure, I have now taken in all the blood, guts and emotion that Train To Busan has to offer. So just a reminder to readers returning to the Extravaganza, or brand new ones, this article will be full of spoilers. Do yourself a favor and take this fantastic flick before continuing on.
Now I already know what you are thinking...We have all had enough of the zombie genre, and to an extent that is true. Zombies have been horror cinema's most overused trope since the great vampire boom of 1994 and then the second vampire boom of the late 2010's. While they have been pretty much completely run into the ground there is a reason why zombies are such a popular sub-genre and Train To Busan director Yeon Sang-ho and writer Park Joo-suk use these traits to their advantage rather than grinding them into the ground.
There are two different types of zombies that you can throw into your zombie movie, slow moving and unrelenting, or fast moving and viscous. Now while there is something special to the constant and unstoppable force that the slow moving type of zombie, Train To Busan features the type that move a little quicker and this not only makes nearly every moment of the movie feel like a mad dash to the next scene. Adding in the extra wrinkle that the white eyed zombies cannot see in the dark is a tremendous way of further separating Train to Busan from the pack of zombie movies.
I have always said that a key component to a great horror movie is the setting, and the more cramped and claustrophobic the better. The train in this movie not only puts a hard check next to that perfect setting box, but like the zombies mentioned in the previous paragraph it keeps the pace moving and moving fast.
Sometimes people may call the plot or the pacing of a movie rushed and mean it as an insult but for Train To Busan I mean it as the highest of compliments. There is not much fluff or unnecessary exposition here, the plot moves fast from one scene to another giving the viewer little time to recover from the last bloody interaction and dropping the danger on them at any moment.
Now no Zombie movie is complete without some interesting character arcs and social commentary. Train To Busan has both and does so very efficiently. From Seok-woo, the work obsessed father who learns to appreciate the things he has instead of the things he wants, to Sang-hwa, who while fighting to save his pregnant wife learns to see the good in people, this movie hits it's themes and hits them hard.
With great character arcs must also come some some straightforward ones. Yon-suk, the wealthy COO who values his own safety over all others not only fits as a perfect antagonist to the central themes which we will get to momentarily, but is a constant secondary threat to the characters already dealing with the zombie horde.
All of this is to say that Train to Busan is not only a fantastic Zombie movie but a damn good film full stop. So many things are done well in this movie and for the most part every scene is a piece of a larger puzzle. This is not something we often get with genre horror movies let alone Zombie flicks but Train to Busan bucks the bad trends and keeps all the great one intact.