Train to Busan Review

“… I feel like a solid 90 minute horror film could be made out of what we have here.”

Last night I watched Train to Busan and it was good, but it didn’t exactly live up to the hype that everyone has been giving it since its release. Train to Busan is a movie wherein a zombie-like virus infects the people of South Korea, and the movie follows a group of people who are traveling on a train (to Busan) during the outbreak.

So let’s talk first about what I liked about Train to Busan, because there was quite a bit. First of all, I thought that it was one of the better zombie movies to be released in a long time. Zombies are kind of played out as of late, and a lot of the time they are used as tools to say “humans are the real threat”. We get it, people suck but I want to see people fight undead motherfuckers for an undetermined amount of time. Train to Busan managed to take the idea of zombies and inject some of that original horror back into them. They presented the undead as this unstoppable force that just keeps coming in waves. They also introduced some fairly creative imagery to further reinforce just how scary zombies can be when they attack in great numbers. All of the horror segments of the film were really well done, and they managed to not only keep the film intense but also introduce some hope into the situations (explaining how the zombies ‘work’, so to speak). Everyone who played a zombie did an excellent job, making all of the movements so inhuman, but at the same time as if they were struggling to move at all. The way that these zombies were throwing themselves wherever as if they had absolutely no regard for their own wellbeing was amazing, and it is exactly what I love to see in a  zombie movie.

So what didn’t I like about Train to Busan? Pretty much everything else. I found Train to Busan to have a lot of unnecessary ‘emotional moments’ that not only didn’t fit, but they were hamfisted in at the worst possible times. I understand that the filmmaker thought you couldn’t have a movie if you weren’t attached to the characters, but having them, literally in the middle of hiding from zombies, stop and talk about how dads are great was a little jarring. And that’s just one example, the entire movie is full of moments like these that make me confused as to what the film was actually going for. And the worst part is these moments elongated the movie so much that by the end I really didn’t care about any of the characters. I think that Train to Busan has a solid 90 minutes in it, but it’s not as easy as saying “just cut off ten minutes at the beginning and 20 at the end”. The bullshit in this movie is carefully scattered throughout, so the edit wouldn’t be the easiest. That being said, I guarantee there is at least a 90 minute movie that is just chock-full of zombie goodness. I was also kind of disappointed at the ending of the film, but that’s just because I’m a bad person (I won’t spoil it here, though). I also wasn’t a fan of the effects in the movie; they— well let’s just cut to the chase: they weren’t good. Something else I noticed while watching Train to Busan was the camerawork in the film. The director utilized a lot of really interesting techniques, some of which worked, some of which didn’t.

Overall Train to Busan was alright, but it didn’t live up to the hype for me. Most of it was a great zombie movie, but the rest was full of hamfisted clichés that did nothing but elongate the film’s runtime and make me less invested in the characters. If someone took the time, I feel like a solid 90 minute horror film could be made out of what we have here.

I give Train to Busan a B

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