Train to Busan, the Korean zombie film that played to great acclaim at Cannes was the second feature of Toronto After Dark’s Zombie Night at Scotiabank Theatre Saturday night. A big budget, bloody kills, cool special effects and a solid story made for an engaging screening that saw zombie lovers out in force in the audience.
Playing with ideas seen in things like Snowpiercer, the Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and World War Z, the film didn’t sacrifice story for action beats, often marrying the two and pushing the audience and itself further than most zombie films in recent years have been willing to go.
The film sets up its characters, and then dives right into things, as a young man and his daughter are travelling to Busan, just as a zombie apocalypse seems to be breaking out, and one of the infected have found its way on board.
As you can expect things unravel quickly for those aboard the train, which serves as a microcosm of society, and a reflection of what is happening across the nation, and perhaps the world outside.
The story follows Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) and his daughter Su-An (Soo-an Kim) as they plan to travel to Busan for her birthday and see her mother. The rest of the train is loaded with a group of ball players, businessmen, and travellers, who bond, clash and struggle to survive as the infection spreads through the train.
This one was a winner, wowing the After Dark audience rousing them to applause when deserved fates were met, or kills were executed in fantastic ways, there were gasps and shocked expressions when favourite characters fell.
It was fantastic, highly entertaining, and following on the heels of The Rezort, showed how a modern zombie film should be done. There were a number of fantastic sequences as the story played with the zombie format, energising it in new and exciting ways, making them frightening and even made for some stress-relieving comedic moments.
The father daughter relationship is key to the entire film, as Seok Woo follows his character arc from self-involved fund manager to redemptive father, and the young girl playing Su-an was adorable, and carried the emotional climax beautifully.
This is one is a must for zombie fans, and you need to find a way to get out and see it. Track it down wherever you can, and check it out.
And if you live here in Toronto make sure you check out the Reel Asian International Film Festival on November 12th when they screen the animated prequel, Seoul Station, at 9:30.
Sunday is action day, and there will be plenty to see, check out the schedule and get tickets here!