Well it’s that time of year again! The days are getting shorter, and ghouls and goblins come out at night. That’s right it’s October, and that means one of my favorite times of year is upon us. Halloween is approaching, and with that comes all the horror movies one can ask for. Just like last year, I want to introduce you to some of my favorite horror movies. Some are well known and some you may have never heard about, but all are worth a watch.
We are starting this year off with a big one. It’s only three years old, but to fans of the genre it has made a name for itself. With a sequel in production and an American remake in the works, I can think of no better time to introduce you to the Korean action-horror film Train to Busan.
I gotta spoil some set-up and key events, but I will try to keep as spoiler-free as I can…maybe. The film opens with a delivery man hitting a deer and then driving off, only for the deer to get back up looking like something from Pet Sematery.
Cut to our main character, a divorced hedge-fund manager who’s a workaholic and can barely remember he has a daughter, much less the fact it’s her birthday, picking up the same gift he’s gotten her several years in a row: he decides to take her to see her mother in a nearby town, and thus they board the ill-fated Train to Busan.
Here is where it starts to ratchet things up. A woman who was attacked sneaks aboard the train looking for help, only to become a zombie and turn the train car into a Home Town Buffet for the zombies.
That’s our set-up: we got the father and his girl and all the passengers; some being a school baseball team, a soon-to-be father and his pregnant wife, a rude businessman who acts as our villain and miscellaneous young and old people who all need to move from one section of the train to the other while not getting munched on by zombies.
The train cars keep you feeling claustrophobic, with excellent camera work and audio to put you right in the scene. Surprisingly, there isn’t too much gore. There still is a lot of blood, but you won’t find people being torn in half with goop hanging out; whether that was a budget issue or a creative choice, I’m glad they went that route. Too much gore can be distracting, and turn people away from what is one of the best zombie movies ever.
The characters are acted so well in this movie. No one is phoning it in, but the stand-out nod goes to young actress Kim Su-an as Su-an the daughter of our main character and Ma Dong-seok as Sang-hwa, the soon-to-be father who goes into full beast mode, taking on an entire cabin full of zombies in order to reunite with his wife and even goes full Hodor to allow the main crew to have some much-needed time to move. The guy is just awesome.
Like the current fad, these zombies are fast. They sprint at full speed, and the stunt crew portraying them act like human fidget spinners with how twitchy and bendy they get, giving them this grotesque presence when swarming.
Smartly, there is some development in these zombies. They rely on sound and basic visuals to hunt, so if you’re hiding behind a seat and quiet, they won’t see you. They’ll just stand there waiting for prey. This leads to some pulse-pounding moments when the passengers have to cross a packed train car while the train goes through a tunnel, giving them moments of darkness to sneak past while being as silent as possible.
The limitations of the infected and the confined space allow for some truly awesome set pieces.
The ending - oh man, it’s great, but I won’t spoil it here. You gotta go watch it for yourself.
Train to Busan can be found at most stores, like Walmart, for ten bucks on Blu-ray. That’s a heck of a deal. If you have Netflix, it is currently streaming, and you can even rent it on YouTube for $3.99.
The animated prequel can also be found streaming online, and on YouTube the trailer for the follow-up just hit the web, so go check it out. If you’re a fan of Horror, action or just zombies, definitely don’t skip on this one.