Train to Busan: Humanity, Zombies, Terror, and Transformation

Zombies tend to be an overused element in terms of everything horror, and so very few have achieved making marks on its audiences. We have got to tip our hats to George Romero for having popularized the genre, as he managed to give us a depiction of the visceral reality of mob mentality – and how our “humanity” is not defined by fear or primal instincts. But there are others that try to build on with that societal “tick.”

Resident Evil (the 1996 game for the PlayStation) jumpstarted the popularity of an entire gaming genre (Survival Horror), and its third installment (Resident Evil Nemesis) is arguably one of the best games of its time. The Walking Dead, despite its rather… tedious setup, is one of today’s best depictions of a life during a zombie pandemic.

Regardless, people so desperately try to reinvent the genre. And a lot seem to be too ambitious that they could really work. DayZ is an upcoming open world videogame about surviving a zombie apocalypse, and Left 4 Dead remains to be a hallmark in team-based shooting.

World War Z is a personal favorite. The book is a stunning retelling of a fictional outbreak – how it began, how we fought through it, and how we struggled to rebuild humanity (and our humanity) after the plague. The audio book is so engrossing a tale that it makes a convincing depiction of elements from Max Brooks’ other successful work, The Zombie Survival Guide.

So what makes Train of Busan so different? One trip to Twitterland (is not something I recommend, but it) will give you hints of a rather emotional trip (figuratively, literally through the film) to how we view family, society and ourselves. Film enthusiasts will call it a good attempt at making an investment that counts, while zombie survival enthusiasts such as myself will give a good nod towards the film.

Train to Busan shows once again why Koreans always make some of best films and shows to date. Its screenplay and direction is not perfect, but it felt natural. The film in itself felt like a scenario creeping to the minds of its viewers.

It was a constant challenge for the protagonists – and everyone else, in general – as to just how much they are willing to take to “retain” their humanity, and how much they will pay when they throw it away.

What’s A Geek’s full review of the film is on the next page. The film is a must-watch for enthusiasts of Korean films, zombies, and those that are in a mood for a little psychological fun. It was first seen at the Midnight Screenings section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on May 13, 2016, while it had its international releases on July 22, 2016. It set the record as the first Korean film on 2016 to break the audience record with 10 million (!) viewers.


Rhenn Taguiam

Rhenn Taguiam is a frustrated journalist with a knack for comic books and video games. He likes pizza and pasta, and has an uncontrollable urge to gush over anything Super Sentai, Star Trek or X-Men. He is currently on his way to get his Master's Degree - unless he creates his own video game or graphic novel first.

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