South Korea’s 28 Days Later does not disappoint.
The film is about a divorced and absentee father who upon request has to take his little daughter back to Busan where her mother resides; he is a fund manager for a large corporation. On the train to Busan, there are talks of riots all over the country on the news, and the passengers have no clue what awaits them on the other side of their car. There are two old sisters who joke about how everyone riots these days and that the government should straighten them out like the old days. This is one of those films that has all the makings of a horror classic with the perfect setup of having zombies contained in a train with passengers. The most brutal characters may not be the zombies in this one, there are some humans that make the cruelest decisions and one character in particular, the CEO, goes far and beyond the typical horror tropes where a character is willing to screw over anyone for survival unapologetically which was maddening and hilarious to see at the same time; safe to say CEOs aren’t seen in the best light in this film. Throughout the film, there are allusions made to the passengers’ professions being the determinant factor for their survival. One character refers to the dad as a bloodsucker because he is a fund manager and tells him he’ll make it out of this fine since he should be used to leaving people behind. This is directed by Yeon Sang-ho and the last South Korean horror flick that took the world by storm was Bong Joon-Hoo’s The Host from 2006 although that was more of a playful sci-fi thriller and was a better movie but the sheer scale of both movies is staggering. The zombies are the fastest, most athletic zombies I’ve ever seen on screen and their transformation is also done a bit differently, there is one brilliant scene where a character who is conscious is reminded that he has already turned and that moment of realization was surreal and something we haven’t seen in a zombie movie in a while. This was an absolute thrill ride from start to finish and the once nonexistent father and daughter relationship develops over the course of the film and by the end you actually care about these characters; there is no false step in this film and it ends on a beautiful note, literally. (9/10)