Director: Yeon Sang-Ho
Screenplay: Park Joo-suk
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-Mi, Ma Dong-Seok
Country: South Korea
Running Time: 118 minutes
Year: 2016

Train to Busan is a zombie (actually, “infected”; the ghouls are not dead, just poorly) movie framed as a disaster film. With a father/daughter arc as its centre, it could be sentimentally predictable.

Ok, it is sentimentally predictable, and you can play Zombie Bingo with every classic trope trotted out. Societal collapse, reduced to primal nature, noble sacrifice, cynical villain. The, “oh sod it, I seemed to have been bit” scene. “I shall look tearfully into the middle distance as I sacrifice myself”, happens more than once.

You know what’s really annoying? It works. Gloriously so. This isn’t a cynical rip-off of everything from Romero to Resident Evil; it’s a heartfelt paeon to the genre, a gift to fans, that revels in an obvious setup, but only so it can stage some phenomenal gags. Zombies, on a train. At times there are so many they flow like water. I’m calling them zombies again, so to be clear, these are the quick ones. Brutally fast and the action scenes can be extraordinary. Director Yeon Sang-Ho knows we’ve seen it all before, but he’s determined we’re going to have fun with it.

Beautifully filmed, it starts off as a typical horror, but puts the legwork into the strong scenes between the career-focused father and his young, almost estranged daughter, their fractious relationship mirrored by evidence of a society sporadically falling into ruin. It takes some shortcuts with well used tropes of a disaster movie. But outside of the main journey of the father and daughter, strong tertiary characters are effectively used. The genre mash-up provides the solid ground all the best horror films need. And the best comedy films too; the differences between the genres can be paper thin. Maybe that’s why the film reminds me more than a little of Shaun of the Dead, despite being much more serious in tone..

It’s a ruthlessly sentimental, muscular horror, efficiently cut to the bone and filled with entertaining set-pieces. It’s equally bone-crunching sequel, Peninsula, is also released this month.


This is a fantastic UHD transfer, a perfect balance of detail and contrast. While skin tones are sympathetic, other colours really pop. Including the gore. It isn’t an overly gory film, but the blood, brains and matted hair really shine. The staging of the film, despite largely being set on a mostly clean and polished train (well, until it gets covered in guts), does cross several conflicting areas and the presentation never falters.


There’s a making of featurette, but it’s a bit limp. Just behind the scenes footage, largely out of context.

Train to Busan UHD
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