Being in Seoul during the Summer of 2016, it was difficult to escape talk of director Yeon Sang-ho’s (연상호) 2016 summer thriller, Train to Busan (부산행). However, as someone who is not an avid consumer of zombie movies, I deferred watching the movie until recently (when I could see it for free). However, after spending the 118 minutes engrossed in the plot and characters, I can say that Train to Busan deserves all of the credit it’s been given since its release. Starring Gong Yoo (공유), Jung Yu-mi (정유미), and Ma Dong-seok (마동석), the movie takes place on a train traveling the 453km from Seoul to Busan (as the title suggests) as the country is faced with a zombie apocalypse. The nation is swept into a state of emergency as passengers on the train begin receiving news of the virus-spreading zombies outdoors, only to discover the horror of the virus quickly spreading on board. Despite the movie exhibiting its fair share of blood and gore, it is coupled with natural character development that makes it difficult not to become attached to the main characters, causing me to shed a tear or two throughout the film.
In South Korea, the film made $34.3 million from 4.75 million admissions during opening week and was the first of 2016 to break 10 million movie theater goers. The film also boasts one of the highest single day earnings in Korean history at $9.9 million from 1.28 million admissions. Train to Busan became the sixth highest-grossing domestic film of all time in South Korea, and all of the hype surrounding the movie has not disappointed in ratings. The film has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic consensus that “Train to Busan delivers a thrillingly unique – and purely entertaining – take on the zombie genre, with fully realized characters and plenty of social commentary to underscore the bursts of skillfully staged action.” Internationally, Train to Busan became the highest-grossing Korean film in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Bottom line, if you’re in the market for a well-made action thriller and don’t mind some zombie blood, check out Train to Busan. And the best part? It’s currently available on Netflix!