GET ON BOARD TO STAY ALIVE.
Fund manager Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) boards a train from Seoul to Busan together with his daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an), little dreaming that an infected woman will start a zombie outbreak on the train… Forget snakes on a plane, here’s undead on a train, in a movie that made the director famous internationally. It’s his first non-animated, with a simple but visually spectacular concept. The story builds like a traditional disaster flick that segues into a World War Z-style zombie movie; the attacks are swift, uncontrolled and overwhelming. In the middle of the chaos, the filmmakers also find time to explore human behavior in times of crisis.
2016-South Korea. 118 min. Color. Produced by Lee Dong-ha. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho. Screenplay: Yeon Sang-ho, Park Joo-suk. Cinematography: Lee Hyung-deok. Cast: Gong Yoo (Seok-woo), Ma Dong-seok (Sang-hwa), Kim Su-an (Su-an), Jung Yu-mi, Choi Woo-shik, Sohee.
Trivia: Original title: Busanhaeng. Followed by an animated prequel, Seoul Station (2016), and a sequel, Peninsula (2020).
Last word: “I’ve filmed realistic action films before so I thought they were doable, but fighting with the zombies was extremely complicated. Even if I try to match their movements, their bodies are always convulsing and their arms twisted, so when they attack it’s hard to take it from the receiving end. It’s also difficult to figure out where to hit them during fight scenes because zombies are always moving.” (Gong Yoo, Indiewire)