I Decided To Rewatch Train To Busan, And I Have To Talk About It

 Gong Yoo in Train to Busan
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Zombie movies and I go together like honey and bees. Everyone who knows and loves me understands my passion for zombies. It started off way back in the beginning of high school, specifically with The Walking Dead, and has only evolved into a fiercer love as time has gone by. I stuck around for all eleven seasons of The Walking Dead. I was among the many to check out The Last of Us on HBO since I was such a huge fan of the game. And I’ve seen many zombie movies, so many that it’s almost a little concerning.

One of my favorites has always been Train to Busan. Since my boyfriend hadn’t gotten the chance to watch the critically acclaimed South Korean movie yet, this past weekend, I sat down and rewatched it with him. It was my first time watching it in many years, but I had a lot of thoughts I needed to put down to paper.

Zombie from Train to Busan
Zombie from Train to Busan

I Thought I Could Survive A Zombie Apocalypse – Not This One

Obviously I’m not one of those people who are stocked up to the brim with canned supplies in a secret pantry in my home – that you know of.

8 Great Korean Horror Movies To Watch, Including Parasite

parasite cast
parasite cast

If you love Train to Busan, be sure to check out these other Korean horror movies. 

But jokes aside, a lot of the movies and television shows that I have seen regarding zombies have featured the infamous creatures to be drearily slow. The Walking Dead doesn’t have a single walker that runs – at least not yet in its expanding universe. The Last of Us certainly has dangerous zombies, but I still think those can be pretty survivable if you’re smart enough. The only other movie I can think of where I definitely couldn’t survive is World War Z. 

Upon rewatching Train to Busan, I’ve come to realize that is not the case with this movie. I’m pretty sure I would die instantly.

It’s not even the fact that the people who are bitten turn very quickly, as we saw with several of the main characters. It’s the location they are in – there is really nowhere to run or hide in a tiny train unless it’s to the next compartment. And even then, there were passengers keeping other riders out to save themselves.

In other situations, like The Walking Dead or The Last of Us, you could probably find some form of shelter or safety. But here? It’s open season – and you’re the fresh meat.

The zombies in Train to Busan.
The zombies in Train to Busan.

And Can We Talk About How Freaking Terrifying It Would Be To Survive On A Moving Train?

I realized that a big reason as to why I loved this movie so much was that it took place on a train – a high speed train, no less.

High speed trains have been around in Asia for some time, and it’s something that I wish would come to the United States. Having that as the setting for a zombie movie sounds like it wouldn’t fit, but truth be told, it’s terrifying. With this in mind, the setting for Train to Busan feels so much more compact and realistic, despite there being zombies.

It’s where you really see the worst of humanity, because they all know what is going to happen – if they don’t find somewhere safe, and get off that train, they are going to die. That brings out selfishness, greed, and so much more.

Not only that, but the setting itself provides the perfect background for action sequences. Zombies falling over train chairs, slamming through compartment doors, and jumping off of the roof of the train cars are just a few of the examples of what we see.

The main star of Train to Busan.
The main star of Train to Busan.

Train To Busan Continues To Remind Me Just How Good South Korean Horror Is

I’ve only started to appreciate works from the South Korean movie and TV industry over the last year or so, but Train to Busan continuously reminds me of how great the South Korean horror genre is. The movies and television shows are always terrifying, and they build suspense in the best way possible. Besides that, they have emotional moments that will have viewers clutching their chests and wiping their eyes from tears.

Train to Busan has so many instances where you feel the need to turn away from the screen due to how graphic it can get, but it’s the relationships between characters that pull you back in. You want to see them survive, despite the horror. I’ve experienced this with many other South Korean horror movies and TV shows, such as All Of Us Are Dead on Netflix, or The Wailing.

The zombies chasing the protagonist in Train to Busan.
The zombies chasing the protagonist in Train to Busan.

This Movie Does Not Quit For A Single Moment

Sometimes, movies tend to give us a bit of a break from the ongoing craziness of what is happening. For example, I feel that in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, there is always a lull in the action for viewers to catch their breaths from the big CGI fights, to appreciate the story being told.

The story is the action in Train to Busan. This movie doesn’t quit. There’s no room to breathe. I can’t think, I can’t pause, I can’t even blink because every single little detail that happens affects the plot moving forward. Characters drop left and right like flies and you are left wondering where they went before it even registers that they are dead, and we are already moving onto another big scene.

This is the type of movie where you know from the beginning it’s going to be a wild ride, and it really is until the very end.

The main star turning into a zombie in Train to Busan.
The main star turning into a zombie in Train to Busan.

That Had To Be The Most Heartbreaking Ending To A Father-Daughter Relationship In A Movie Ever

Hand to my heart, I’m a daddy’s girl. I love my dad. I even took him to go see Across the Spider-Verse because we share the same love of Spider-Man. But I’m pretty sure that if I showed him Train to Busan, he would sob as much as I did the first time I watched it.

And I also sobbed just as hard this time around.

I feel like I am so desensitized to gore and deaths in horror movies and TV shows. I’ve done lists for deaths in The Walking Dead, or some of the goriest moments in X, but nothing really makes me cringe that much anymore unless it’s emotional or psychological. This was the former.

Something so visceral takes over me whenever I see that ending, where Seok-woo is bitten and sacrifices himself as he is turning in order to save not only his daughter but Seong-kyeong. The way he smiles as he is turning, how he falls off the end of the train – it’s extremely sad and heartbreaking but also somehow uplifting at the same time to see someone love their daughter so much and wish the best for them, knowing their end.

It pains me every time I watch it. Will I put myself through that pain again? Probably.

Su-an in Train to Busan.
Su-an in Train to Busan.

But I Love How Su-an’s Singing Is What Saves Them In The End

We start off Train to Busan with Seok-woo discovering that his daughter couldn’t perform a song at her recital due to stage fright, as well as her father not being in the audience. We don’t really hear about this song again during the film, until the very end.

When Su-an and Seong-kyeong are heading towards a possible sanctuary, there are snipers there that believe they could be infected. But before they shoot, it’s Su-an, singing the song she was meant to sing at the recital that halts them in their movements.

That moment speaks so many volumes. Not only is it proof of how far Su-an has grown, but it symbolizes her love of her dad, and her willingness to not be afraid anymore despite the fact that her father is now dead. It leaves a pit in the bottom of your stomach, but is such a great way to end the movie as a callback to the beginning.

I honestly don’t think I can think of a better zombie movie than Train to Busan. I could possibly point to Night of the Living Dead and all its behind-the-scenes facts, but other than that, this one stands at the top of my list. If you haven’t seen Train to Busan in some time, I’d suggest checking it out – and experiencing all the pain that I went through. We can be trauma buddies together.