Will someone come to rescue us?
My sister saw this years earlier and recommended we watch it as she knows I like horror films. I’m not a big zombie film person as I like a certain type of zombie, but she assured me I would like this one and I most certainly did.
The thing I really enjoyed about this Korean films is that it is a throwback to previous zombie films like Night of the Living Dead, where you have a group of people from all different walks of life that are trapped in a location and have to try and find a way work together and overcome their foes, for better or worse. And as always when you are in a group of strangers there are a lot more “worse”.
The film starts off with the overworked businessman Seok-woo (Gong Yoo). Seok-woo’s constant working has been a bone of contention with his family as it is one of the reasons he and his wife separated. His daughter, Su-an’s, birthday is the next day and not only has he forgotten it, but he also does not want to grant her wish: take her to Busan to visit her mother. Seok-woo’s mother won’t hear of it and lays on the guilt, also showing him a video when Su-an couldn’t sing due to stage fright and being alone.
After watching the video Seok-woo gives in and takes the day off; planning to take Su-an on the train to Busan.
The next day the passengers load the train, we have Seok-woo, Su-an, Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok) and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong (Jung Yu-mi), COO Yon-suk, a high school baseball team (including player Yong-guk and his cheerleader girlfriend Jin-hee), elderly sisters In-gil and Jong-gil, and a homeless man who stowaways hiding in the bathroom.
As the train starts an ill woman gets on board. When someone tries to help her she bites them, having been carrying the zombie disease, one that quickly spreads through the train.
Our group is able to lock down their area and cover the windows with newspaper as these zombies don’t have the best vision. The plan is to ride the train to Daejeon station where the military will meet then and they can hopefully help them. However, I’ve seen enough of these films, I have no hope that the military will be of any help, most likely they have already fallen victim.
When they get to the station, Seok-Woo separates from the others as he has a friend in the military that promised to help them. He is followed by the homeless man/stowaway who overheard them and wants to go with them.
All their plans are stopped, however, as it turns out that everyone at Daejon station has succumbed to the zombie affliction. Now our team reunites as they try and save themselves. The group splits up again with the women and children follows the train operator and heading to a train while the men try to keep the zombies away.
These zombie soldiers are crazy, they burst out of windows on to the train. This movie is really good but also super intense.
After Seok-woo, Sang-hwa and Yong-guk ar enable to block the zombies for a little while they all make it on the train, but unfortunately are in a different compartment than their friends and family. The rest of the group are in car 13 and they are in car 9.
Yong-guk is rather sensitive and this whole time he’s not been very strong. But he wants to get to his girlfriend and teammates. He immediately starts going through the duffel bags and getting himself ready to fight his way through. This is such a great scene as Sang-hwa quickly follows. Sang-hwa is so cool, he’s my favorite character in this film. He just takes command and kicks butt.
I really like how they did this scene as all are all covered as best as they can, wrapped with tape for punching and protection, have bats, and other items to try and keep them safe.
After they make it through, saving their family in 13 they head to 15 where Yong-guk’s girlfriend is. Along the way they even have to battle Yong-guk’s zombie teammates (so heartbreaking). When they finally reach the compartment the people won’t let them in for fear of being bit. Yong-guk has had enough and uses his baseball bat to break the door down, later having to then grapple with the annoying COO who has convinced everyone not to help them.
Sang-hwa was bit in the battle and sacrifices himself to give the others more time. In-gil is also accidentally killed on the way to safety. Angry at all that has happened and grief stricken over the losss of her sister Jong-gil opens the other door of the compartment and let’s the zombie horde in. COOYong-Suk and train operator Ki-chul are saved by hiding in a bathroom.
They end up having to disembark the train when the track is blocked and try to find another. COO Yon-suk escapes after pushing Ki-chul into the zombies, then later doing the same with Jin-hee. Heartbroken, Yong-guk stays with Jin-hee until she turns into a zombie and kills him.
The homeless man sacrifices himself to buy time for Seok-woo to clear the debris and Su-an and Seong-kyeong all run to another train. They find one but in it is COO Yon-suk who has been bit. Seok-woo battle it out but while he is able to overcome COO Yon-suk, he gets bit in the process. Seok-woo teaches Seong-kyeong how to drive the train and then throws himself off, sacrificing his life for theirs
When another train blocks the track, Su-an and Seong-kyeong are forced to stop at the tunnel to Busan. Unbeknownst to them, snipers are there to shoot everyone on site. I really thought this was going to end like Night of the Living Dead but when Su-an sings “Aloha ʻOe, the snipers save them.
It a really great film although it is sad and very intense. It’s not gratuitous violence but it is a bit much, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I enjoyed it and do recommend for anyone who enjoys zombie films.
For more zombies, go to Zombie Pirates and Werecats: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
For more Korean productions, go to What If the Man You Married Wasn’t Who You Thought He Was?: Flower of Evil (2020)
For more horror/thriller films on a train, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)
For more horror/thrillers that revolve around a virus, go to A Spy Ring, A Killer Virus, and a Body Double Trying to Steal Carolina’s Life: High Seas Season Three (2020)