Actually saw this one in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield – it’s a gorgeous, open plan cinema. Couple of art exhibits there (like people making horror-themed cakes!) As with the IFI, you can buy a beer and bring it into the theatre. If you’re in Dublin I recommend checking it out! This film was the first to sell out, and luckily the Lighthouse was showing it early enough that we could still make the next Horrorthon film across the liffey in the IFI! They put on 15 minutes of ads, which I generally wouldn’t mind but damn, we’re on a tight schedule here!
Cast/crew: Written & Directed by Sang-ho Yeon, who made an animated zombie outbreak film last year called “Seoul Station” (a prequel on how the apocalypse started)
Plot: Korean zombie movie. A workaholic father (Seok Woo) and becoming-distant daughter (Soo-ahn) travel to see the mother; when an infected boards the train.
Thoughts on the film:
• Oh man, that infected girl JUST makes it into the train to kick off this whole disaster. They were SO close to having an uneventful train journey!
• The overriding theme of the film is not being selfish – sacrifice and helping others is how to succeed. Seok Woo’s daughter has to teach him that, as she befriends a burly guy (Sang) and his pregnant wife on the train. He is a bad ass. Reminded me of Yuji Nagata!
• Conversely to helping others, the older train CEO pulls rank and demands saving himself (and begrudgingly only the people with him right now). Such an angry, loud coward makes for a great heel. You really want to see him die for what he does. Crazy heat! What a bastard!
• Having a group of schoolkids (the baseball team) gives some visual variety as well as some weapons.
• I loved how the film was cut into objectives/missions; where they learn how to ‘herd’ zombies to one side, how they get distracted, how they notice humans etc Each sequence involves having to combat a new difficulty. Awesome.
• What makes zombie films so compelling (apart from the zombies) is that it’s an immediate threat and scrambling in a newly post-apocalyptic setting. You see what characters are really like on the worst (and likely last) day of their life. The other fun thing is thinking what you’d do in this situation or better ways to complete a certain task.
• The infected look great, and their contorted bodies and unnatural movement sell it really well.
• There’s a quiet side-story of two elderly sisters who somehow make it back onto the train but are separated. I thought it was really lovely.
• Zombies being able to grab onto the end of a train and not break their grip is ridiculous but a really friggin’ awesome visual.
• I really thought the homeless man would have a bigger part to play in the film. He’s kinda out of nowhere, I was expecting him to have a plan or antidote or something.
• Seok has to face one turning zombie on a narrow platform. I thought he did quite poorly considering everything he’s been through. Wildly disappointed in him, come on mate!
• Soo-an singing “aloha arn” to hear the echo was awesome.
• Any negatives? They do shots of huge masses of zombies, which look very CGI. Also, the film is 2 hours long, and although there are no bad scenes, I felt it would’ve benefitted cutting out scenes before the train reaches the first station.
Overall: Oh man, they did it. The general plot of this film is played out (zombie outbreak on enclosed transport) but I’m happy to say they managed to make a fresh, compelling 2-hour thrillride. Recommended. Awesome.