Director: Sang-ho Yeon.
Starring. Ryu Seung ryong, Shim Eun-kynug, Lee Joo. South Korea. 1h 32m.
Set in modern day South Korea around the main Seoul station a homeless man wanders around feeling unwell, people shun him away and assume he’s just on drugs, his concerned friend to realise the dire situation after he dies and returns as the living dead with a thirst for human body parts. The main story centres on a young fragile girl Hye-sun who’s run away from home and is living with her scumbag boyfriend, who’s aiming to pimp her out, while fighting over this her violent and pissed off father enters town and close behind him the zombie outbreak wreaks havoc and it’s every person for themselves.
I avoided Train to Busan (2016) until I had seen this prequel as it’s animated and promised to be thrilling and it certainly is a hell ride of a movie it’s starts out slow and really develops the characters and situation, but it doesn’t take too long before the screen is filled with rotting corpses, chasing people in the underground tunnels and throwing themselves off high rises to get their teeth into the living. Much unlike Train to Busan (2016) there aren’t waves of zombies in the same way, it’s still in the early days of the outbreak and the numbers aren’t that high but the suspense and creepiness is all around the unfortunate Hye-sun as she struggles to keep ahead of the violence and away from her father who seems to be out to kill with as much furiousness as the undead, and her dumbass boyfriend who really doesn’t have a clue and often fucks up a good situation.
Seoul Station manages to be horrific and heart-breaking.
Making a zombie film with stands out from all the rest is difficult, obviously a lot of Korean/Chinese/Japanese animation includes all of the typical horror elements and it’s often spiced up with local legends and cultural differences but they go out on a limb here, with some harrowing scenes which I’ve personally not chanced on in zombie movies, so it’s done well to find new elements to scare it’s audience. Some of the scenarios are reminiscence of the World War Z book (not the trashy film remake) but Seoul Station doesn’t stop there, the backstory is solid and gives the movie a hellova dark twisted ending in a plush hotel room, just when you thought it was over, there’s a final bite, and after the good hour of violent and nerve shredding action previous to this, it’s a show closer to remember.
Strangely the film speaks volumes about the down and outs and castaways of society, a young girl on the run from her family, falling deeper into a life of vice and the hordes of homeless people who are often ignored on a daily basis, if more care was attributed to these “invisible” people would the outbreak not have been so detrimental? There are other sprinklings of social awareness throughout the film. It’s an interesting concept having an animated prequel to a film, but alas what we have is a more realistic and damn right scary film, whose animation didn’t cushion the blow of the dark psychological and real threats of a zombie outbreak.
R – Train to Busan (2017), 28 Days Later (2002), Blood the Last Vampire (2000), I Zombie (1998)
L – A-Z of Zombie Movies, 10 Awesome Prequels
A – Zombie or Infected?