Thursday, February 16, 2017

ENGL 3053: Train to Busan

Train to Busan (2016)

Made in Korea, Train to Busan is an archetypal Zombie movie. The zombies are fast-moving, scary, and a real threat to the culture of Korea – as we move through the movie, we see them destroying cities, modes of transportation, and families, as well as fracturing newly forged alliances.

(What's an archetype? Go here for more.)

Interestingly, though, the story also begins with a fractured family. Seok-Woo, the father in the story, is shown hard at work in the opening shots. He works so hard that he has no time to spend with his child, Su-an, who is being raised by his mother, her grandmother. His workaholic ways have already driven away his wife. We see that he has missed his daughter’s performance at school, and that he has no idea what to buy her for her birthday.

Worse, this job he works at so hard turns out – as we learn late in the movie – to be the very source of the zombie plague which will kill his mother and most of his society. Though he believed his hard work was for the benefit of his family, ironically the fact was otherwise.

This is a point you’ll see being made over and over, not just in zombie literature, but in all our apocalyptic literature – the rules you learned for your old world will not apply in the new world; and in fact, those rules may get you killed.

Other ways this is an archetypal zombie movie: The amount of gore, the high body count (everyone dies except Su-an and Seong-Kyeong, the pregnant woman), and the anviliscious social commentary.  Here, the point is clear: work together, or the train the society the world is doomed.

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