Summary: Rotten Tomatoes

A man his estranged daughter and other passengers become trapped on a speeding train during a zombie outbreak in South Korea.




Nerd Corner:

History of Zombies

Origin in Haitian folklore

Haitian Revolution

American Occupation of Haiti

“The Magic Island”

Zombies in film changed over the decades, as well as the fear that was behind those films

The fear of empowered Black folks and voodoo, atomic fallout, communism, space, mass contagion, immigration and globalization, and then each other.

Train to Busan kickstarted the zombie genre in South Korea

We take a society that is acutely aware of class divisions and inequality and we plop an apocalypse in the middle of it. What happens? Who survives? How? Are class stratifications entrenched or dissolved? What do people do and how is that informed by their economic station? That’s what Train to Busan keeps asking us. 

 



Kate Notes:

Empathy, class struggles, selfishness, those that society forgets or tries to control

 

“I believe that our cultural fascination with the living dead lies primarily in fear itself,” suggests Boyd. “Whether that fear is the collapse of society or the inevitability of death, it will always be relevant. And perhaps zombies allow us a safe, exciting and fun way to contextualize and confront that fear.” (Netflix)

 

Zombies are capitalists

They misuse resources- they’ll kill one human and then immediately go after another. Maybe playing the Forest has made me biased, but that feels wasteful. Other zombie films show further devouring of bodies. But the quick moving nature of this virus means they have like a minute tops to gorge on some neck flesh before their meal is in motion, you know?

They don’t work together for the common good- they climb over each other and run into each other. They’re not capable of working as a team. 

 

Zombies aren’t team players.

 

The origin of the outbreak in zombie films matters. Corporate corruption or greed. 

 

Yon-suk is The Capitalist asshole. So zombies aren’t the owners of the factories.

 

class rebellion and moral polarization

 

However, with a MERS epidemic sweeping South Korea in 2015 and soaring discontent with corruption and economic disparity, a zombie apocalypse serves as a potent allegory for the dog-eat-dog world. In “Seoul Station,” Yeon depicted a homeless enclave inside the central train station as the ground zero of a zombie outbreak. “Train to Busan” picks up where that film left off. While the anime’s excoriation of the police and army is softened in the live-action sequel, scenarios of humans and zombies precariously separated by carriages fittingly symbolize the dangerous gap between society’s haves and have-nots. (Variety)

 

Daughter is just watching things happen all over. Two dudes tickling each other, nothing to see here. And the attendant is gamely trying to escape with a whole ass human on top of her.

 

Would you rather be inside or outside in a zombie apocalypse?

 

I love those lesbians.

Maybe they’re sisters. History won’t remember them as friends.

Oh okay so history will remember them as sisters.

 

We saw the attendant lady not excellent at walking without rolling her ankles, how are these zombies running.

 

Youth is in our baseball bat team.

 

This is a long fucking movie, how does it keep the pacing up??

 

There are no guns on the train.

Militarization of the general public in South Korea vs. the US

 

Communication with eyes and gestures. I wonder how many hours of grunting muttering and spitting noises zombies had to make.

 

When I was in theatre we studied the way you can make characters based on what body party they lead with. Zombies lead with their mouths and occasionally their chests.

 

You’d think that the child would give the business guy some pause wouldn’t you.

 

The way the camera moves unsteadily over faces like it’s trying to find who yelled it first.

 

Silence in films…

 

She doesn’t want him to go and they both cry. And now I shall cry too.

 

A body on fire and a jump scare of a hand twitching at them. (where it’s like you’re absolutely fried- your nerves are frayed, and the smallest thing can get you. And wouldn’t it be so dark comedy to survive these exceptional scenes and then just die suddenly in a dumb way




Tropes:

Bait-and-Switch

Batter Up!

Beware the Living

Big Guy Fatality Syndrome

Blatant Lies

Bloody Handprint

Dark Reprise

Central Theme

Disconnected by Death

The Ground is Lava



Scale:

tears we cried



Works Cited:

Shin, Hyonhee. (2020, February 10). ‘Parasite’ reflects deepening social divide in South Korea. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-awards-oscars-southkorea-inequality/parasite-reflects-deepening-social-divide-in-south-korea-idUSKBN20414L 

 

Mariani, Mike. (2015, October 28). The Tragic, Forgotten History of Zombies. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/10/how-america-erased-the-tragic-history-of-the-zombie/412264/ 



Crockett, Zachary and Zarracina, Javier . (2016,  October 31). How the zombie represents America’s deepest fears. Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/31/13440402/zombie-political-history 

 

Kim, Regina. (2022, February 4). How K-Dramas Breathed New Life into Zombie Stories. Netflix. https://www.netflix.com/tudum/articles/how-k-dramas-breathed-new-life-into-zombie-stories 

 

Lee, Maggie. (2016, May 13). Film Review: Train to Busan. Variety. https://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/train-to-busan-review-busan-haeng-1201772922/ 

 

Tran, Diep. (2020, Oct 5). How South Korean cinema is breathing new life into the zombie genre. NBC. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/how-south-korean-cinema-breathing-new-life-zombie-genre-n1241604 

 

Mira, Choi. (2021, November 17). More than half of S. Koreans skeptical of social mobility for themselves and children. Pulse. https://pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?sc=30800028&year=2021&no=1079574#:~:text=About%2058.8%20percent%20found%20themselves,37.2%20percent%20lower%2Dmiddle%20class.&text=Among%20respondents%20who%20said%20they,and%2038.7%20percent%20view%20negatively