I’ve never been a huge fan of zombie movies, mainly because I thought they were overdone. I believed that there’s only so much someone can do with the concept of the dead coming back to life to terrorize the living. But let me tell you—when I watched the South Korean zombie horror Train to Busan for the first time, my mind immediately changed.
Train to Busan (2016) has that classic zombie premise, but at the same time feels authentic and refreshing. It’s about Seok-Woo, (Gong Yoo), a well-meaning father that prioritizes work over spending time with his young daughter Soo-An (Kim Su-an). For her birthday, the only thing she wants is to take the train to Busan to visit her mother. Seok-Woo agrees begrudgingly and accompanies Soo-Ann on the hour-long train journey.
Yet soon after the train leaves the station, the crew begins to notice strange people on board. When a strange woman attacks a crew member, the passengers watch in horror as she begins to change. Her veins start popping out and darkening, her eyes become bright blue and glassy, and she starts to move her body like her bones were detached from their joints. But before they have the chance to escape, she lunges and bites. Soon, most of the passengers on the train are zombies.
The film follows a few groups of people, but the main focus is on Seok-Woo and his daughter. Throughout the film, he tells Soo-An that she must stop looking out for others in a time like this and only look out for herself. However, he begins to shift gears once Soo-Ann reveals that the reason her mother left him is because of his selfishness. As the story progresses, Seok-Woo works to repair his relationship with his daughter by being brave and attempting to help others in this desperate situation.
Not only does Train to Busan touch on the important theme that individualism fueled by fear is extremely harmful, but it also is suspenseful, action-packed, and incredibly entertaining. What immediately sold me on this zombie horror is the incredible choreography of the undead. The way these zombies move is incredibly unique and well done. They flail around stiffly, limbs cracking and twisting into horrific shapes as they sprint after their victims.
The best zombie moment in the film is when about 50 to 100 zombies chase after the train. One zombie manages to grab onto the railing at the caboose, and the other zombies cling on to him and create a huge pile of flailing bodies dragging along the railroad tracks. As Seok-Woo desperately kicks at the first zombie’s hands, another from the back of the pile jumps on top of the others and scurries forward, writhing and snarling. It’s a fantastic moment.
Train to Busan is a must-watch for all horror fans. The acting is exquisite, especially from the two leads. The story is compelling and authentic. The challenges that come up throughout the film are intriguing and thematically relevant to the whole story. It’s dramatic and emotional. And the ending is as satisfying as the conclusion of a terrifying apocalyptic survival horror could be.
I give Train to Busan a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. It’s one of my all-time favorite horror films, and it completely changed my perspective on zombie horror in general. You can watch Train to Busan on Shudder, YouTube, Peacock, Vudu, and more.
It Came From Shudder September Edition
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
I have been drowning myself in 1980s new wave/gothic music all summer, especially Bauhaus. Now that fall is here, I am doubling down with gothic cinema. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a silent German expressionist film of the Weimar Republic, follows a hypnotist who uses a sleepwalker as a vessel for murder. Visually stunning, Caligari twists viewers’ perceptions using sharp edges and shadows facilitated by an unorthodox set design that is just as much part of the art as the actual motion picture.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 (1987)
The bitch is back! I am beyond excited to revisit Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2. This offshoot of Prom Night (1980) has it all: possession, campy 1950s dialogue, a subplot about teenage pregnancy, and undeniable queerness coming from the central antagonist. The film follows girl-next-door Vicky, who, after searching for a prom dress in the drama club closet, becomes possessed by prom queen-scorned Mary Lou, a promiscuous and tenacious 1950s teen who seeks revenge on her killers. It’s a fun mix of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and Carrie. I promise it will not disappoint.
The McPherson Tape (1989)
The McPherson Tape walked so The Blair Witch Project could run. The McPherson Tape is a found footage film from 1989, ten years before The Blair Witch Project became the blueprint for the future of found footage. Instead of a witch in the woods, The McPherson Tape revolves around an alien encounter during a family’s birthday celebration in 1983. Be prepared to watch this as if it were a home video you just popped into your VCR.
Queer for Fear (2022)
It has been a long time coming for this four-part series on the history of queer representation in the horror genre. Premiering September 30th with new episodes each week, Queer for Fear will discuss horror’s queer roots in the monster movies of the 1930s-1940s, make connections between horror cinema and dozens of queer histories, and how the genre has evolved since the problematic portrayals of the past. Get your notebooks ready and pencils sharpened (or just pull up your Letterboxd Watchlist), and be prepared to find some new queer horror recommendations and favorites!
‘Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey’ Trailer Out Now: Pooh and Piglet Are Out for Blood and Revenge
Move over Heffalumps and Woozles; there’s a new big bad in the hundred-acre wood.
The official trailer for Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is finally upon us, and it looks like we’re all in for quite a ride with this one.
Brought to us by Premiere Entertainment, ITN distribution, and Jagged Edge Productions, this movie has been making waves on the internet ever since first-look photos of the film were released.
The trailer shows us all that the photos are nothing in comparison.
For better or for worse, now that the original Pooh bear is in the public domain, horror is out to change the public view on the childhood favorite. As we have grown, so have the characters of the hundred-acre wood, and they are pissed that Christopher Robin abandoned them.
Directed, written, and co-produced by Rhys Waterfield, he explained in a May interview with Variety that the film carefully traverses the line between horror and comedy, seeing Pooh and Piglet revert to the ways of “feral” animals.
Judging by the trailer, they may exist like animals, but they most certainly kill like people do. While some regarded the film as childhood-ruining, I, for one, am all the way here for this slasher film. Make no mistake; this film looks bloody, violent, and fantastic.
Check out the Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey trailer for yourself and let us know what you think about the upcoming horror film.