Every so often, a film comes completely out of left field and manages to redefine an entire genre. With the majority of Hollywood financiers unwilling to take a risk on anything they don’t have complete faith in, these movies tend to come from foreign markets, but the money and cultural impact they achieve leaves a lasting impression on Tinseltown’s ways if thinking. In 2016, it was Train to Busan that grabbed hold of the traditional zombie-flick and slapped it senseless, and reports emerging this week have revealed that the visceral Korean horror movie will soon be getting a sequel.
Much as offerings like Rec and La Horde had achieved before it, the reason that Train To Busan was such a success was that it managed to wipe any trace of American culture out of its storyline. What director Yeon Sang-Ho managed to do was take the themes that made Korean cinema so vivid and memorable, and saturate a traditional zombie story with them.
The downtrodden father who feels like he’s failing his family. A society that shits on its service industry, ruled over by corporations and a government riddled with corruption. The disconnect between an older population who’ve always lived under the threat of apocalypse versus the optimism of their children. Savage acts of violence with the most unlikely and mundane of weapons. It’s all on display here, with the zombie outbreak merely acting as the microscope for a deep cultural analysis of modern Korean culture.
The suffocating and stifling confines of the high-speed train that the virus is rapidly spreading through force the film’s characters into ever desperate and more violent measures. What should be their salvation has instead become their greatest threat, with the infected passengers moving just as quick as the train itself. It’s a story or hopelessness and hope, of savagery and selflessness. Quite simply, it’s beautiful.
The film’s storyline has already been expanded upon, as it was released with an accompanying animated feature called Seoul Station. Just as impactive and haunting as the main movie, that feature detailed the effect of the outbreak on the Korean capital as the Busan train departed. And now it looks like the proposed sequel will follow the spread of the virus to the rest of the Korean countryside.
The AllKPop website has this week published a statement from a representative fo Yeon Sang-Ho confirming that work on the sequel has now begun:
“This film will revisit the same zombie virus that was seen in the original movie, except this time the focus will be expanded to the entire Korean peninsula. We are planning to begin filming in the first half of next year. We still have not cast any actors, so we are still preparing a lot of different things.”
It’s unlikely that the new movie in the franchise will again detail the effects of a zombie virus on a singular speeding form of transport, so it I’ll be intriguing to see where the filmmakers go in order to keep things interesting. The inclusion of US service personnel might make the movie more accessible to international audiences, and adding the country’s North Korean neighbors to the mix could really spice up proceedings.
As more detail about this exciting project comes to light, we’ll be sure to bring it straight to you.