Train to Busan (15)

four stars

Dir: Yeon Sang-ho

With: Yoo Gong, Soo-an Kim

Runtime: 118 minutes

STOP me if you’ve been on this train before – mysterious virus attacks city, turns citizens into zombies, cue running, screaming, gnawing at necks and general frenzy. Yes, Train to Busan has all of that, but for its wit, style, pace and sheer inventiveness, this is one zombie movie worth hunting down this weekend.

Single parent Seok Woo is a fund manager living in Seoul with his daughter Soo-an (Soo-an Kim). Soo-an wants to visit her mother in Busan, so workaholic Seok Woo opts reluctantly to take her. All appears normal as the journey gets underway, save for that sick person who has just scrambled on board …

What is marvellous about animator-turned-features director Yeon Sang-ho’s live action debut is the way he cues up cliches only to demolish them. There is a lot of running away from zombies, for example, but how does one do this on a moving train? Just as satisfying are the well fleshed-out characters, from the cynical first time dad to the hard-faced businessman who does not want to share the first class compartment with anyone, and to heck with the murderous horde on the loose.

Sang-ho over-eggs the pudding at times (there are some distressing scenes) and the score is jarring, but this picture flies by like a bullet train.

Glasgow Film Theatre; Cineworld Renfrew Street, Glasgow, and Aberdeen; Cameo, Edinburgh.