Day 7: Seoul Station
Premise: A zombie outbreak breaks… well… out in Seoul, Korea. In the middle of the usual bitey chaos, a man hunts for his runaway prostitute daughter as the city falls apart around them. But as the situation grows more and more desperate and more and more truths are revealed, could it be that the normal people are the real monsters all along…?
The answer is obviously Yes. Because, as we all know, that’s literally the message of almost every since fucking zombie movie in existence.
This is one of the more obscure entries I had on my list and, weirdly enough, actually probably one of the ones I was looking forward to the most. I don’t know how many of you have seen the 2016 film ‘Train to Busan’, of which this film is an animated prequel, but if you haven’t seen it I would recommend you find a copy asap and watch it right now. It’s legitimately one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen and left my heart in my chest for nearly every last minute of the run time. It’s the sort of zombie movie that makes you question why people are getting tired of zombie movies.
But yeah, this movie is technically a prequel to Train to Busan although, in practice, the two don’t really have much in common aside from being ostensibly set during the same zombie outbreak. So I was interested in checking it out, especially since it’s animated and I do love me some animation.
Unfortunately, the movie itself is… nor particularly great.
Weirdly enough, I actually think a large part of this comes down to one of the bigger selling points of this movie to me; the fact that it was animated. Because the animation in this movie isn’t really all that good. I don’t whether it was down to the budget or just the preferred style of the director (who’s done some other acclaimed animated movies I’ve not seen), but most of it is fairly clearly rotoscoped and pretty flat and lifeless to boot. There’s no real taking advantage of the relative visual freedom that animation can afford you and it’s really somewhat difficult to see why this couldn’t have been done in live-action instead. Plus all the zombies end up looking almost identical, just with different colour t-shirts. Weirdly enough, the normal looking humans often end up being designed to look more grotesque and ugly than the zombies, something I’m not entirely sure if it’s deliberate or not, but whatever. Like I said, I suspect part of the issue is down to budget, but compared to the frantic and exciting action scenes and cinematography in Train to Busan, this was just kind of flat and banal in comparison.
As for the story itself, it was just kinda eh. More or less just the usual stuff you’d expect to see in a zombie movie. ‘Oh no, zombies are here, let’s get away from where the zombies are while trying not to get bit and/or dead.’ And while, to some degree, Train to Busan had technically the same kind of plot albeit on a train, that movie didn’t really need much extra since the entire selling point in that movie comes from the awesome action. (Plus ‘train’ is a unique enough setting in zombie movies to be interesting, at least compared to ‘city’.) This doesn’t really have that or anything particularly capable of setting it apart, IMO. There were a handful of neat twists at the end, but said twists also made it so that almost every character ends up being a massive jerkass or dead or both.
To be fair, I’m not going to call it the worst thing ever. There are some neat action scenes, some neat character moments and some neat twists towards the end, but I still can’t help but feel somewhat let down. If you’re looking for an exciting zombie movie, just watch Train to Busan. Or, if you’ve already seen it, watch it again. There’s really not enough worthwhile here to recommend.
Is it Scary?: Not really.
Is it Silly?: Maybe some of the cheap animation, I guess?
Overall Grade: C-