Overview: A zombie outbreak begins in Seoul, striking first at the homeless population. Next Entertainment World; 2016; 90 mins.
Prequel: Though billed as a prequel to 2016’s Train to Busan, Seoul Station is its own creature. It shares a lot of DNA with its live action counterpart but both movies can exist independently of each other. It feels feels like a class of film students were given the same assignment: make a zombie movie set in Korea that says something about class. Train to Busan took the idea and made a live action movie about zombies and salary men. Seoul Station took it and made an animated movie about zombies and the forgotten/maligned homeless population of Seoul, who find shelter in the vast metro stations throughout the city.
Homeless: The story follows a young couple, Ki-Woong and Hye-Sun, who break up when she finds that he is trying to pimp her out on the internet. As Hye-Sun is wandering the streets a zombie outbreak begins within Seoul Station when one of the homeless population becomes infected and starts attacking the others. Trapped in the city, Ki-Woong and Hye-Sun’s father search for her as she tries to stay ahead of the zombie plague. Unlike Train to Busan, which focused on families, businessmen, school children, and tourists, Seoul Station takes its characters from the lower rungs of society. Hye-Sun is a former prostitute and Ki-Woong is a scumbag. The assorted vagrants and mentally ill they encounter are the cast-offs of Korean society, who struggle to get any help during the crisis because the authorities either don’t believe them or don’t care about them.
Shouts: Seoul Station is very similar to Train to Busan in that it has a ton of “fuckin’ ‘ell!” moments. These are the moments when you can’t help but exclaim at the screen. Both of these movies are filled with reveals and shocks that had me yelling at my TV either “Run!”, “Shit!” or “Fuckin’ ‘ell!” It is incredible that these movies have managed to breath new life into the occasionally tired and overdone zombie movie genre. Seoul Station does sometimes suffer from clunky animation but when its hitting full speed and the images are gorgeous it is very entertaining.
Overall: Seoul Station is the weaker of Yeon Sang-Ho’s two zombie movies as it suffers from unlikable characters and a thread of misanthropy that Train of Busan lacked. The two leads are essentially a damsel in distress and her disgusting ex who is threatened with violence if he doesn’t save her, which leads to a lot of frustration as you’re not really invested in their survival. It is very interesting to see Korea’s homeless take centre stage though as they are usually a forgotten element of Korean society. In the end, even though it is billed as a prequel, Seoul Station does not add anything to Train to Busan, but it also doesn’t detract anything either, making it more of a curiosity than an essential watch.
Featured Image: Finecut