Seoul Station (2016)

Yeon Sang-ho and the studios were wise to capitalize on the running juggernaut that was the success of “Train to Busan” in 2016. Often times studios or directors wait two to five years for a prequel or a sequel, but “Train to Busan” gets an almost immediate prequel that helps expand the story and mythology of the live action film. One of the best zombie films of the last fifteen years, and perhaps of all time, “Train to Busan” was an action packed blockbuster disaster film set to the tune of the zombie apocalypse. The animated prequel is a bit more downbeat but still maintains the same social relevance and commentary that “Train to Busan” did so well.

While the aforementioned was about class warfare, “Seoul Station” is very much about the homeless epidemic and how a massive apocalyptic pandemic is able to thrive thanks to those that live in squalor and without shelter. When one of the homeless individuals that sleep at Seoul station over night among dozens of others appears bitten and sick, his friend spends most of the night looking for medical help for his wounds. Little does he know his friend has died and emerges as a rabid lunging zombie that begins biting and eating locals. Before long the rapid fire disease has spread and most of the city is consumed by the walking dead. “Seoul Station” follows three characters, one of whom is Hye-sun, a runaway turned prostitute who is anxious to get home and find her family.

All the while she’s forced to seek help from a homeless man while her long lost father is desperately trying to get to her. “Seoul Station” is just as action packed and terrifying as the live action movie, offering a slightly altered picture of the zombies from the live action film. The zombies here garner gaping maws and wide eyes and snap like hungry piranhas as they sprint from all corners, and the animation paints a stark and creepy apocalypse where the dead are able to spread like wildfire along the Korean landscape. Much like “Train to Busan,” the prologue to the events that unfold are just as richly developed, harrowing and complex with a lot of moments based around gut turning terror and moments of pure sadness centered on the state of society.

Director Yeon Sang-ho stages many more great moments of horror as he did with the live action counter part, including a trek across a high wire, a struggle to topple a barricade amidst snipers, and scene in a jail cell that kept me looking away in fright. “Seoul Station” is an excellent extension of “Train to Busan” and if you want to know what happened before the epic war on the train, this is a similarly horrifying journey with a very different flavor that smoothly transitions in to the live action horror film.

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