Train To Busan (2016 Zombie Film)

Hello everyone!

It is the season for all things spooky and scary. In the spirit, I would like to recommend the South Korean zombie film Train To Busan.

The film is a fun, zombie film set on a bullet train and has plenty of fantastic set pieces and a lot of heart. Not only that, but I believe it has a complete storyform. The 93% on rottentomatoes seems to back that up.

It is available to stream on Netflix in the US. On an episode of Writer’s Room @jhull mentioned the lack of horror stories on Subtext and I think this would be a fun analysis.

If there isn’t an interest in doing a group analysis, then just take this a recommendation for some enjoyable Halloween viewing. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Oh - I always wanted to see that one. I got a sense there was some sort of Narrative Argument going on from the trailer.

I saw we do it!


Awesome! I guess we’ll wait to see if anyone else is interested. I know I’ll definitely be watching it again in the next few days. :+1:

I saw this a long time ago. (Is 2016 a long time ago?)

My recollection is that it has the bookends of a GAS, but there isn’t much in the middle. So, it’s definitely a lot more than most horror movies, but it’s not really complete, if that makes sense.

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Dat Contagonist tho!

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I can definitely understand what you’re saying. I think the OS is definitely emphasized over the other throughlines in the middle of the film. But, I think the other throughlines are still present and that the author’s intent is still strong. (Amoral Dad MC, Super Husband/Bareknuckle Zombie Puncher IC, Father/Daughter RS). I could very well be wrong though.

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Well, let’s check it out over the weekend and start on Monday :slight_smile:

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Is this discussion still going to happen?

I’m still up for it. I was just going to give people a chance to see it. Maybe we need a timelock? :grin:

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I was into it, until everyone said there was an issue with it LOL - Monday or bust!

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Honestly, Im thinking there probably is an issue with it as well but was curious where the conversation would go. It does seem to want to be a GAS but as far as I can tell doesn’t quite make it. That doesn’t mean much, though.

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I think it definitely has the “guideposts” we use to answer, “Will this be a GAS?”

MC, OS, Resolve, Judgement, Outcome…

Next we figure out… does it make it?

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I think we could knock out the throughlines and dynamics pretty quickly and then let it simmer over the weekend to give Jim a chance to catch it.

With User Group analysis, even when there isn’t a consensus on a storyform, I still find it really instructive. There’s usually cool insights that come up along the way. So I’m up for it regardless.

Also, I think Jim said on Writer’s Room today incomplete stories that still have a discernible premise/intent are going to be part of Subtext in the future. So, it won’t be a total loss if we find a storyform but the execution is lacking. :+1:

Does anyone want to make an argument for a possible, you know, something that might be one of the elements we might end up talking about?

Oh, you? You have an idea?

I’ll take a swing. :wink:

###Four Throughlines:

####Overall Story
Getting to Busan during a zombie outbreak.

####Main Character
He’s a workaholic, self-centered man who happily lies to people to make a buck.

####Influence Character
Su-an (Daughter) / Sang-hwa (Father to be/Expert zombie puncher)
Both share the perspective of thinking of others before yourself. (Sang-hwa with is pregnant wife, Su-an giving her seat to the old woman)

####Relationship Story
Absentee Father / Daughter

MC Dynamics

####Resolve - Changed
After being bitten, Seok-woo locks Soo-an and Sang-hwa’s wife’s safety first. (Sang-hwa dies putting the safety of the group ahead of his own life).

####Growth - Start?
Seok-woo needs to step up as a father.

####Approach - ???
Need to watch again for examples.

####Problem Solving Style - Linear
When he needs a present for his daughter. “What are kids into these days?” Gets her the same present he got her last year.


####Driver - ???
Kind of a blindspot for me. I started this post really positive it was actions, but thinking about it, I can see some big decisions as well.
Need to watch again for examples.

####Limit - Optionlock
Stops that can be made. Train cars that you can escape to. Number of passengers.

####Outcome - Success
Soo-an and Sang-hwa’s wife make it to Busan alive and into the safety of the South Korean Army.

####Judgement - Good
As Seok-woo waits for his impending death, he focuses on his memories of Soo-an’s birth, and finds peace in his last moments.

Counter arguments? Be-er / Driver arguments?

I’m inclined to follow Jim’s approach here and just list out all of the possible emotional/relationship things we see and see where that gets us. (Not that I disagree with your initial assessment.)

Seok-Woo & Su-an: The biggest emotion that I got here was that he lets her down.
Seok-Woo & Sang-hwa: Seok-Woo lets him down too! Especially near the beginning
Seok-Woo & Seong-kyeong (his wife): He is tender/deferential to her needs
Many People & the Homeless Man: They disregard him
Jin-Hee & Yong-Guk: They grow into mutual, emotional support

I am having trouble pointing to many things, too. When he disappoints his daughter on the bed, his initial reaction seems to be disappointment.
When his mother tells him to talk to his wife in Busan, he quietly takes it on the chin (and tells hers it’s taken care of) so she’ll drop the conversation.
When he has the plan to go the Eastern Plaza to avoid quarantine, he tells his daughter think of herself first (an attitude) as opposed to running to tell the others.

It’s hard for me to look past “something escaped from the lab” as the thing that kicks this all off. It’s not like his decision to sell all the stocks caused this. (Unless I’m misunderstanding what happened at the beginning and what his subordinate Kim means when he says, “This isn’t our fault, is it?”)

Even the decision to go to Busan is because the gift was a bad gift.

The ending certainly seems like a decision, because they are weighing whether or not to shoot, but I think it’s the action of singing that really clinches it. There is no decision to be made at that point.

In the middle, the decision to go from Car 9 to Car 15 is because their families are stuck in the middle. So I see the action driving that, too.

Of course, there is the decision to not let the two groups “merge” in car 15, and the old woman’s decision to open the door… but do those change the perspective of the movie? I don’t think so.

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You’ve totally persuaded me on drivers. Also, there’s the “infected woman” getting onto the train and turning zombie. That’s like a stretched out action driver.

I’d feel really comfortable with be-er. I think the author is saying it’s his bad attitude/misplaced focus that’s causing all of his problems.

Love the RS possibilities. Don’t know why I didn’t think about the baseball player/cheerleader relationship. The homeless man/everyone else seems like the weakest possibility there.

This movie definitely has a lot of “heart” and all the possibilities really make that clear.

So, be-er/action it is?

The trick is to go back and see if this was forced by a decision. I don’t think it is.

I’m going for overkill. (like the movie, haha)

Seems good to me. In transpontine support: the daughter does: she calls her mom. And then Sang-hwa is a clear do-er. His first moments on screen are to shoo Su-an along to another bathroom and then to call out Seok-woo as a jerk and demand an apology.

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Going back to the RS examples: what is it about these examples that show the RS isn’t working or is problematic?

I’m going to focus on the father/daughter cheerleader/baseball player relationships as the seem the most conflicted. (Not using the character names because I don’t want to fight with autocorrect on my phone

With the father/daughter it’s like the relationship doesn’t value itself. It’s not being worked on. It’s always an afterthought/backburner thing.

The cheerleader/basellplayer relationship seems like it could be a romance, but it’s too self-conscious. (Getting embarrased in front of “the boys”).

I might be tipping my hand about where I think the concerns are. Haha.

What do you think?