Starting today, Yeon Sang-ho’s film “Seoul Station” is available in Itunes, and if you were a fan of last year’s “Train To Busan”, this will be a fine addition to your collection.
In a evening like any other, we see an old man walking aimlessly on the streets of Seoul. In his neck there are signs of a bite made maybe by a large animal, and several blood stains on his clothes. Some people on the street try to approach the old man to see if he needs medical attention, but soon they walk away due a horrible stench that makes them realize he is a homeless person, what they might not guess however, is that this same man in a couple of hours will change everybody’s life forever.
Somewhere near them, we met Hye-sun, a young runaway that is about to break up with her slacker boyfriend Ki-woong after finding out that he is offering her for sexual services in the Internet. After a heated discussion, the couple part ways and Hye-sun finds herself with no home to go back to, therefore she goes seeking shelter in a nearby subway station. In a bizarre twist of fate, the online ad has been noted by Suk-gyu, the girl’s father. Seeing this as a chance to bring her daughter home, Suk-gyu decides to hit the streets of Seoul and look for Hye-sun, without knowing that a zombie apocalypse has just begun.
Last year “Train to Busan” raised the bar for zombie films, and made the task of doing a decent follow-up story a very hard one. In my opinion however, “Seoul Station” manages to be a very good (animated) companion film, because while it may not add anything important to “Train…”, it does not destroy anything set in that story either (I remember that both movies were running at the same time on film festivals). You can see either one of the movies without comparing them and have two great independent stories, I even dare to say that you do not need to see one to enjoy the other.
“Seoul Station” has an interesting mix between suspense and family drama (that happens to be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse) and even manages to give a social commentary on the current society and its indifference towards the less fortunate people that has ended up living on the street, The story runs at a good steady pace, although at moments it feels like is dragging its feet. The characters, contrary to what we see in most of this type of films, are very flawed people, they can even seem loathsome, and they all have done things that they are not very proud of, they are not the typical “Good, Moral guys with a mysterious tortured past” and still, some of them have a moment where they can redeem themselves.
The animation and the character’s design is something that might put off some people, specially the fans of Anime that are accustomed to a more attractive, esthetic style (I.E. Little cute faced girls with huge eyes like Bambi’s) but in my opinion the style used on “Seoul Station” gives a more crude, realistic feel, this style is more refined and easy on the eyes than the one we can see in Yeon Sang-ho’s previous films “The King Of Pigs” and “The Fake” (and by the way, if you haven’t seen those films, I highly recommend them).
Although “Seoul Station” is more of a drama that takes place in the beginning of a zombie apocalypse that an action film, it still has several thrilling action sequences and a couple of surprises along the road that makes the film worth your time, so try to check it out, and why not? Do a back-to-back marathon with “Train To Busan”.
Final Veredict: 4/5
“Seoul Station” is available right now on Itunes