Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Seoul Station (2016) NYAFF 2016

Numerous story lines collide- an old guy with a neck wound wanders back into the city and his "brother" attempts to find medical help for him. A young woman has trouble with her boyfriend wants to pimp her out via the internet. Meanwhile a father looks for his missing daughter. Elsewhere in and around the Seoul Station various homeless people cope with the late night. Everyone wants to settle in for the night - except that the old guy isn't just wounded but carrying the infection that will begin the outbreak of a condition that will see the dead rise and attack the living.

An absolute rarity in the zombie genre, a film with honest to god characters. Not only that its a zombie film with real scares. And its animated.

Normally I hate the zombie genre. I mean I HATE IT, so when I tell you SEOUL STATION IS really good believe me , this is REALLY GOOD. Actually it's quite amazing especially since the zombie film has been so badly raped by lazy hacks and would be comediennes that that to me the genre is pretty much worthless (do not get me started about WALKING DEAD). Yes we'd occasionally get a good film but it as always buried in the middle of 25 turds.. this is one of the best I've seen in years, decades if you want a straight on balls to the wall horror film as opposed to something like MAGGIE or MISS ZOMBIE which use the tropes for other purposes.

SEOUL STATION works for two reasons. First is the characters. Pretty much everyone is a real person.  If they aren't a full fleshed out person then we have enough to think there is more to them than just being a cardboard cut out. We car about the people- even the ones we don't like.

The second reason the film works is that the film is set at the start of an outbreak. The characters don't know what is happening so their panic feeds our panic. We don't know the rules because no one knows whats happening so they haven't figured them out. The hordes are not your typical zombie masses but something else. They are fast but clumsy, they fall down a lot. While there is little doubt that they are in a direct line to the George Romero ones, a head shot is needed to kill them and the film riffs his DAWN OF THE DEAD,  there are enough differences that it keeps things interesting. It also allows for some scary funny moments as we can't always be sure if someone infected or not. Best of all it feels real and you get the sense that this is how is would probably go (the governmental response is just as chilling as the zombies).

I was scared and on the edge of my seat for most of the film.

And do I really need to mention the social commentary that runs rampant but unobtrusively all through the film? And when you consider this was made by Yeon Sang-ho who made the bleakly depressing KING OF PIGS you can be sure its not a happy film.

One of the best films at NYAFF and one of the best horror films of 2016. A must see.

For tickets and more information go here.

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