Few in Korea have been able to escape the Train to Busan and those keen for another ride may want to check in to Seoul Station, a prequel of sorts by the zombie hit’s director Yeon Sang-ho. An independent animation made prior to the summer smash, Seoul Station chronicles the beginning of the zombie breakout during one long night in Central Seoul ahead of the full-on assault that bears down on Gong Yoo and co. on the express train the next morning.
Veering closer to his earlier works The King of Pigs and The Fake, Seoul Station threads a dark tone into its tale at the outset of a zombie apocalypse, as Yeon is equally concerned with exploring the dark social mores and contemporary dysfunctional family units of Korea than he is with the visual thrills of the walking dead on a rampage through one of the world’s busiest metropolises.
However, while his prior films have drawn just praise as bitter condemnations of certain ills in Korean society, his most recent animated film lacks the same grit and boldness, despite striking a very similar tone. In several ways it feels like a transitional piece between the arthouse realm and the decidedly more commercial vibe of his live action debut this summer. That leaves us with a solid but less compelling work in his growing filmography that satisfies neither as art or entertainment.
By Pierce Conran (Producer at 2Mr Films, film critic)