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Friday, June 14, 2024
The Observer

Animation Nation: ‘Seoul Station’

Halloween is upon us! While there are plenty of great animated Halloween movies like “Monster House” and “ A Nightmare before Christmas,” I wanted to find one that wasn’t entirely meant for kids. I wanted to try something new and see if there were any adult animated horror movies. However, it’s surprising to see that there aren’t that many adult animated horror movies out there in the world, which is pretty sad, since I’m sure there are plenty of stories to tell that would scare some people with the power animation holds. Then, I randomly saw one movie called “Seoul Station,” an animated zombie movie. Now, I am a gigantic sucker for zombie movies, though finding a good zombie these days is few and far between. I came to realize that it is an official prequel to the hit South Korean zombie movie “A Train to Busan.” (While it’s not animated, I still highly recommend it!) So, I decided to give this small budget animated film a shot. Here’s my review of “Seoul Station.”

The film serves as a prequel to the live-action film “Train to Busan,” depicting the very beginnings of the zombie apocalypse in South Korea. The film focuses on three characters. Hye-sun is a runaway, but her father Suk-gyu and her boyfriend Ki-woong try to find her around the area of Seoul Station. The film seems to be trying to build on the father-daughter relationship that we see prominently in “Train to Busan.” However, that is the only theme that is remotely close to the previous film and saying that is still a bit of a stretch. The film has an overall nihilistic view on the world. While we hear it in horror movies all the time, the amount of phrases like “It’s meaningless!” and “It doesn’t matter!” I heard in this film was honestly a little overwhelming. We see it with Hye-sun, a woman who ran away from a brothel and thinks everyone only sees her as a disposable object. We also see it with a homeless man whose acts of kindness ultimately meant nothing in the end, when it would usually stand for redemption.

It’s hard to not compare this film to the masterpiece that came before it. “Train to Busan” is one of the best horror zombie movies of all time. The movie tells a redemption story about a father and his daughter, while showing that while there are selfish and terrible people in this world, acts of kindness and selflessness by others aren’t pointless or a waste of time. However, perhaps that is what director Yeon Sang-ho wanted to show “Seoul Station.” He wanted to show us both sides of the coin in a zombie apocalypse. While there are those stories that give people hope, there are those that aren’t so lucky and don’t receive a “happy ending.”

The animation itself is pretty fluid for being completely CGI. While the film does start slow in actually showing the zombies, the animation keeps up with the fast pace once the apocalypse comes in full force. Hye-sun, while no saint, is still a good character who, despite having a bad view on the world around her, still tries her best to be a good person. It was also interesting to see the forgotten and overlooked people in Seoul’s society.

By itself, “Seoul Station” is a decent zombie film with some interesting characters and social commentary on how those who seem worthless are treated in Seoul. While the story started slow, it picked up in the second act and some last minute twists near the end of the film genuinely caught me off guard. It’s not “Train to Busan” by any means, but it does its best to stand on its own.

Title: Seoul Station

Directors: Yeon Sang-ho

Starring: Shim Eun-kyung Ryu Seung-ryong Lee Joon

Streaming: Amazon Prime

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5