Train to Busan was an undeniable success upon its release in 2016. In a genre saturated with iconic films, the South Korean zombie movie managed to become a fan favourite through its ability to interweave excellent character development, subtle social commentary and a straightforward plot line. The result is a well-paced and surprisingly emotional film that doesn’t let up in terms of action or heart-wrenching moments.
For those that haven’t seen it, the spoiler-free premise is as follows: the film follows a group of passengers on board the Seoul to Busan bullet train, at a moment in time when a country-wide viral outbreak is occurring. These passengers must survive until they reach the southern city of Busan, a supposed haven of safety that has protected itself from the outbreak. Before they can reach their destination however, they must fight their way through the train where tensions are high, suspicions are fraught and danger could lurk behind the next carriage door.
Four years after Train to Busan was released, director Yeon Sang-ho takes us back to this world with the trailer for Peninsula. This follow up film is not a direct sequel, but instead focuses on expanding the world left behind after the events four years ago. Jung-seok (played by Gang Dong-won) leads a team of four into zombie-ravaged territory to bring back bags containing millions of US dollars, about “$2.5 million per head”. When things go south, they must utilise all their skills for survival as they encounter allies, “the survivors”, as well as other humans who have become malevolent in this post-apocalyptic world, “the corrupted”.
Although trailers aren’t always indicative of how the final film will turn out, fans of Train to Busan have been quick to point out that Peninsula seems to be more action-heavy than its previous counterpart. Many have stated that it seems like a completely different style of film, with apparently none of the same character-driven focus that set Train to Busan apart.
Peninsula was due to premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which has been postponed. So far, the release date for is set to be 12 August of this year, but with the current pandemic impacting cinemas and movie releases it may be likely that this date will be pushed back.
Words by Yasmin Bye