Korean Zombie Flick ‘Train to Busan’ Scheduled to Stop in America for Remake
One of the overnight sensations at this year’s Cannes Film Festival — literally, it played in the Midnight Screenings section — was Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho’s zombie flick Train to Busan. Think Snowpiercer meets Night of the Living Dead: a collection of assorted travelers find themselves on a high-speed bullet train at the time of an undead outbreak, leading to a drag-down battle contained almost entirely within the cars of their transportation. It’s a tightly-constructed horror film with a good hook and competently staged action scenes, made a whopping $81.3 million in Korea alone, and archetypal characters (the teen lovers, the workaholic dad and his precocious daughter, the expecting newlyweds) — this thing was begging for an American remake, one hopefully more in line with The Departed than The Secret in Their Eyes.
And per Deadline, that’s exactly what they’ll get. French studio Gaumont has laid claim to English-language remake rights for Train to Busan, beating out several Hollywood studios with a bid that the article estimates is in the seven-figure range. This constitutes the latest in a long line of attempts from English-speakers to mine horror from lands abroad: the great J-Horror Remake Craze of the early ‘00s brought us The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water, and Pulse; Sweden’s magnificent Let the Right One In came to America as Let Me In; and 2008’s Quarantine whited up the Spanish-language [REC].
Ambivalence usually splits public reaction in times like this. On the one hand, Train to Busan provides a pretty solid square one for another film to work with, and a remake would probably guide more eyeballs to the original. On the other, a perfectly good Train to Busan already exists, and the necessity of a re-do without subtitles is rather suspect. But as long as the filmmakers tapped for this new production bring something of their own to the table instead of re-staging all the original’s set pieces, there may be hope for this yet. Take a look at the trailer for the original below: