This past weekend, to help me unwind from all of the family and friend festivities of the past month, I decided to have a good old fashioned Saturday night in! Thanks to the magic of Netflix, I often find myself scrolling endlessly through countless categories of available tv shows and movies (usually before finally settling on rewatching "The Office" for the millionth time). Some of you may not know this, but I'm actually quite fond of the horror/suspense genre (yeap, even right before bed). I wanted to find something semi horrific, and 'Mission Impossible-esque', which proved kinda hard to do! Somehow I stumbled upon a movie called, "Train to Busan". All I knew from the description was that it was a zombie movie. I was tired of scrolling, so I gave it a whirl. I started to whip out my recent crochet project and begin working on my latest piece while the beginning credits rolled. When people started speaking, I realized that the movie was gonna be entirely in Korean subtitles. Now don't get me wrong, subtitles are usually fine, but I felt it would be difficult to read, watch, AND do my crochet at the same time, so I ALMOST switched to a different movie. Alas, the laziness of reaching for the remote overpowered me and I left it on. Surprisingly, this random film somehow gave me a very intriguing psychoanalytical insight into the subconscious relationship I/we have with horror movies in general. Yup, this is gonna be one of THOSE blog posts...
So first off, I don't even know why I ended up choosing something involving zombies. Zombie movies, much like post-apocalyptic and end of the world movies, are usually kind of annoying. To me, the endings are so inconclusive. Like, how does the world come back from total destruction? How do you UNinfect a global disease spreading like wildfire? Why not just succumb and get bitten instead of constantly fighting to stay alive in a world that you no longer recognize, when everyone you have ever loved is probably gone anyway? Just flat out frustrating. I gave zombie movies another chance though, and I'm not sure how, but I looked at the concepts and themes a bit more broadly. Thinking about it, I wonder how many subtexts we gloss over and completely ignore while focusing on storyline alone. Probably a lot! It makes me want to rewatch a bunch of stuff I thought was terrible at first sight (and this goes for books, music, and many other interpretable outlets as well).
Not to give away too many spoiler alerts for the movie, it begins typically enough; hardworking dad and a sweet little daughter who wants to spend more time with him. They get on a train to go visit her mom in another city, and all heck breaks loose due to a zombie infection in the country. As with many other films of this nature, there is a core group of unlikely people who band together in order to stay alive. One scene, that I've probably seen many times, somehow sparked major curiosity with me. There was an outbreak on one train car, but two uninfected people were trying to escape. They were running to the next car, that was infection free, with the main group to seeking refuge. The dad could see them trying to escape through the window, but decided to keep the adjoining door closed for fear that some zombies might get through too. the daughter thought this was just so morally incomprehensible and begged him to open the door and let the two inside. In the nick on time he does and everyone is safe for the time being. This part made me wonder what I'd do in that situation. While trying to save as many people as you can, should you risk losing everyone to save one or two? Throughout the movie, this seemed to be a central theme of "no man left behind". Even when things were SUPER risky trying to save them and even threatened the safety of everyone. In a much more relatable comparison; society is very similar in this ideal. When there are those of us comfortable in our "safe area", we see others suffering "through the train car window", but feel as though if we let them in, our comfortability will somehow be less comfortable. So in order to preserve our higher quality of life, the ones struggling to have a better life (or any life at all) are left in the infected train car to fend for themselves against a certain fateful outcome. The connection just blew my mind!
In addition to this revelation, the fate of the fictional world in general really struck a cord. These people were basically fighting every step of the way, even though it seemed like such an uphill battle. I mean come on, one simple bite and you're done for, there are a billion of them and only like 5 of you, they are fast AF, strong AF, and hiding literally everywhere! How do you overcome all of this? But they all kept fighting anyway for some reason, if even merely for the HOPE that they live to see and fight yet another day. Powerful stuff if you think about it. In the real world, every day might not seem like an exact fight for our life, but it kind of is. Sometimes it really does seem like the whole world is sinking and heading for total destruction in a number of ways. All of the world's problems may seem impossible to fix... but here were are... fighting just to make it through each day the best we can. To save as many people as we can. For as long as we can.
The human will to survive really is supernatural. It's crazy how much we can overcome. Scary movies really do teach us that if nothing else. Perhaps that's why I enjoy horror so much. A lot of them have philosophical undertones relating to our most primal fears and most basic human instincts. Sometimes I really do wonder why the people in movies like these either shun all to save themselves or put their very own life on the line to save others. I suppose you never really know the true character of a person until you see how they act in high stake situations. When it comes down to it, would you risk your own security in order for someone with little or no security to be secure as well? It seems like what it comes down to is being able to share without feeling like we are losing something. Even if it may mean we have a little bit less in order for someone with nothing to have ANYthing, isn't that more satisfying than having more than enough while someone else is suffering without? Eh, what do I know! Anywho, everyone, this movie turned out to be better than I expected, so I do recommend watching on Netflix if you can! Even if you can't watch this one, I encourage you to look for deeper meaning in things you might think aren't worth your time. You never really know what thoughts will spark when you have an open mind!
P.s. Even the simple notion of being scared by certain movies while others not so much is very telling. I think our fears tell us more about ourselves than most things!
P.p.s. I have yet to figure out how the heck Netflix makes money as a company... can someone help me figure this out? I mean, everybody I know shares a password with someone else, yet they keep popping out these budgets for original series and original movies which I'm sure cost billions... and I never see any advertisements on the site other than their own! Not to mention all the licensing for a jillion popular tv shows and movies. How does it work people?
P.p.p.s. This is another reason why I just need to learn every language fluently. Then I wouldn't have to stop crocheting to read the subtitles!