The undead aren’t the only monsters here in “Seoul Station”
As a movie about a zombie epidemic, Seoul Station (2016) is a surprising edition to South Korea’s collection of animated films. Filled with topics like sex-work, political turmoil, homelessness, and –of course– death, the movie proves to be incredibly unlike the child-geared cartoons that previously defined its industry. And yet, the movie handles it all through characters like Ki-woong, Hye-sun, and Suk-gyu, who struggle to survive in an increasingly deadly situation in Seoul. With a uniquely morbid twist-ending, I subjectively think of it as a good movie -in terms of plot.
Despite how much I love the movie, my eyesight is not bad enough to miss the clunky animation, or the inconsistency of minor details like object permanence… or maybe not as ‘minor’ where running zombies are concerned. You can even tell where the amalgamation of 2D and 3D animation had briefly disconnected from each other, especially when a character model’s movement speed doesn’t match up to their position on-screen. Among the visual errors, however, is competent cinematography where lighting, watercolor backgrounds, camera movement, and animation techniques show a degree of talent brought into the film.
On storytelling, Seoul Station has it fleshed out from the trash-cluttered apartment of a near-evicted couple, to the echoes of footsteps in a dead-silent Hospital, and even to the body language of the movie’s characters. It is something I appreciate seeing in a film where I usually expect a certain mix of body horror and drama, and it is in the latter which I have noticed the most in this horror movie.
Like the rampant flesh-eaters, the social stigma of homelessness is very visible in this tragic horror narrative. The movie is undoubtedly as much a social commentary as it is a horror movie, but it avoids becoming a cheesy ‘80s PSA by simply having that commentary be part of the story, not ‘as’ the story.
Refreshing as it is when compared to general zombie flicks, however, it also contributes to the terrible downward spiral of the city’s morals and population. By the fact that every action made here is plausible and understandably human, Seoul Station is pretty well-made in spite of low-budget-looking animation. So, if there was to be a remake where the only change is the visuals, I would surely re-watch the whole movie again.
Watch this official trailer for “Seoul Station” … if you dare!