Train to Busan
Before South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite was hot on everyone’s lips, it was Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan. In 2016, the film caught attention by presenting a straightforward premise: survive from a zombie apocalypse while you make your way to the safe zone at Busan on a train.
Unlike Parasite, the beauty of this film lies more on its characters than its cinematography. Yeon successfully portrayed the best and the ugliest side of human beings during a fight for survival. There’s the selfless duo, father Seok-Woo (Gong Ji-Cheol) and husband Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-Seok), and the troublemaker banker Yon-suk (Kim Eui-Sung).
Although Train to Busan didn’t garner as much international recognition as Parasite, it received a number of accolades from the Asian Film Awards and the Chunsa Film Awards.
The most eerily realistic film on our list has to be filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. Released in 2011, it accurately depicted real-life responses to a pandemic — from medical researchers, to public health officials, to the general public.
What makes Contagion interesting is how closely the Meningoencephalitis Virus One (MEV-1), the virus in the film, resembles the novel Coronavirus (nCoV). It originated in Asia, from pigs and bats, and became capable of human-to-human transmissions. Sounds too bloodly familiar, if you ask us. In the film, the death toll reached 2.5 million in the US and 26 million worldwide. Let’s hope the current situation doesn’t turn into a disaster movie.
While the virus in Contagion resembles the nCoV, the one in Outbreak resembles Ebola. However, Outbreak presents a different plot to the rest of the films here. In addition to mass hysteria and the race to contain a virus, the movie delivers a sinister twist. The government becomes interested in using the deadly Motaba virus as a biological weapon.
It stars Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo, Jude Law and Kevin Spacey. As a supporting character, Spacey received two awards at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the Society of Texas Film Critics Awards. It’s sad to see how much his career has derailed after his sexual misconduct came to light.
Shaun of the Dead
If you enjoyed watching the cast from Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, you’re going to like horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead. The film follows two Londoners Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) whose mundane life became more exciting after they woke up to a zombie apocalypse. Shaun, with the help of Ed, must find and save his ex-girlfriend Liz and his mother Barbara before they get bitten by zombies.
While the premise of Shaun of the Dead may seem ridiculous, it was nominated for the Outstanding British Film Award at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) in 2005. That says a lot for its entertainment value.
Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger displays his acting range by taking up a non-action role in 2015’s Maggie. He plays Wade, a protective and loving father of Maggie (Abigail Breslin), in a country that has survived a zombie apocalypse. Remnants of the virus, however, remain. And Maggie gets infected and gradually turns cannibalistic.
Beyond the apocalyptic theme, Maggie spotlights human relationships, familial love and sacrifice. Wade faces an internal struggle: kill Maggie to protect the family, or spare Maggie and jeopardise the family. Say you’re Wade, what would you do?