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Train to Busan is getting a U.S. remake

A movie still from the original Train to Busan.
A movie still from the original Train to Busan (2016). Pic credit: Next Entertainment World

It’s a good thing people have been staying inside lately! The thriller Train to Busan is in negotiations for a U.S. remake. The movie details a deadly zombie outbreak that infects a commuter train full of passengers. 

What is Train to Busan?

The original South Korean horror flick came out in 2016. The thriller was directed, written and produced by Yeon Sang-ho (The King of Pigs, Psychokinesis) who recently released a sequel to the movie called Peninsula. 

Train to Busan begins with an infected passenger boarding a crowded train heading to the metropolitan city Busan. The passenger begins attacking employees and other riders, leading the healthy passengers to quarantine themselves in closed-off areas of the train. 

As one can predict, in the high-stress situation, the passengers begin to clash over their conflicting views on how to handle the situation. 

Train to Busan was a major success, generating high box office numbers worldwide. It broke record numbers in multiple countries and was viewed over 11 million times in South Korea.

It has a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 94% and a Google audience rating of 4.8 out of 5. Neil Soans from Times of India called the movie a “must-watch for horror fans!” 

What is known about the U.S. remake? 

It was recently announced that Train to Busan will be remade in the United States. Deadline reports that Timo Tjahjanto is currently “in negotiations” to be the director of the movie. 

Tjahjanto is an Indonesian filmmaker best known for being the writer and director of the horror movies V/H/S/2 and May the Devil Take You Too.

It is also reported that James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring),  Michael Clear (Annabelle Comes Home, Lights Out), Nicolas Atlan (The Jungle Book), and Terry Kalagian (George of the Jungle) will produce the remake.

The writer Gary Dauberman will be adapting the script. Previously, Dauberman wrote the scripts for many of the movies in The Conjuring franchise. 

He is the screenplay writer for Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, The Nun, and Annabelle Comes Home.  Additionally, he co-wrote the script for It Chapter One and was the primary scriptwriter for the movie’s sequel.  

What are fans saying? 

The general consensus for the remake is mixed. Many find that the original movie is still a show-stopper and a U.S remake is unnecessary, especially with the recent controversies that have arisen from U.S. award shows not properly recognizing successful foreign movies.

Twitch streamer Hutch tweeted, “Counter-proposal: simply watch the original Train to Busan, which is basically flawless.”

Korean author Kat Cho also expressed her disapproval. They tweeted, “Train to Busan is based on VERY Korean things like culture, history and class that is specific to Korea. Remaking it in the US will strip it of the things that made it special. Just watch the original. Signed, a Korean person who is terrified of horror films but appreciates TTB.” 

Screenshot of Kat Cho's tweet.
Pic credit: Kat Cho/Twitter

Poking fun at the remake (and the poor public transportation system in NYC), TV writer Karen Chee tweeted, “I heard that the U.S. remake of Train to Busan is gonna be 5 hours long bc it takes place in NYC, and for the first few hours? The subway is stuck just outside Jay St.-Metrotech.”

Screenshot of Karen Chee's tweet.
Pic credit: Karen Chee/Twitter

Another TV writer offered commentary on the remake. Will Landman seemed impartial. While he tweeted, “I love Train to Busan & don’t feel a need for a remake,” he followed it up with praise for Tjahjanto’s previous horror projects.

As Train to Busan is still in pre-production and negotiation talks, time will only tell how the remake will turn out. However, the adaptation has high potential and is looking to Asian filmmakers and producers to head the project, giving honor to the original South Korean movie. 

Train to Busan (2016) is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

Raven Brunner


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