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Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula Review

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After 2016’s hit Train to Busan wowed audiences around the world, the highly-anticipated sequel has finally arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. Whilst it’s not quite as sharp as the first film, it still very entertaining and there’s still plenty of great zombie action to keep you engaged.

Peninsula is set 4 years after the zombie outbreak and after the first film. It’s a standalone sequel so you don’t need to have seen Train to Busan– although you really should seek it out because it’s great and it’s probably the best zombie films ever made by someone other than George A. Romero. Peninsula follows soldier Jung-seok played by Gang Dong-Won who receives an enticing offer to return to the quarantined peninsula to retrieve an abandoned truck filled with money. The mission goes wrong and Jung-seok and his friend get ambushed by a mysterious militia called Unit 631. All sorts of zombie chaos arise as Jung-seok must find a way to escape the peninsula once and for all.

Let me get straight out there and answer the question that’s on the minds of all Train to Busan fans, “Is Peninsula as good as the first film?”. No. Peninsula is definitely a step down from Train to Busan but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it. The 2016 film had set the bar so high that it was very unlikely that Peninsula would be better. Train to Busan is one of my favourite zombie films of all time and whilst Peninsula isn’t as good, I still had a great time with it and thought it was very good.

The sequel definitely isn’t as sharp as the first one and it does suffer a bit from sequelitis as it feels like it must be bigger and bolder than its predecessor when, in fact, it doesn’t need to be. Train to Busan had lots of great zombie action scenes as well as scares but it was also very character-driven and had much more to it than zombies and blood. That’s where Peninsula falls down unfortunately. Whilst this isn’t a problem if you just want to watch an entertaining zombie film, the film is slightly disappointing if you were hoping it to be on the same level as Train to Busan. It gets a bit ridiculous in some of the action scenes, particularly in the final act, with it almost turning into a Fast & Furious film; perhaps a more appropriate title for it would have been 2 Train 2 Busan.

Saying that, the film doesn’t need to be compared to its predecessor. If you don’t expect it to be as good as the first film, you’ll have a great time with it. I definitely preferred Peninsula to the 2016 animated prequel Seoul Station and even on its own, I really enjoyed Peninsula and was very entertained by all the great action scenes. The film goes all out on trying to up the spectacle on the first film and if, like me, you love some good zombie mayhem there’s no reason you won’t really enjoy it. There’s action throughout and even though it’s more cartoonish this time around, it’s really good entertainment and great fun.

Overall, Peninsula isn’t as tight a film as Train to Busan but that’s alright, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with the zombies here and I had a thrilling time and it’s probably one of the best zombie films since its predecessor.

4/5

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula will have limited cinema screenings due to cinema closures but it will be available on digital download from November 23rd and on all other formats from November 30th in the U.K.

 

 

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HORROR

M. Night Shyamalan | Old – Official Trailer

A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

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Genre:

Thriller

Release Date:

July 23, 2021

Director:

M. Night Shyamalan

Cast:

Rufus Sewell, Thomasin McKenzie, Embeth Davidtz, Eliza Scanlen, Abbey Lee, Alex Wolff, Gael García Bernal

Plot Summary:

A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

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HORROR

A Quiet Place Part II | Review

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This review is spoiler-free.

It’s not often that a film comes along and demands to be seen on the big screen, creating a cinematic experience unlike any other and that’s something the Quiet Place films definitely do. I may have learnt this the hard way, by watching the first film on a plane and not really enjoying it, only to re-watch it again at home and really like it. But now, seeing A Quiet Place Part II in an IMAX cinema, having not been in a cinema for months, it is truly a spectacular cinematic event.

After a brief flashback sequence to when the creatures first arrived, A Quiet Place Part II picks up exactly where the first film left off. If you’ve seen the first, you’ll know that it ended in a very exciting position and now we witness the Abbott family struggling to navigate and struggling to survive in the post-apocalyptic world, ravaged by monsters that hunt by sound.

AQP2 is a really tense and engaging thriller film however it never quite reaches the heights that its predecessor did. The first film managed to create a level of immense tension and sustain that pretty much the entire way through the film’s runtime. Here, it feels like there were certain scenes that were very tense and have you squirming in your seat but the bits between these scenes lack the same sense of dread and fear that the first did and in that sense the sequel is not quite as tight as the first.

At just 97 minutes long, it’s only 7 minutes longer than the first but it does feel quite a bit longer. The first film goes by in a flash and it’s over before you know it and whilst AQP2 doesn’t feel overly long, the pacing of it makes you notice the runtime that bit more than the first film.

There are a few very suspenseful and scary moments in it, particularly the opening flashback scene to the Abbott family’s first encounter with the creatures. In fact, even that pesky nail from the first film makes a small cameo here but what stands out so much and what makes it a real ‘cinema film’ is the fantastic sound design. Every single time one of the creatures is even remotely near one of the main characters or any time that the creatures just might be nearby, the sound design completely draws you into it and makes you feel like you’re there and that’s what makes these frightening moments all the more impactful.

A lot of the criticisms and faults with A Quiet Place Part II do largely come from the fact that it’s not as good as the first and it’s weaker by comparison, but it’s still a very smart and entertaining film that provides some genuine chills. The concept of creatures that hunt on sound is such a great idea and it plays out on screen so well. Every single time one of the main characters make even the slightest noise your heart stops and your hold your breath, waiting to see if the creatures are going to show up and if our heroes will meet their untimely demise.

One issue I had with the film was that you could always tell where the next scare was going to come from. The film is by no means predictable, it just sticks to some generic tropes and it’s clear where it’s going. Everyone knows in a scary situation in a horror movie you don’t split up. But that doesn’t stop our protagonists from doing so and it’s small details like that that when they happen you can immediately tell the consequences of certain actions will crop up again a few scenes later. But even when that payoff comes it’s still shocking and the film still delivers in the thrills and scares that you want from a film like this.

A Quiet Place Part II is a riveting and frightening film and whilst it doesn’t quite match the level of tension achieved in the first, it is nonetheless a hugely entertaining film and one that you absolutely must see on the biggest screen you can.

★★★★☆

A Quiet Place Part II is released in UK cinemas on June 3

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A Quiet Place Part 2 – Movie Review

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Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realise the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path. Luke Hearfield gives his thoughts on the long-awaited sequel once again directed by John Krasinski and starring his real life wife Emily Blunt. It’s time to head back to the cinema and enjoy the experience of sitting in a room full of strangers and sharing the collective feeling of deliciously uncomfortable silence.

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