A look into social inequality: ‘Seoul Station’ is the zombie movie we all need to see
Prosthetic makeup, scary elements, and other special effects are some of the most important factors that make up a live-action zombie movie. But for Seoul Station—a South Korean animated zombie film written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho—could it be as gruesome and scary sans the actual representation of the Living Dead?
From the same director of zombie action movie Train to Busan (2016), this animated prequel is about a former sex worker named Hye-sun who wants to reunite and start a new life with her boyfriend Ki-woong after the latter tries to pimp her out online just so they can pay the bills. But because of the zombie pandemic—which started from an injured homeless man—the couple turns to desperate measures before they meet again.
Usually, zombie movies focus more on jump scares rather than the storylines—but Seoul Station is an exemption. Aside from its surprisingly impressive visuals, its narrative also offers multiple views of reality.
Here are 3 reasons why Seoul Station should be added to your list of “must-see zombie films:”
The movie highlights the prevalence of prostitution in South Korea
In the movie, Hye-sun used to work as a call girl before she met her boyfriend, Ki-woong. Struggling to make ends meet, Ki-woong resorted to posting his girlfriend’s nude photos online. This scene doesn’t just tell us how common these cases are, but also how anyone can be a victim of this malicious business.
Along with sexual violence and pornography, prostitution (just like anywhere else) is illegal and has been defined as a form of human rights abuse. In South Korea, despite the glitz and glamour of K-pop, the sex trade industry remains widespread. In fact, customers can avail of the consensual sexual services that are being offered in places like Miari, one of the largest red-light districts in Seoul.
It tackles homelessness in Seoul
The plight of the lower middle class in South Korea, especially in Seoul, was revealed in the animated film. In the movie, the Seoul Station becomes the shelter of older homeless people—the same place where the zombie attack happens. In 2016, the Korea Herald reported that there are more than 11,340 homeless people, including 6,192 who live in temporary dwellings. While 64 percent were unemployed people whose main income came from basic livelihood security pensions.
Two years later, a publication released a new survey showing that Seoul City has already established a comprehensive plan to reintegrate homeless people into their community. By providing part-time and full-time jobs, the local government expects that the homeless population will continue to be in a steady decline as their situation gets better by 2023.
The film explains the value of hierarchy in the country
Some scenes in the movie are reflections of rampant discrimination or unfair treatment at public health facilities. When a guy sought help for his injured brother, he was promptly chased away by doctors because the hospital was already full. And even though a room gets vacant, they first attend to patients based on their social standing. The sad reality is when it comes to government services, people in low social class are oftentimes the least priority.
Overall, Seoul Station is not just all about intense zombie chase and desperate means to survive, it’s also a movie that makes you question whether the government will have your back when a zombie apocalypse breaks out.
Seoul Station is now available on iflix!