Quick Reviews: Train to Busan, Tenants Downstairs, Don’t Breathe, Green Room

train to busan tenants downstairs don't breathe green room malaysia posters

Train to Busan

Malaysia Release Date: 8 September 2016
Director: Yeon Sang-Ho (The Fake, The King of Pigs)
Cast: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-mi, Choi Woo-Shik, Ahn So-Hee, Kim Soo-Ahn

Verdict: Hands down, one of the best zombie movies in recent years. Not only there are thrills and fun of survival in a train ride filled with the undeads that can run and almost instantaneously turn a living into their own kind with a single bite, there’s also a heart to the story with the theme of humanity — a self-centred fund manager who learns how to help and care for others along the way while protecting his own daughter. Great variety of relatable characters well portrayed by the actors. The special effects are pretty good as well without much use of CGI. I’m glad to be wrong of being skeptical about this Asian-made zombie thriller. Now, everyone, please point and laugh at the Resident Evil film franchise.

What I would’ve named the film: “Zombiepiercer”

Second opinion: My girlfriend finds it “nice to watch in overall, like a game”.

Malaysian censorship: I don’t think anything is censored. The zombie violence aren’t mild but it isn’t too gruesome either.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

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The Tenants Downstairs

Malaysia Release Date: 25 August 2016
Director: Adam Tsuei
Cast: Simon Yam, Ivy Shao, Chuang Kai-Hsun, Lee Kang-sheng

Verdict: This dark-comedy-mystery-drama is intriguing and compelling enough to keep me curious and guessing until it bores the hell out of me before finally ending without any sense of purpose. There are moments I thought it has themes of human nature, desire, routine or manipulation but none of that is intended. Ripping off and mixing the concepts from The Usual Suspects (1995) and Fight Club (1999), The Tenants Downstairs is just a story of someone telling a story with an attempt to shock its audiences with cruelty and chaos, and yet it’s not bold enough to cross the line despite being marketed as “the most controversial Taiwanese film”. I didn’t feel surprised, disturbed or emotionally engaged. Nothing about the film is impressive apart from the performances by Simon Yam and some of the cast.

What I would’ve named the film: “The Idiots Upstairs” (upstairs as in the producer, writer and director)

Second opinion: My girlfriend, who’s a huge fan of the original source, was largely disappointed by this film adaptation and alterations.

Malaysia censorship: Scenes of sex, nudity and gore are either cut, panned away or zoomed into darkness.

Rating: 2 / 5

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Don’t Breathe

Malaysia Release Date: 25 August 2016
Director: Federico Alvarez (Evil Dead 2013 remake)
Cast: Dylan Minnette, Stephen Lang, Daniel Zovatto

Verdict: The title is like a perfect taunt on its audiences. I did find myself holding my breath in numerous moments in the movie. Three young thieves try to rob the wrong house and get trapped inside. Although the “villain” is a blind war veteran, the film didn’t give him unrealistic abilities, making the premise very convincing. However, the film does have problems with its character development, plot holes and questionable storyline to justify the lesser evil. It also relies a bit on jump scares and cheating shots in some sequences. But despite its flaws, the film is pacy, thoroughly entertaining and of course, terrifying.

What I would’ve named the film: “Bad Kids vs. Bad Blind Guy”

Second opinion: (Sorry, none for these two films as I watched them alone. My girlfriend thought it’s a supernatural or a slasher type of horror flick.)

Malaysia censorship: Vulgarities are inconsistently muted but I don’t think any sequences were cut.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

don't breathe movie meme


Green Room

Malaysia Release Date: 25 August 2016
Director-writer: Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Murder Party)
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Steward, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner

Verdict: Director-writer Jeremy Saulnier does what he does best yet again making yet another highly gritty and gripping thriller-horror. Only this time his film has a much better pacing and it’s engaging as soon as the plot is set up. It’s a scary, realistic situation to be in if you could put yourself the shoes of this group of young rockers who find themselves trapped in a crime scene with no idea if it’s safe for them to leave. It’s not only a battle of violence, but intelligence too as both protagonists and the main antagonist are smart characters, performed commendably by the actors.

What I would’ve named the film: “Panic Room 2”

Malaysia censorship: I didn’t get to catch it at the cinema but there are graphically violent and gruesome scenes with a lot of F-bombs. You’re lucky if the film is uncut.

Rating: 4 / 5

* In respect to the recent passing of Anton Yelchin, no meme was created for this review.

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