“Four years after South Korea’s total decimation in Train to Busan, the zombie thriller that captivated audiences worldwide, acclaimed director Yeon Sang-ho brings us Peninsula, the next nail-biting chapter in his post-apocalyptic world. Jung-seok, a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation with two simple objectives: retrieve and survive. When his team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best—or worst—of human nature prevails in the direst of circumstances.” (synopsis via Bleeding Cool)
Ah, humanity! In the midst of great chaos and hellish trauma, you either become the very best of yourselves … or, fortunately for storytellers, the very worst of yourselves.
It’s no surprise, of course, that creators of apocalyptic dramas tend to favour the latter reaction to events since it is ripe with a myriad of storytelling possibilities and sage lessons about we are often our own worst enemy and deserve what we get, save for the bravely virtuous few souls who think to act in the cause of the greater good.
Peninsula, the thrilling sequel to Train to Busan (both directed by Yeon Sang-ho) as nail-biting a zombie thriller as you’ve ever seen where nothing is a given and you take any aspect of the story for granted as your own peril, asks which side of human nature will prevail?
Soldier survivor Jung-seok, tasked with going back into the zombie-scape that is South Korea, is obviously hoping for more “best” and less “worst” but Peninsula being an apocalyptic thriller, you can bet there will be a great deal of the latter before the former, hopefully, asserts itself.
The trailer gives every indication of some truly terrible things happening before the survivors make it out safe and sound, and like Train to Busan, we will no doubt be recoiling in horror every bit as much as sigh with relief as a cavalcade of near escapes.
The hope too is that the characterisation in Peninsula is as rich and full as its predecessor so that if the very worst happens, we can at least feel it as fully as we need to for a film like this to truly affect us.
And it does very much look like it will affect us just as deeply as the first film which really drove home that at the heart of every apocalypse are real people doing their best to survive.
Peninsula will have to running for safety sometime later this year, COVID-19 cinema openings permitting.