There are plenty of zombie movies to go around, but it’s not often that one becomes both an audience sensation and an internationally-acclaimed masterpiece. South Korean film Train to Busan was the blockbuster undead thriller to watch in 2016, so subsequent plans of an American remake (that nobody asked for) came as no surprise.
Progress then seemed to be picking up steam last December when the film got an official title, The Last Train to New York, and a release date of 21 April 2023, but things are now being derailed. The project has been removed from Warner Bros.’ release schedule, with no word on the reason for the delay or a new premiere date.
The move isn’t exactly a huge surprise: the remake was, after all, set to arrive in less than a year, and the lack of updates on cast, filming dates, and story details is certainly worrying. Given that it wasn’t announced to be outright cancelled, the postponement likely offers more pre-production time for the team, so they won’t have to rush the production to meet the original April release date.
The Last Train to New York will see Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto at the helm, whose credits include V/H/S/94, The Night Comes for Us, and May the Devil Take You. James Wan of the Aquaman fame has hopped on board as producer as well, with Gary Dauberman (Annabelle, The Nun) serving as scriptwriter.
It remains to be seen if the expertise of these three names is enough to remove this Train to Busan remake from the negativity surrounding remakes, especially when Hollywood adaptations have often failed to impress with their dull, shallow, and at times, tone-deaf repackaging of non-Western portrayals. Tjahjanto, at least, remains optimistic, writing in a tongue-in-cheek manner on Twitter:
“In James (Wan) own words: ‘Timo, we need to rise above & beyond everyone’s expectations, just like other great remakes have done such as The Ring or Dawn of the Dead remake.’ Who am I to let my boss down? Needed to add that James has been my hero since my college days. As a South East Asian kid from a conventional middle class family who doesn’t exactly encourage artistic endeavors (i.e blowing up heads, smearing fake blood) his rise from SAW inspired a lot of us SEA genre doofuses.”