Thursday, October 14, 2010


Train 2008
Director: Gideon Raff
Writer: Gideon Raff
Starring Thora Birch, Gideon Emery, Kavan Reece, Derek Magyar, Gloria Votsis, Vladimir Vladimirov, Koyna Ruseva, Valentin Ganey, Ivan Barney and Nikolay Mutafchiev
Train was originally supposed to be a remake of the 80’s classic Terror Train but it turned into something else. When you boil this film down to its essence it is basically Hostel meets Turistas on a train. It does this idea admirably well. It definitely goes with the other recent horror films of this type like the Saw films and the Hostel films and it can hold its head up with those films. This is a brutally gory film and the scenes are very hard to watch. But, if you love hard edged gore you will definitely like this film. The script is basically plot over character as it is all meant to get you to the train and to let the carnage ensue. The cast is decent but the film really hinges on Birch’s performance and she does a masterful job with the material. The gore in the film is intense and the camera never flinches or cuts away from it and I found that quite refreshing. This is a solid horror film and on well worth seeing.
The plot basics are this, an American collegiate wrestling team is competing in Eastern Europe. A few of the competitors miss the train they are supposed to travel on for the next event. They find a new train and get on it with their coach, (Jensen) but something is not quite right with this train and some of them begin to disappear. It is soon discovered that this train is used to hijack passengers and to use their body parts and organs for black market surgery. One of the teammates, Alex (Birch) discovers this and now tries to survive and stay one step ahead the evil people aboard this malevolent train.
This is a tense and scary little horror film. The direction by Raff is tight and the film has a very claustrophobic feel with the train sequences. When Birch is running through the train you feel her isolation and her fear. His filming of the blood soaked torture sequences are chilling and makes the viewer want to look away, but he will be unable too. The script does its job but most of the characters are flat and the only character you really feel for is Alex. The story is really one of plot over characterization, and yet it works here. The cast is ok with the exception of Birch. She is the shining example of what is good about the acting. You root for her and want her to achieve victory. The SFX and make up effects in the film are brutal and are done very well. It reminded me of some of the work that was done in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. The score by Michael Wandmacher is tense and brooding and fits the film very well. This is a film that works well and uses the terror of the Eastern European landscape very well.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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