Did you know that only some 20% of Americans own a passport and that only 10% of them actually use it? Well, after seeing Train, I can probably guess why.
Following a night of partying in some unspecified Eastern European town, Alex (Thora Birch – more on her later) and her college wrestling team-mates miss their train connection to their next destination. Luckily, there’s a mysterious woman at the station who just happens to have her own private train. But before you can down another shot of that vodka you’ve had stored away since your last Contiki tour, all sorts of torture ensues as Alex and her gang become living organ donors on the terror train to hell.
Anyone who thought Hostel was the benchmark for this kind of splatter fare will come away thinking Train is just a limp imitation: unlikeable, imbecilic, out-of-their comfort zone teens (would you really hand over your passport to two drooling goons?); gruesome eye-wincing butcher shop violence (I certainly wouldn’t want to buy an organ from this grimy unsanitary outfit); mysterious, menacing Euro-villains (again, an annoying swipe against Eastern Europeans).
It’s all here, torture porn by numbers. Too bad really, as there was a germ of an idea begging to get out. In more capable hands, Train could have been a worthy companion to the powerful 2005 chiller, 13 Tzameti (a film that captured perfectly the horror of man’s inhumanity against his own kind).
At least there’s Thora Birch to be thankful for. The former American Beauty star seems to be making horror her new home. With such creepy credits like The Hole and Dark Corners already behind her, Ms Birch is my favourite scream queen – sorry Linnea [Quigley, that is]. Mind you, that Kate Beckinsale comes a close second.
For some really frightening train trips, try Transsiberian and the Cushing/Lee cult classic Horror Express, or else stick with Terror Train – the Jamie Lee Curtis horror this film was intended to be a remake of.
Released 25 January