August 2, 2010

Train (2008)

"In Europe, a group of American college athletes unknowingly board a train that will become one deadly ride."

Well, I'm nearly at the end of my series of torture movies which I'm sure is a relief to everyone not least of all me. There's only one more to go after this (excluding the "Saw" franchise which I'll probably never review) but it's a good one and I can take my time over it.

I'm not going to spend very long reviewing "Train" though because it just isn't worth the effort. It's not a remake of "Terror Train" thankfully but it's yet another ripoff of "Hostel" with all the xenophobia about Eastern Europe and all that other nonsense.

The best way of describing this film is to rename it as "Turistas on a Train". That's all it is but with the gorgeous Melissa George replaced by a really butch looking Thora Birch.

There were some really nasty torture scenes as usual with varying levels of ridiculousness and the story was entertaining enough if you don't think about it too hard but, honestly, it's so far beyond unoriginal that it's actually boring to watch.

I'll just do a brief recap of the main points of the film. A team of American wrestlers (I kid you not, this is supposed to be a sport!) go out partying and miss the train to their next event. Knowing no Russian, their coach shouts his mouth off about nobody being able to speak English and an older yet still attractive Russian woman helps him out by telling him which train they should all take.

From then on it just gets silly. When asked for their passports, they all happily surrender them for "safe keeping" to two lecherous train staff even though everyone on the planet knows that you never give your passport to anybody when you are abroad ever.

Next the team members start disappearing one by one and find themselves being taken to the back of the train where they are cut up for their various organs without anaesthetic, realism, suspense, or any acting ability whatsoever. It's all so horribly derivative that it just makes you want to laugh no matter what vileness is depicted on screen. There's everything from a "Wolf Creek" head-on-a-stick moment to various scenes of ripping out eyes, castration and all manner of mutilations in between.

During all this Thora Birch manages to avoid capture by the Russian woman (who turns out to be a doctor) and her lumbering assistants. Honestly, you won't know whether to laugh or cry, switch it off or kick your TV screen in. If you've actually bought this DVD then I think you'll probably want to do all of those things to some extent.

The funny thing is that even though everything in "Train" is so mediocre apart from the gore, there's still enough there to make you want to watch it all the way to the end just to see what happens. It's completely predictable though and not at all memorable. It even has an epilogue where you are supposed to think about how "badass" Thora Birch will be after surviving all this horror. That's nothing compared to how badass, or maybe just plain bad, you will feel if you endure this entire movie yourself.

It obviously had a pretty good budget but it still looks all grainy and cheap like the "Saw" sequels, "Captivity" and others of that ilk. There's nothing you can say about the acting really because nobody does any worth perking up for. The Russians are actually Bulgarians so they don't even need to fake their accents and everyone else just does as much as the script allows them to but no more. There is actually such a complete disregard for characterisation that it's impossible to care about anybody or what happens to them. I didn't think there could ever be a film like this which would be poorer than "Hostel" but now I know.

The bottom line is that if you want to see a complete ripoff of every other torture porn movie that has gone before with the events all taking place on a train then this is for you. If you are tired of seeing people being tied up, hung from chains and meathooks, screaming as big chunks of their bodies get ripped or sliced off, then give it a miss. Actually, I'll probably never get completely tired of seeing any of those things but it's all to do with context.

If you know someone who has never seen a horror movie before then slip them this and prepare to laugh when they tell you how it was the most horrible and disgusting thing that they've ever watched. For those of us who have seen the same thing done better many times before, it will still be the most horrible thing we've ever watched too but for completely different reasons.

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