Review: Train (2008)


Director: Gideon Raff | 92 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Thora Birch, Gideon Emery, Kavan Reece, Derek Magyar, Gloria Votsis, Todd Jensen, Vladimir Vladimirov, Koyna Ruseva, Valentin Ganev, Ivan Barnev, Nikolay Mutafchiev, Zahary Baharov, Bolt Birch, Miroslav Emilov, Velislav Pavlov, Mike Straub, Shelly Varod

Like the slasher in the late 1980s, the torture porn of “Saw” and “Hostel” already seems to be dying of its own success. One torture spectacle after another is unleashed on the youthful target group, and gradually the films have to have more and more of a “gimmick”. You know, a trick to make the movie look slightly different from the rest of the uniformity. Just as Jason was eventually shot into space and Freddy had to rely more and more on bad one-liners, so are the ideas with the “Saw” clones. In the case of “Train”, the action was moved to a -you already feel it coming- train, because we didn’t have such a film yet …

It goes without saying that this already results in a weak concept in advance, because it leaves little room for creativity. After all, it should be possible to sell the film to young consumers, who did not remain originality. And so we are once again treated to a superficial group of youngsters who spend their time partying, drinking and being butchered, because that is the only thing young people can identify with in the eyes of the producers. The fact that the beef cattle can be used with any other cast also goes without saying, because the handsome heads don’t have to do much more than lie down and bleed to death. Unfortunately, this already turns out to be too much of a task, because all the torture doesn’t convince at all. Or you have to believe that when someone actually gets a complete jackhammer rammed into their chest, they just react with some uncomfortable sputtering. But wait, the film should not be too uncomfortable, of course, the target audience does not like that. No, a lot of torture and other violence, but no uncomfortable scenes that saddle us with a bad feeling or force us to look critically at ourselves. After all, it must remain fun.

The only thing that gives “Train” some “quality” (and that’s a daring choice of words) is the fact that the production itself looks very neat. By traveling all the way to Bulgaria they managed to get good value for money and so the budget of the film looks a lot more than it probably was. However, this does not yield anything other than some very painful slaughter scenes, because no matter how professional the film may look, it cannot prevent you having to make an effort to keep your eyes open towards the end of the film. Initially, the torture scenes still want to fascinate, however unoriginal, but it soon turns out that there is little left in it. The big revelation that this is illegal organ smuggling can be seen from the first scene, so the story does not provide any shocking twists. The same goes for the course of the film, because when the majority of the young people are slaughtered, there is only a seemingly endless escape scene, where you already feel that everything is going to end well.

“Train” has thus become one of many imitations of the oh so popular “Saw” and “Hostel”. It won’t be the last for now either. Even the gimmick is disappointing in the end: “Midnight Meat Train” also took place on a train and showed that you can combine hard-hitting action with an icy atmosphere and original twists. That makes “Train” a definite uniformity.

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