In Europe, a group of American college athletes unknowingly board a train that will become one deadly ride.
Not to be confused with the (much better) film Midnight Meat Train which starred Bradley Cooper and was released in the same year, comes the Thora Birch starring Train. The basic plot goes a little something like this. In Eastern Europe, a group of American college athletes unknowingly board a train that will become one deadly ride. The students are participating in a wrestling championship; they include Todd (Derek Magyer) and his girlfriend Alex (Thora Birch), Sheldon (Kavan Reece), Claire (Gloria Votsis), and young assistant coach Willy (Gideon Emery). After a hard match, they sneak away from their hotel to an underground club. However, the next morning, they return too late for their train to Odessa. Waiting for them and pissed off is Coach Harris (Todd Jensen) who has stayed behind to wait for them. When they board their train, it is not quite the train they were hoping to catch.
Train is pretty much Hostel & Turistas (Paradise Lost to us UK viewers) combined, but not done as well. The main thing Train has going for it would be the graphic violence. It had to be heavily cut just to get an ‘R‘ rating, but even so there are some moments here that aren’t too far away from the gore seen in films such as Martyrs & Frontiers. I don’t really like the phrase ‘torture porn‘ which gets banded around by a lot of people for pretty much every film with a bit of bloodshed. That being said, if there was a movie that deserved that title, then Train may be it. There is so much brutality on display here, and to be honest there really doesn’t seem to be a point to it the majority of times.
Thora Birch was great in American Beauty. I even quite liked her in The Hole. However, whilst she may give the best acting performance on show here, there wasn’t really much competition. The bad guys are laughable for the most part, and it honestly felt like every rip-off horror cliché in the book was used here. Poor acting, poor story, full of plot holes and ridiculous characters and character choices. Such a shame, because visually the film looked great, especially the torture scenes. The opening shot was basically the end to Martyrs, which if any one has seen would I’m sure agree that was pushing the boundaries of visceral brutality. I thought this film was really going to kick on from this great beginning, but sadly it was all downhill.
The actual ‘reveal‘ as to why the bad guys are doing this to our college group just becomes pointless and raises so many questions. Not in a good way either. I don’t like to spoil any film I review, so I’ll just say that this is basically a really poor version of Hostel on a train. And the journey our American friends go on to survive this train ride. The worst part is left until the end though, with one of the most unsatisfying and plot hole-ridden endings I think I have seen.
Not a lot to really recommend to you good people this time sadly. I liked the lengths the film went to as far as the violent scenes go. They really pushed the boat out, and you will be treated to people being skinned alive, spinal cords getting severed, eyes removed and much, much more if you decide to check this out. Sadly though, if you have seen films like Hostel, Saw, Turistas & Wolf Creek, then you have seen Train. All we get here is a rip off of those style of films, with a much worse story and average acting. I have seen worse films though, so if you do like that style of movie and can handle some violence (or actively seek out graphically violent films like I know some people do!) then Train may be a good way to pass 90 minutes or so. Just leave your brain at the door and prepare to laugh as our protagonists make dumb choice after dumb choice.