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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Train of the Dead (2007)

I like to check out horror movies from all over the world so I’m always on the lookout for them. When I found Train of the Dead on YouTube it seemed interesting. A ghost story from Thailand set on a train. I’m a sucker for flicks set on trains so I decided to dive right in.

We have two storylines that quickly intersect with each other. We meet a young man that doing motocross on his dirt bike. Think X-Games complete with the blaring generic music that goes along with one of those videos that the GoPro camera crowd likes to upload online. Thankfully we move quickly away from that to a group of criminals who are robbing a daycare facility, because I guess they have a lot of money. The robbery goes sideways and results in a police chase. That chase ends badly as the getaway van crashes into a shop that the young man from earlier is working at. They take him hostage and sneak onto a train that is leaving town. Almost immediately they notice the train is filled with some weird people that ignore them.

I’m debating how I should proceed with this review. On one hand I don’t want to spoil anything but on the other anyone who has ever watched a horror movie has to know what the big twist is going to be. To get into the nitty gritty of Train of the Dead I’m going to have to drop some spoilers on you. If you don’t like that sort of thing skip to the final paragraph that I promise won’t give anything away.

So here we go. They all died in the big crash/gunfight that ensued. If that weren’t obvious enough by the fact that we never see another police officer and/or the weird passengers, it is sealed by the fact that a member of the gang that we saw get shot down suddenly shows up on the train. Now this could be a cultural thing and the Thai audience it was made for wouldn’t be expecting a twist. But for me that knowing what was going on before the characters do spoiled much of the fun that could have been had by trying to figure out what the heck was happening. Seriously, this really tripped me up and got in the way of me enjoying Train of the Dead. It also didn’t help that the movie has some very slow spots that caused me to look at my watch more than once. It makes for a boring hour and a half.

There are some good things about the movie. You get a couple solid jump scares with some ghosts coming back to haunt the gang members as they start to figure out what is going on. I also liked the train as transportation to hell setting. This leads to some interesting ideas of the afterlife that aren’t what you would normally see in a western movie. Cultural differences are one of the reasons that I dig watching international horror flicks. There is a cool bit with the idea that people who should have died but are being kept alive by machines get stuck in a holding pattern unable to move along. That idea is fascinating, and I think will stick with me.

Do I recommend the movie? In spite of the things that I mentioned above the overall glacial pacing and long drawn out scenes where nothing happens is too much to overcome. The good stuff gets buried and isn’t enough to recommend Train of the Dead. I’m going to suggest you pass on this one.

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer 

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