Plot: This promises to be a New Year’s to remember, as a bunch of college kids have booked quite a unique location to bid farewell to the last year. The party will take place on a train and since this is the final big event before graduation, everyone wants to go out in style. A magician (David Copperfield) has been booked to entertain, there will be music, food, and of course, ample booze, plus the event will be a costume party, adding even more craziness to the mix. As the good times roll, the party proves to be as wild as everyone hoped, though someone has managed to crash the party. As all of the party goers are dressed up and most even wear masks, this party crasher is able to go around undetected, even as some of the guests are left killed in the wake. But even once the bodies are discovered, the confined space of the train and all of the costumes make it tough to track down who is responsible. Will anyone survive this train ride from hell and who is racking up all these kills?
Entertainment Value: Terror Train might not be a slasher classic on wheels, but it is a fun watch and how often can we David Copperfield working his magic in a slasher movie, right? The narrative is familiar and leans on the usual genre elements, but the move to a train location adds some interest, since there’s nowhere for the victims to run in most cases. A battle for survival in a suburban neighborhood or the dark woods can be stressful, but being trapped on a train with a maniac adds some potential for intense, claustrophobic vibes. The movie doesn’t put that potential to good use, but the confined space combined with the killer’s frequent mask swaps helps Terror Train stand out a little, which is always good. I think the movie comes off more like a murder mystery than a slasher flick though, thanks to a slow pace and a lack of attention given to the kills, which are fine, but unremarkable. So if you want a frantic stalk & slash experience, Terror Train isn’t going to deliver, but it is a solid horror movie and the costume party on a train is a fun idea. I just wish that given the lack of story or character work, the kills were more frequent or memorable, but at least we have Jamie Lee Curtis and of course, David Copperfield’s cinematic genius. I don’t love Terror Train, but it is a solid watch and for slasher fans, well worth a spin.
The movie’s narrative is driven by a prank where the promise of sex is switched with a corpse, but there’s not much sleaze here. Some scantily clad moments throughout, but aside from some rubber breasts on a dead woman, there’s only one nude scene, but it is a memorable topless sequence. If you were hoping to get a glimpse of Copperfield’s magic wand, sorry to be the bearer of the bad news. There’s some blood here, but it is passive, we usually just see the aftermath of the violence, not the kinetic attacks. So for the most part, Terror Train is quite tame for a slasher movie, which is one reason it feels more like a murder mystery at times. The victims are usually slathered with the red stuff after the attacks, so blood is smeared on clothes, we see rubber limbs and such, but again, not much on screen gore or direct violence. The dialogue isn’t a rich vein of memorable or quotable lines, but some fun banter is present. Jamie Lee Curtis as Alana is able to make the most of her dialogue and elevates the material at times, while some one liners and bad jokes also raise the score a little. The craziness here is fairly low, with the wacky masks, David Copperfield’s presence, and some one liners, but otherwise, pretty straight forward stuff.
Overall Insanity: 2/10