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I stumbled across this 2008 horror flick via a Netflix suggestion – which I had somehow completely managed to miss despite my years-long crush on Thora Birch.

Entitled simply “Train” (rumors abound that it was supposed to be a remake of 1980’s Terror Train but then the plot changed), this thing is basically Hostel on a locomotive, but instead of people paying to be murderers, they’re paying for organ harvesting/transplants. Our unsuspecting victims are a US wrestling team of 4 (+ 2 coaches, 1 who smarmily shows off his tattoo & nipple rings) who miss their train due to late night partying and have to get on a more mysterious one. Birch plays the only person who seems clued in to the bad vibes of the situation.

The opening credits start with a full on human skinning (because someone needed skin? I guess?), and there’s a good amount of flinchy moments as organs are pulled out of the awake, no-pain-killers-administered donors (including one excellent scene where a metal spike is hammered into a kid’s spine to keep him still) and some good use of splatter.

That said, the end chose to go the “battered heroine fights back” route and in one of the worst uses of foreshadowing ever, pretty much ruins the whole thing.

Verdict: entertaining just for the gore, but not scary enough to hold up to multiple viewings.

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