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A remake of an 80s horror classic, the Tubi original “Terror Train” is a suspenseful and thrilling ride from beginning to end. 

Terror Train 2022

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Released Halloween 2022, Terror Train is a remake of the 1980 film starring Jamie Lee Curtis, giving the film a modern update and ending in an unpredictable (though not entirely original) twist.

The film begins with two frat boys (Matias Garrido and Corteon Moore) playing a cruel prank on a pledge, Kenny (Noah Parker), that goes wrong. Alana (Robyn Alomar) reluctantly agreed to participate.

Three years later, the fraternity and sorority are having their annual Halloween party. The new fraternity president, just called “The Prez”  (Dakota Jamal Wellman), decides to book a party train that includes a magician (Tim Rozon). Once the guests start turning up dead, everyone takes it as a sick Halloween prank. But is it?

Directed by Philippe Gagnon and written by Ian Carpenter and Aaron Martin, the film is a murder mystery/slasher film. The overall feel is of a funhouse of distorted perception as the killer hides in disguise in plain sight, and murders appear to be Halloween pranks. 

Terror Train starts out like a formulaic slasher, then morphs into a suspenseful murder mystery with enough red herrings to keep the viewer’s mind turning.

Is it the creepy magician? Is it  Kenny, the victim of the prank? It’s not who you think.

The cast, especially Alomar and Ronzon, as well as the porter, Sadie (Nadine Bhabha), were excellent in their respective roles. Alomar steps into Jamie Lee Curtis’s shoes as the final girl, Alana. Much like Curtis’s Alana, she’s tough, resourceful, and determined to get to the bottom of things. She’s not afraid to throw herself in harm’s way if it means stopping the killer.

Gagnon’s intermittent use of aerial shots effectively creates isolation as we watch the train winding through a desolate landscape.

You get a sense of urgency thinking about this unsuspecting group of revelers on board a train with a killer. The killer could be lurking behind any one of the masks that were worn by a friend who is now dead. The killer has taken their place.

However, the film doesn’t deliver a classic slasher, with gory, creative kills or an iconic antagonist.

Terror Train is more of a fusion of the mystery/slasher genres.

How does it compare to the classic 1980 film?

The plot of the remake very closely follows the original, except for the ending. The ending of the 2022 film does offer a bit of an unexpected twist. Of course, I won’t give it away, but it is reminiscent of a classic slasher.

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode and written by TY Drake, Terror Train (1980) felt more like a murder mystery than a slasher, with a great shadowy look that complimented the theme and helped blur the lines between illusion and reality. It was incredibly atmospheric, thanks to the lighting effects devised by cinematographer John Alcott. Everyone’s favorite scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, is a standout as Alana, and David Copperfield is perfect in the mysterious and suspicious role of the Magician.

That means the 2022 remake had a tough act to follow. But it smartly subverts expectations just enough and infuses the film with a bit more of a slasher vibe, helping it stand on its own and warrant a watch — even for avid fans of the original.

If you like slasher movies and murder mysteries, Terror Train will take you on an unpredictable ride; it’s a train well worth boarding.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.5

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