Terror Train is really odd.
I had a choice. I was either going to watch this (having never seen it before) or go with the tried, tested and thoroughly wonderful Romancing The Stone and have to admit, I was bedazzled by this film’s stupid title.
It turns out that it was a post-Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis vehicle that followed Halloween’s slasher flick template albeit with a few twists and turns.
The set up is predictable enough. There are a bunch of dickhead high school kids led by Doc (played by the same chap who was Harry the terrible negotiator in Die Hard) who pull a very nasty prank on Kenny, your standard slow kid. They trick him into thinking he’s about to sleep with Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis) and instead have him kissing a dead body. It’s all very, very standard early ’80s nonsense.
He goes mad (literally) and three years later they all get on a train. In fancy dress. At this point you’re reminded of Trading Places and are incredibly sad that you’re watching this instead. Then the killings start.
Terror Train doesn’t go for too much gore, at least during the kills themselves, but is big on suspense. At first it’s alright. The deaths are reasonably creative and the fancy dress element means you’re never sure who’s who.
Then David fucking Copperfield turns up as a smug magician and you fucking hate him because the film becomes an extended magic show for far too long. The focus on all this magic pretty much signposts that magic is involved and before long, Alana is pretty sure he’s the guy. Despite the fact that HE HAS A VERY DIFFERENT FACE NOW AND IS INCREDIBLY ARTICULATE FOR A VERY SLOW GUY.
After nine killings, you find out who the killer is and are left pretty surprised. The ending almost makes the film worth watching despite the incredibly limited set and some very poor acting performances.
Jamie Lee Curtis does an admirable job with the script though and gets through it like a pro but ultimately it’s not a very good film. It’s also pretty far behind Silver Streak when it comes to badass films set on trains. I can’t think of another. Under Siege 2 was bollocks.