Some of my favorite horror films have taken place on trains. Horror Express, Terror Train, and Train to Busan for example. There’s something about being trapped on a speeding train with no way off that adds claustrophobia and tension. Dale Fabrigar (Area 407, Reed’s Point) finds a way to give it a new twist in D-Railed.
The plot of D-Railed is actually fairly simple. Take a Roaring 20s-themed murder mystery dinner theatre production and put it on a train. Then drop the train into a lake. A lake with something hungry living in it. Their choices are to hope help comes before they drown in the sinking train, or be eaten by the creature outside.
D-Railed does not start on a promising note. We get a fairly long stretch of very bad underwater CGI, (all of the film’s CGI is awful), before getting into the plot. An attempt to rob the well-to-do passengers goes badly wrong, leaving several people, including the engine’s crew dead. The resulting derailment gives the film its title and leaves the surviving cast members trapped.
Director Fabrigar and co-writers Suzanne DeLaurentiis and Everette Wallin (who plays Thomas) previously collaborated on Area 407. That was a dull-found footage effort about plane crash survivors who are attacked by deadly creatures.
D-Railed at least moves at a faster pace. Between the robbery, the crash, and the creature things do keep moving and don’t get overly talky. The scenes of the creature picking the survivors off one at a time are suspenseful and fairly bloody. The gore, as well as the creature, are actually practical effects. They’re well done too which is another pleasant surprise.
However, D-Railed hurts itself badly with the huge amount of bad CGI, some of which could easily have been cut from the film. It also shoots itself in the foot with gaffes like being able to see grass in scenes that are supposed to be in the middle of the lake.
Top-billed Lance Henriksen (Gehenna: Where Death Lives, West Of Hell) is, no surprise, barely in the film. Shae Smolik (The Hatred, The Sandman) is quite good as Abagail. Carter Scott as Evelyn and Tonya Kay (Evil Bong 777, Girl On The Third Floor) as Gigi also deserve a mention.
It may have some bad flaws, and may not be overly original, but D-Railed does stay interesting, right down to its creepy Twilight Zone ending. And that’s more than I can say for a lot of films I’ve sat through recently.