Friday, 12 March 2021

D-Railed (2018) - Horror Film Review

was directed and co-written by Dale Fabrigar (Area 407). It is an indie creature feature that has an interesting set-up and good creature design, but falls into some of the pitfalls of the genre while featuring an ending that I can't decide if it was a terrible idea or a great one. Either way the ending is clumsily handled in my opinion.

A murder mystery event is taking place on a steam train and so various people have turned up to take part in it. These include Evelyn (Carter Scott) who is there as her friend is part of the cast, travelling salesman Eugene (Logan Coffey - States of Horror TV series), teenage Abigail (Shae Smolik - The Hatred), her nanny, and enigmatic Thomas (Everette Wallin - Area 407). The event is interrupted by a criminal who intends to steal the guests jewellery before getting off the train, however in the ensuring chaos the train ends up derailing and crashing into a lake. As if this wasn't bad enough it turns out the lake is home to some sort of monstrous creature who starts to pick off the survivors one by one...

I enjoyed how D-Railed starts off as a thriller and changes at the conclusion of the film's first act into something quite different. A common complaint I have with creature features are the moments of boredom that come with the genre. The downtime between creature attacks has not much happening, while as much as I liked the design of the monster it felt typical for these sorts of films, a white humanoid creature with a huge mouth filled with pointed teeth. To begin with there were far too many characters, it didn't help a lot of these were very annoying, with some especially grating due to their over acting. Thankfully it is almost like the creature is aware of this with it seeming like it was picking its victims based on how irritating their performances had been. The core group of Coffey, Wallin, Smolik and Scott were the most bearable ones, maybe due to having more to their personalities than just angry shouting or shrill screaming. While it was a very small role it was fun to see Lance Henriksen (The Terminator, Aliens, Near Dark) here, I also thought Frank Lammers gave a memorable performance in the small role he got.

While the CG leaves a lot to be desired it is also briefly used, most evident during the titular derailing sequence, but also in some ill-advised jump scare moments. I was impressed with the quality of the monster design, more so I was impressed with some of the practical effects. There was a great looking scene in which a character's arm gets ripped off, and throughout there is plenty of blood. The moment to moment story beats are less interesting, the script in particular had a lot of nothing about it, and there were a few too many moments of characters acting astoundingly stupid. One example that stuck in the mind is when a character is pulled into the water by the creature, another character runs over to where they just were and then just stands there screaming until they too are taken! The general flow of the story is passable but there seemed to be no real consensus between characters on what they should do. It leads into a Twilight Zone style twist ending that could have worked well, but it was awkward in its execution, it left a muddled lid on the bottle that was D-Railed.

If it wasn't for the unique set-up for this particular monster movie this would have been much more forgettable. I didn't find the characters that involving, the story was mostly lifeless and as good as the monster looked it wasn't an original feeling design. D-Railed is due for release on 19th July thanks to High Fliers Films.


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