Film reviews

#616 – D-Railed (2019)

D-Railed (2019)

Film review #616

Director: Dale Fabrigar

SYNOPSIS: A murder mystery event takes place on board the train, and the guests find themselves caught up in a robbery, as what is real and what is performance starts to be called into question. The train derails into a lake, where a sinister monster is waiting in the waters ready to pick the survivors off…

THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: D-Railed is a 2019 horror film. Starting off with a murder mystery event being held on a train, the participants get on board and are introduced to the event, and from there, things quickly spiral out of control, as a robbery takes place aboard the train, and the line between what is real and what is part of the event quickly blurs. Honestly, or a low budget affair, the opening act is pretty interesting: the question of what is part of the act and what is real becomes impossible to discern as the action moves pretty fast. Perhaps the characters could have questioned what was real and what was not a bit more, as they just suddenly swap from one to the other, but as viewers, it certainly has a least some intrigue that pulls you in.

Eventually, the train derails and lands in a lake, where a monster starts picking off the survivors. This is where the film itself starts to literally derail as well: the whole blurring of what’s real and what is dropped, and instead we just get a monster coming out of nowhere that starts picking people off quickly, with no real time to make the deaths meaningful. The monster itself is not established in any significant way: there’s no deep lore, mythos, origins, or reason for it to exist, so it doesn’t have much presence as a character. The film’s premise (based on the trailer anyway) is that the characters are trapped on a railway carriage in the middle of a lake as a monster lurks below the water. However, this forms the basis for about ten minutes of the film, as it feels like it quickly runs out of ideas of what to do on a railway. They also rather quickly establish that the shoreline isn’t too far away, so it makes it much less of an issue when they can just swim to the shore.

The survivors make their way to an abandoned house or something, where they’re all picked off by the monster until one remains, who manages to escape back to railway station where the train departed, asking one of the attendees for help. However, in the final twist, it turns out (spoiler) that the murder mystery event actually took place one hundred years ago, and there were no survivors, so the attendee saw a…ghost or something? Here’s the main problem with this film: absolutely nothing is explained or justified. We don’t know anything about the monster, the survivor, anything. In some films you can leave things up to interpretation, but this is not one of them. It explains that the murder mystery event actually took place one hundred years ago and…just stops, expecting us to be satisfied with that. There is no payoff to sitting through this jumbled mess of a film.

The sets are clearly all constructed from plywood, and the monster design isn’t really that convincing. CG effects too are lacklustre, and all this jus adds up to a jumbled mess of a film. I stand by that the premise of the opening act is at least intriguing, and handled well in terms of pace and editing, but the film quite literally derails when the train itself does, rushing too quickly ahead and burning itself out before trying to tie everything together at the end with a barebones explanation that goes nowhere far enough to justify the viewing. Train wreck.