Tubi’s ‘Terror Train’ Sadly Goes Off The Rails [Review]

Terror Train

When I heard that Tubi was rebooting Terror Train, my hope was that the creative team would keep the party train with a killer onboard premise and change every other facet to avoid a predictable and pedestrian retread. Sadly, that’s not the direction this Philippe Gagnon-helmed redux went. What we get instead is nearly a carbon copy of the 1980 original with a couple of deviations and updates thrown in. 

Terror Train (2022) makes the same mistake so many reimaginings do. It follows the source material too faithfully and in doing so, fails to differentiate itself in any meaningful way. The character names, the storyline, and even some of the costumes are carried over from the previous incarnation. It’s fun to see nods to the original in a remake but they tend to work better when peppered in, rather than constant and impossible not to notice.  

If you’ve seen the 1980 original, you already know the setup. But I’ll go ahead and run it down for good measure. A group of frat bros and sorority gals board a party train for a night of booze, drugs, and premarital sex. But when the party is crashed by a maniac, the collegiate scholars realize that a cruel prank from years past may be what’s driving the deranged psychopath to collect their pound of flesh. 

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Terror Train (2022) opens with the exact same medical cadaver prank from the original rehashed without any significant deviation from the previous setup. The characters’ names are the same, as is the outcome of the ill-conceived prank. And that really lays the groundwork for what’s to come. The entire film riffs so closely on its predecessor that there are very few surprises in store for anyone that has watched the original. Not surprisingly, that significantly tempered my enjoyment of this redux.  

The problems with this reboot extend beyond the filmmakers’ desire to retread familiar ground. The characters are also uninspired and there isn’t really a standout player to inspire audience investment. This version of Alana (played this time by Robyn Alomar) is kind of spineless. She comes across as a very kind and considerate person but she spends so much of her time doubting herself and apologizing that it’s hard to warm to her. She’s likable enough on a human level but she doesn’t have enough backbone to effectively function as a protagonist. If she doesn’t have faith in herself, what reason does the audience have to get behind her? 

Additionally, the magician character (played by Tim Rozon this time) is basically around to serve as a red herring as he espouses hatred for the bratty, privileged students aboard the train. And that’s is something of a bummer, seeing as how David Copperfield brought a charismatic and effortless charm to the same role in the 1980 original. 

My concerns with the characters actually extend to the entire cast, all of whom are pretty bland. The banter between them is cringe-inducing. And while the screenplay bears some of the blame for that, the acting is also stilted. Almost all of these characters feel interchangeable and worse yet, they’re boring. The original lineup had its fair share of grating personalities but Jamie Lee Curtis was affable and engaging in her turn as the film’s final femme. Without the existence of a character like that, this redux falls flat. 

What I will say is that Terror Train (2022) works best in its final moments. The denouement is the only part of this film that makes any significant effort to separate itself from its predecessor. But sadly, that deviation was still too little too late.  

If you’re keen to check it out for yourself, Terror Train is now streaming on Tubi!

  • Terror Train (2018)


This redux fails to set itself apart from its predecessor in any meaningful way.

User Rating 1 (1 vote)


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