Road Train (2010)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Dean Francis
Writers Clive Hopkins
Starring Xavier Samuel, Bob Morley, Georgina Haig, Sophie Lowe
Genre Demonic
Tagline It will drive you to hell ...
Country

Review

“Nina's not going to make it. There's not enough for three.” - Craig

In the South Australian outback four friends are camping out for no apparent reason, maybe they enjoying the ancient scenery or something. Craig and Nina have more on their minds than the possible delights of the local vista, and are bonking their brains out, while Marcus shrugs off Liz's advances. We later learn Marcus was in a relationship with Liz until Craig decided to bonk her, why on earth the three are still friends isn't explained.

Breaking camp the four head on back to an isolated tarmac road with Craig driving Marcus' mother's Jeep. Don't ask, another one of those character indicators or something. Any-wise our twenty somethings run afoul of a “road train”, a honking big Aussie truck and trailer unit, that runs them off the road leading to the Jeep cartwheeling. Craig has a broken arm, no one else has a scratch. With their situation being slightly on the bad side, Liz and Marcus approach the now stationary road train seeking help. Shockingly no one appears to have driven the monster rig in it's appetite for destruction run. Naturally, without any options, the four hop onboard the truck and try to drive to the nearest town, clearly none of them have seen a horror flick before. It's a highway to hell, and our four campers have just made the worse mistake of their lives!

I've thought for quite sometime that since the dark genre is going through something of a renaissance Downunder that we would never again be subjected to something as diabolically bad as Oscar D'Roccster's 2009 Prey. A movie so excruciatingly awful that the producer's cat claimed the Director's chair after the original Director walked off set. Sadly I was wrong, so terribly wrong. Road Train presents a new low for Australian dark cinema that harkens back to cinematic disasters such as Houseboat Horror (1989). One shudders to think what insanity drove both Film Australia and the South Australian Film people to invest in this pile of poo that simply has no idea of what it is trying to achieve. Are we that focused on production quantity, quality for sure disappeared in the last toilet flush, that we are now financing movies that can't even claim the lofty heights of “B” grade goodness? Road Train is the sort of cheap straight to DVD schlock you pick up down the local DVD rental place to flesh out a rent ten movies for $5 buck deal. It looks cheap, it looks amateur, it's so much worse when you actually attempt to view it. Lets get this over and then keep repeating to ourselves, it was a nightmare and Road Train never ever existed in the first place.

Director Dean Francis opens his movie, term used loosely, with a sex scene as Craig and Nina go hammer and tongs at hiding the sausage. Besides the slight hint of a side boob you ain't seeing nothing, so don't get excited. Why exactly we should have a prolonged opening featuring pseudo nekked people is eventually explained, for those who might still be interested, but it's so belaboured that I wasn't all that interested to be honest. And for anyone hoping for some exploitation to get them through the night, sorry to disappoint you, Francis hits this one scene and then movies on with his attempt at boring the Audience to death.

From there the movie becomes increasingly silly while retaining an overall flavour of simply not knowing what the hell it's attempting to do. Kids discover truck is sans driver, cool that works, well except for the Psycho with the handgun who clearly is meant to be the former road cowboy. What I would imagine are supernatural events, doors swinging shut by themselves, yet the ghostly activities haven't got a Paranormal Activity thing going down. And a couple of characters having these hallucinations about Cerberus, the three headed dog meant to guard the gates of hades, just like the silver hood adornment of the truck itself. Naturally we also get a healthy dose of possession, I guess, and slasher style killing tossed into the mix. As stated the movie doesn't know where it's going, or where it's been, and is simply a schizophrenic mess thrown on the screen to earn a few bucks from the gullible.

Central to the movie of course is the Road train itself, which amazingly one Reviewer thinks will become an iconic Aussie horror symbol. Uhmm sorry it's just a truck, Director Francis fails to insert any menace into the road behemoth and it becomes a tad boring after a while. Stephen King did better with the abysmal Maximum Overdrive (1986) to date his only Director credit, at least the trucks in that movie were passingly threatening. The truck in Road Train simply takes up a lot of screen time while looking about as sinister as a delivery vehicle on a suburban street.

Naturally since Road Train concerns itself with twenty somethings pitted against an eighteen wheeler from hell, bad decisions are constantly being made, some plot holes you could drive a road train through emerge, and the dialogue threatens to short out everyone's believable fuse altogether. While the Actors are happy to ham things up, Director Francis pops around like a cat on a hot asphalt strip trying to bring something fly to proceedings, he doesn't, and we all pay. The Flinders ranges are at least nice to look at, if only they had done something with the stuff happening in the foreground.

Much is made during the movie of the secret of what the truck might be running on. Nina discovers the petrol tank is bone dry and has never in fact had any petrol in it. How she deduces this remains a moot point as we simply don't care enough to point fingers at yet another inconsistency in the script. Both Nina and Liz note the huge tube underneath the carriage, I assume connecting to the engine, or at least Direct Francis does as he builds towards his big, gulp, horror moment. Unfortunately for Francis the cat is out of the bag already with anyone who has seen at least five horror flicks having worked it out long before the big unveiling. The scene is so shockingly not original or in any way a surprise, that I felt slightly embarrassed for Francis, hey I just had to watch this shite.

Rounding out the cinematic crimes committed by Road Train, Rafael May throws together a score that simply has the Audience wincing as it thunders along, generally in no way matching the visuals but making us wonder if we shouldn't turn down the volume. Yes one of those flicks that relies on a loud soundscape to paper over more than a few fatal cracks in the facade.

Actually after completing the review above I had a quick look to see what others were saying, figuring I might have been a tad tough on the flick. Apparently not, my review is one of the milder ones. Anyway seems the common thing to do amongst Road Train apologists is to compare this flick with Duel (1971). You know the Stephen Spielberg made for television movie about an unnamed trucker duelling with a dude driving a sedan on the roads of the US. Have the people making the comparison actually seen Duel? Clearly not as one movie involves a man's fight for survival against an unseen adversary driving a large truck, while the other deals with four irritating twats discovering what a road train runs on. About the only comparison is both movies feature a truck, Spielberg turns in a classic while Dean Francis turns in “B” grade schlock.

But I have to say the cake for cheering on Road Train goes to JB HiFi's free bin liner Stack. A magazine devoted to selling whatever shite JB has in stock, or has coming to their overflowing “specials” tables. For no apparent reason Road Train is Ozploitation, wtf, do they understand the term? - and it features rising young star Xavier Samuel, who get this, is on the rise due to appearing in the groan inducing The Twilight Saga: Eclipse as Riley. What exactly are Stack trying to do here? Twitards aren't likely to dial into a “B” grade Aussie schlock outing, they may heaven forbid come face to face with a real horror movie, and horror fans are going to see the words “Twilight Saga” and decide on purchasing something else. Mutual cause for destruction there, no wonder this one retailed for just under $20 on release!

So Road Train is one of those movies we here at ScaryMinds have to review, due to it being a horror flick and made Downunder. I absolutely detested the movie from first scene to last, it underlines all that is wrong with modern Boredwood driven horror, and makes a mockery of the gains made by independent fill makers in Australia. Once again the film finance folks have managed to back a donkey while refusing to fund movies that would help promote the reputation of the dark genre industry in this country. Road Train fails on all levels, and joins some infamous company in being one of the worse horror flicks ever made in this Country. Come back Oscar D'Roccster, a lonely Country turns it's eyes to you!

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Take the train to avoid anything to do with this road! Worse horror flick of the year.