A group of unsuspecting teens face a railroad reaper in his desert carnival.
Directed by Kimberly Seilhamer
Reviewed by Deep Red
Picked this one up in a 2 for £5 offer. Soon as I saw the name Tony Todd I thought, I’ll check that out. He’s in Night of the Living Dead (1990), Candyman (1992), Final Destination (2000) and Hatchet (2006) amongst others. You horror fans know him well.
When a bus carrying a group of teens crashes on the way back from a railroad museum they head off to the bright lights of a nearby carnival. When they get there they realise the carnival is empty but all the rides are operational. They go on the rides and have a good time but someone is hunting them.
This is a slasher in the traditional mould which is OK by me as I love traditional slashers. The cast is OK, a likeable bunch, and Railroad Jack (Douglas Tait) is a well-designed killer with a pickaxe. Unfortunately the film doesn’t deliver on the kills which it so badly needed to, it’s virtually gore-free. Did I just watch the cut version? Possibly, I don’t know for sure but from what I’ve read this film is short on graphic kills so maybe not.
Anyway, I thought it was pretty good fun. You may remember I reviewed another recent slasher called Blood Runs Cold (2011) not long ago and while this isn’t quite as good, or gory, as that one, it isn’t too far behind. I think I just appreciate an honest-to-goodness slasher that isn’t afraid to just be what it is. Some might argue that there’s nothing new to see here and they’d probably be right but my only complaint would be, not just the lack of gore in this one, but in general the seemingly endless lack of interest in practical special effects from some modern filmmakers. If the lack of gore here was due to budget constraints relating specifically to CGI for example then surely practical effects would have been a wiser option. I’ve watched a ton of cheap slashers from the 70s/80s that managed to shock and entertain with minimal budgets.
Always nice to see Tony Todd although he isn’t in it for very long. I should imagine a sizeable chunk of the budget went his way. The carnival setting is great; a deserted carnival in the middle of the desert complete with bright colours and working rides does have a spectacularly eerie quality that really comes across well. I really did like the killer, no silliness, this killer is pretty ferocious and I think deserving of a sequel. The story’s conclusion was good. For the price I can’t complain and I will watch it again. And if I can keep finding traditional decent slashers like this then I’ll be happy to spend an evening in their company.
Stars Tony Todd as Mr. Steele, Alexandra Holder as Jesse, Jay Gillespie as Shawn Hickey, Hope Jaymes as Sommer, Amber Zion as Maya, Andrew Olson as Brian aka Casper, Richardson Chery as Andre, Tyler Wolfe as Steven Hickey, Christopher Raff as Harold, Jemal Draco as Tyler, Grace Jiyoung Park as Trudy Yoo, David Beeler as Mr. Smith, Sally Kirkland as Harold’s Nana and Douglas Tait as Railroad Jack.