D-Railed, directed by Dale Fabrigar and written by Fabrigar, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, and Everette Wallin, begins on Halloween night. Evelyn (Carter Scott), Thomas (Wallin), Antonia (Leticia LaBelle), the young Abigail (Shae Smolik), and Marcus (Daniel O’Reilly), along with others, board a vintage train for a murder mystery game. The revelers are all dressed in 1920s-era attire, and once the train departs the station, the host (Frank Lammers) comes out to explain the rules. Suddenly the lights go out, and when they come back on, he has a knife in his back. Everyone is speculating who the culprit could be, when GiGi (Tonya Kay) and Clyde (Ben Hopkins) begin robbing everyone else.
The holdup is not part of the game, though, and the travelers get anxious and scared when the bandits shoot a passenger. The conductor (Jack Betts) comes out to help curtail the kerfuffle, but GiGi and Clyde quickly put him in his place. Then the conductor shares some bad news–the train is heading for a sharp curve, and if they don’t slow down, it will go off the tracks. Derail the train does, right into a lake. Now, the passengers need to figure out a way to shore before they drown or are killed by the robbers. Their precarious situation becomes even worse when a monster (Phil Young) emerges from the water and attacks the survivors.
D-Railed is a mashup of several genres, which gives the film an unmistakable and highly original vibe. These disparate elements of the film work together, without overpowering each other. A sequence involving Thomas and Abigail escaping the monster, by running down the stairs of an overturned car, is terrifying. Working just as well are the characterizations for the core group of survivors. Each character’s backstory and arc throughout the film is compelling, and the audience wants to see everyone make it out alive (minus the bandits, of course). Abigail and Antonia’s relationship is the one that initially hooks viewers in; but, it is Evelyn’s story that becomes genuinely fascinating as it is revealed more and more as the danger of each situation continues to increase.
“Everyone is speculating who the culprit could be, when GiGi … and Clyde … begin robbing everyone else.”
However, her throughline also presents the movie’s only stumbling block. This is not a movie you want spoiled, so this will be a bit vague. Within the first thirty or so minutes, any seasoned movie-goer will have a very good idea of where her story culminates. It does leave the viewer on a weaker note than everything that precedes it. However, in terms of directing and acting and all that, the film is just as strong as always.
"…“...keeps the tension high while effectively juggling the various tones and genres.”"