A film of two halves as the saying goes, but more accurately the oddly hyphenated ‘D-Railed’ is more a film of three-thirds!
In a rather jarring, yet clear cut manner the film transitions from an intriguing period murder-mystery in its opening act, to a creature movie akin to ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ middle and then to a ghostly/paranormal for it’s finale; no criticisms then for breadth of content.
The official synopsis: A woman boards a train that derails into a lake in the middle of the night. She, along with other surviving passengers find themselves trapped within the sinking wreckage. They discover what lies beneath the surface is far more terrifying as they fight to stay alive against a deadly predator determined to kill them one by one.
What the film doesn’t mention is that the first half an hour is set in a 1920s period murder-mystery aboard the train and that the setup doesn’t seem to indicate this film is going to turn into a creature feature in any way. In fact, the films classic mystery direction at the start is possibly the movies most effective component. The characters are interesting, the events leading to the trains derailment are well constructed and there was plenty of scope to develop the characters within the confines of the survivor story alone; man-in-rubber-suit not required.
Then, out of nowhere (well out of the water I suppose) the group are attacked by a mysterious creature – at least mysterious for about 30 seconds before he comes bounding into view. The creature does genuinely look like the famous creature from ‘The Black Lagoon’, but with more teeth; its not very convincing, or in anyway in-keeping with the films period aesthetics, and with little to no suspense (or indication that there even was a threat) his entry into the film is a little fascicle to say the least.
Once you’ve gotten used to the new turn of pace and direction, the creature element does improve, marginally, as the survivors then find themselves stuck in a warehouse, trapped inside with the beast. There are a couple of decent gore scenes scattered for good measure, and a couple of good scenes where the creature attacks with a little more tact that it did in its initial strike.
That said, there’s no further explanation as to where the creature came from, or how the team hope to combat it. In fact, the once large menagerie of mystery solvers is quickly whittled down to the last few pretty quickly once old rubber claws shows up.
Ultimately once the group are down to the last few survivors things take a more philosophical turn, pondering topic such as life/death/letting go. That’s when we transition (less than seamlessly) into the films third and final act. Here we see one lone survivor making their way to safety, right into a ‘twist’ ending. Ironically, the mysterious developments would have likely made an engaging opener to the movie, but at this stage, having moved away from the monster with little to no exposition, I was keen for the film to wrap itself up, despite the final sequence being well shot and intriguing.
Overall, ‘D-Railed’ is something of an inconsistent piece, perhaps guilty of having to many ideas, without effective execution; it would however overly harsh I feel to call the film a mess. The script is solid enough, and fair play to the cast, the see the whole affair out with consistent performances – I wonder what they thought of the story? If you fancy something a little unconventional, or you like the sound of the blending of genres I’ve mentioned then ‘D-Railed’ might scratch an itch, otherwise I would struggle to see who else to recommend it to.