Last Stop on the Night Train


Action / Horror / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 38%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 1978


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1hr 34 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by geneticblizzard 3 / 10

Starts strong, but ultimately boring and disappointing

Bought the DVD from the shameless collection, and I thought it was going to be terrible, as many others in that series are (but funny terrible.) I was initially pleasantly surprised, as the film got off to a good start, and was solidly paced and interesting.

It was the part where they change trains, maybe about 30 minutes in, where it absolutely tanks.

So there's these two girls taking a sleeper train home for Christmas, and these two psycho ruffians board, and cause some shenanigans. Then one of them starts raping a woman, only for the woman to change her mind halfway through and get way into it. In fact, she gets so far into it, she just randomly up and decides to become the ruffian's ringleader. Okay, that part was a little weird, but whatever.

Then the train stops for some reason or other I can't remember, a bomb threat or something, and the girls, creeped the hell out by the ruffians, persuade the staff at the train station to allow them to board another train which gets in sooner.

They enter a quiet compartment, only to be quickly surprised by the two whackjobs and this completely random woman who just decided to join them, and who they're now taking orders from for some reason.

From here on out, the movie becomes unbearably boring. A bad movie I can forgive, a boring movie is, however, unforgivable.

The next 40ish minutes of the movie is basically the girls running back and forth the compartment, screaming, while the boys make weak and non-committal attempts at sexual assault. While this is happening, the female leader of the boys keeps going on and on "Come on! Don't you want to? What's wrong with you? Get drunk! Have sex! Come on! Come on! Why won't you? What's wrong with you?" over and over and over and over and over again, seriously, she doesn't shut up, and becomes completely obsessed with getting these girls to party for some reason. She could just kick them out and have a private threesome with these two dudes, but no, for some reason the girls need to be there? No realistic motive or explanation is given for why any of this is happening. Okay, they're all nuts, but the characters are so shallow it doesn't seem like an authentic action, and the whole thing comes across as quite forced.

Even the guys aren't that into it. They keep grabbing the girls and letting them go, occasionally kissing them, but they seem to get bored, until the woman starts ordering them to grab them again. It's just bizarre. Eventually, someone decides it would be fun to have sex with a knife or something for some reason, and surprise, surprise, they kill one of the girls. It's not even clear that their intent was to murder, it was like they were going to use the knife as a frigging sex toy or something.

After the first girl is dead, the three basically have an "oh crap" moment, and half freak out, the other girl dies when she jumps out the train, and they dump the second body out as well.

The train pulls in, and the final part of the movie begins. Honestly, I was so done with the movie at this point, I was struggling to keep my eyes on the screen.

Basically, the parents come to pick up the girls, they're obviously not there, there's some confusion, but then they decide they might be on a later train. Somehow, at some point - I really can't remember how because I was struggling that bad - the trio get invited into the parents house, and it just seems to drag on and on and on. Long story short, dad finds out who killed the girls, and kills both the guys.

What bugs me so much about this is that the film portrays the ruffians as these innocent, impressionable rapscallions, who just wanted to play some harmless pranks, and the terrible things they did were all the woman's fault, they didn't understand what they were doing! Of course, this is rubbish. All the woman did was sit in the corner and be really annoying, and tell them to do random crap. Honestly, it makes the guys out to be these little two year old boys who don't understand, but they're really young adult men, who are more than capable of not taking orders from some random 30-something year old woman they were just trying to rape like 45 minutes ago. And the woman is made out to be this evil genius, who masterminded this whole thing, when really, she's just a nutjob.

In the end, the father kills both the guys, the woman seems to get away. The end.

Overall, really boring movie. Solid avoid.

Reviewed by Mr_Ectoplasma 8 / 10

Atmospheric and psychologically nuanced

"The Night Train Murders," also known as "Last Stop on the Night Train," follows two teenage girls riding an overnight train on Christmas Eve from Munich to be home with their families for the holiday. Unfortunately, two thugs are also onboard, who happen to find an unlikely accomplice when they decide to brutalize the two girls in an empty car. Things, however, get increasingly complicated when they find themselves in the company of one of the girls' parents after de-boarding.

The Italian equivalent to Wes Craven's "The Last House on the Left" (or Bergman's "The Virgin Spring"), "The Night Train Murders" follows a familiar plot, so it needs to excel in other areas in order to set itself aside from its source material; and it more or less manages to do this, with some caveats. Where "Last House" took place in bucolic New England, "Night Train" sets itself within the confines of a train (a tradition dating back to Hitchcock's "Lady on the Train") running through rural Germany, and the film is extremely atmospheric for this. The Christmas Eve setting, though ultimately inconsequential to the narrative, does give the film another sinister layer.

The film is really well shot and there are some fantastic overhead views and other shots of the narrow train corridors that make for claustrophobic chase sequences. There is some contrived social commentary peppered in from the doctor father in the film, who waxes poetic about contemporary violence, but what's more interesting is the involvement of an austere woman on the train who finds herself a voyeur, and ultimately, a participant, in the brutalization of the girls. The psychology behind this is truly fascinating, and Macha Méril plays the part perfectly. The violence inflicted on the girls is difficult to watch, and the anonymous woman's participation in it is riveting. The conclusion, per the source material, is expected, but is also handled with stylish flair.

Overall, "The Night Train Murders" is a grim and stylish retread of a familiar story, but the material is handled well and the film boasts several disturbing scenes and a general atmosphere of foreboding and dread. Some people have tended to classify the film as an example of genre sleaze, though I didn't necessarily get that vibe from it. The violence here is more implicit than it is gratuitous, and the thematic overtones keep the film from edging into outright exploitation; it's more of a character study in the terrible things people are capable of in the most arbitrary of circumstances. 8/10.

Reviewed by stephenabell 7 / 10

A Truly Disturbing Psychological Thriller

This is Italy's version of Wes Craven's The Last House On The Left, though I have to say I prefer this film. For the main reason is there's no annoying music on this film. Also, it's more throughout and deeper in psychological content. The principles are the same, here you have two girls on their way out to the country for the Christmas holidays. While on the train they meet the two thugs, who have previously mugged a street Santa. Their attack is unbeknown to the girls so they are friendly with the two men. Though as the train travels further they become more wary of the pair and the blonde woman the men have met. When the train is stopped for a bomb search the girls hop off the train to board another. It's not until they're on the move that the girls realise the trio had hopped trains too. From here on in things get nasty, violent, and cruel.

It's these scenes that are the hardest to watch as they lead to the girl's deaths. However, this isn't where the movie stops It's the second half which treads on the unbelievable. The evil trio is picked up by the girl's parents. Who, when they realise what's happened, take their revenge. It's the coincidence of the group meeting that stretches the boundaries of reality.

That said, that incident is the only issue I have with the film.

It's Macha Meril as the lady on the train that gives this film a nasty and depraved edge. In the beginning, she appears to be a reserved nymphomaniac. Though when they start to torture and rape the girls she's the one who's controlling the thugs, even though she's only known them for a matter of hours. She is definitely twisted and coldly calculating. She stole the show.

Even though you know what's going to happen and you probably know how the film will end, the director Aldo Lado does a fantastic job of weaving a subtle and disturbing story into a watchable film with believable characters. It's nice that he doesn't go the exploitation route, especially in the torture sequences. The reality of the scenes really strengthens the film.

I cannot say I really enjoyed this film as some of the scenes are disturbing, both visually and psychologically. It is, however, truly watchable and does emote emotions. It is a film that I may watch again... though not for some time.

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