Road Train is an Australian horror which comes across as a combination of Maximum Overdrive and Wolf Creek filled with hellish imagery and a big rig that would more than scare any driver off the motorway.
Whilst camping in the outback four young friends are run off the road by a massive three trailer truck (also known as a road train to our antipodean pals). With their car and their belongings completely trashed the angry gang notice the truck has stopped and march off to challenge the driver only to find the cabin is mysteriously empty.
Suddenly shots ring out and an unknown figure starts running towards them brandishing a gun and screaming unintelligibly. Scared and in fear of their lives the group commandeer the vehicle and drive off in search of safety. However the horror has just begun as the Road Train seemingly has a mind of its own and carries a cargo far more terrifying than the kids could ever imagine.
Showing that horror can happen in the blazing sun as much as the dead of night the endless deserted desert roads of the Australian outback are the perfect location to set a movie involving a supernatural big rig and instantly evokes American psycho thrillers The Hitcher and Dust Devil where the baking yellow sands act as a suitable stand in for the pits of hell.
Although Road Train starts out freewheeling the majority of the movie is static taking place in an abandoned quarry, where the four friends find themselves trapped and unable to move the monster truck, and the horror comes from what is inside the trailers the truck is towing rather than the damage it does on the roads.
This inertia is the films success and it’s failing. Staying in one location gives the characters time to develop and the tension time to rise as we wonder what supernatural secrets will be revealed. The cast of chiseled and charming teens including Bob Morley form Home and Away and Xavier Samuel from Twilight and The Loved Ones does a good job especially Sophie Lowe who is perfectly cast as the innocent and unlikely heroine Nina.
Director Dean Franics, better known for his acting staring in Neighbors as Tim Buckly, does an adequate job helming throwing in some stylised shots and demonic dream sequences. The three-headed hound of hell Cerberus which guards the gates of Hades and sits on the hood of the terrifying truck is a reoccurring and well used theme along with the murderous machine which powers the possessed rig.
Unfortunately as the truck remains predominantly parked up you feel as if it may as well have been a movie about a haunted house or abandoned mine and the pace is somewhat lacking made all the worse by the staged feel of the film. The climax comes all too slow to keep up the fear earned earlier on meaning the movies ending feels unsatisfactory and uninspired.
In striving to offer something original Road Train avoids the obvious but also misses out on all the fun and action that would have come from the more straightforward kill chase plotline found in Duel or The Car. The purity of these classics, especially Duel, is their strength and the simplicity leads to the scares which are sadly lacking here.
Road Train is a stylish supernatural Aussie horror which sadly gets a puncture midway through forcing it off its path towards competing with the many other more menacing and murderous movie motor vehicles.