I always try and be as respectful as possible when reviewing any film, and even though I try to be as unbiased as possible, this is especially true when reviewing Australian films. However I think that the greatest disrespect to an Australian film on my part would be to give it an easy ride when sharing my thoughts with you all.
It is from this perspective that I have to say Road Train (2010) is one of the most abysmal films I have ever endured. The film was just so disappointing because I thought the premise had a whole lot of potential, even if it did seem to be a little derivative of Spielberg’s Duel (1971). The film sees two young couples on an outback camping trip harassed by and eventually forced off the road by a rogue road train. And then something or other happens. It is not exactly clear what. And it is not at all enjoyable to watch. In fact it is simultaneously mind numbingly boring and mind blowingly rubbish. A quick diversion into Australian terminology here, as I believe Road Train was released under a different title in different markets. A road train is simply a massive truck that drives freight throughout outback Australia. They are literally trains on the road, some of them many carriages long. I think they are unique to Australia, utilised because of the sheer size and remoteness of much of the country. So they are a seriously imposing piece of machinery. That could be put to some seriously wicked use in a thriller/horror film. Needless to say the idea deserves better than this effort which actually feels sort of like a film made by teenagers on a weekend, but you know, with a really expensive camera.
This is not even a film that wastes a lot of really great components. It is a film that basically fails on every level, with all it has going for it a fantastic premise and the beautiful scenery in which it is shot. Aside from that it is inexplicably bad. Worst of all (probably) is the horribly obscure plot. A little intrigue is nice, even integral to a good thriller or horror flick. But you have to at least hint at the malevolence that is at play to get people in. You cannot just leave it entirely obscured. Especially given that it is not as if there is some awesome M. Night twist to blow your feeble little minds towards the end. It is gradually revealed that the truck sends people kinda mad… and there is a mincer where you can put human bodies in one of the trailers. Or some shit like that. I didn’t care and you won’t either. The script of the film is clunky, cringeworthy and terrible, which is not helped by the four young leads who deliver it being decidedly average. The sole exception is Sophie Lowe of Beautiful Kate (2009) fame, but even she can only rise to ok levels, basically down to the material she is given to work with. There are a couple of action sequences that should be really incredible, especially one early on where the road train runs our heroes’ car off the road. But even that cannot raise the collective heart beat of those watching.
It is strange actually, every time that you think Road Train cannot get any worse, it actually does. Tis like some cruel joke and the 86 minute running time drags and feels a whole lot worse than that. No film can overcome a script and acting this terrible. Especially this one with zero scares, zero atmosphere and just zero semi-interesting elements.
Verdict: Schooner of Tooheys New
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