“I hate magic. It’s just tricks.”
Several years after playing a vicious prank on a classmate (Derek McKinnon), a group of pre-med students dressed in various costumes — including a monk (Hart Bochner), Groucho Marx (Howard Busgang), an alien lizard (Anthony Sherwood), a witch (Sandee Currie), and a bird (Timothy Webber) — find themselves serially murdered on a New Year’s Eve train trip featuring a magician (David Copperfield) as a guest performer. While the conductor (Ben Johnson) tries his best to protect the passengers, the lone survivor (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still at risk.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Horror Films
- Murder Mystery
- Serial Killers
Jamie Lee Curtis developed a well-deserved reputation as a “scream queen” after her starring turn in Halloween (1978), and she lives up to it in this inferior but reasonably shock-filled thriller, set on a train moving through remote and snowy territory. John Alcott’s rich cinematography is appropriately atmospheric, and the presence of real-life magician David Copperfield is an inspired component of the script, contributing to a pervasive sense of tricks lurking around every corner. Otherwise, this is simply standard slasher-fare, with only one likable character (Curtis) and a somewhat inevitable ending (albeit it with a creative twist to the “reveal” of the killer).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Jamie Lee Curtis as Alana
- Many effectively scary moments
- John Alcott’s cinematography
No, though fans of the genre will want to check it out.