Four young Australians are on a camping trip in the outback, relishing the chance to get out into the middle of nowhere. Their car is driven off the road by a road train (a two-trailered articulated lorry) and Craig is badly injured. The lorry has stopped further down the road and when they are threatened by a gun wielding driver, they take the truck and drive off, but the vehicle seems to take control and they wake up to find themselves in an isolated valley, a long way from any help...
Written by Clive Hopkins, Road Train certainly has an interesting and commendably original storyline - it seems at first to be a typical American-style redneck slasher film, of the sort that have underpinned low budget horror since the 1970s, as the group are threatened by a gun wielding pyscho. However, it quickly starts to move away from the convention and plays the supernatural card as strange things start to happen in the valley.
From here on, the plot has some interesting ideas over the mysterious nature of the truck and the location as well as developing the characterisation - like many horror films the characters are somewhat dislikable first, although their attitude is explained via some revelations later on that are withheld long enough to make them genuinely interesting. Unfortunately these positives are largely outweighed by the slow pacing of the main body of the film, as it progresses the film drags more and more until the last ten minutes seem horribly drawn out and quite unnecessary, the film would probably have worked a lot better running to just 45 minutes. Hopkins also seems uncertain just how much mystery to leave about the nature of the truck - just as the film seems to be building to a fittingly ambiguous climax it suddenly decides to 'reveal' what the audience should have long ago worked out, while leaving several other ideas unexplained.
Director Dean Francis does some good work and the film is well edited giving it a very sleek, modern look that belies its low budget production. The production as a whole eschews the use of unnecessary CGI that lets down so many other horror films and the gory effects are all well done, although Francis is certainly not aiming for a Saw (2003) style gore-fest.
Acting is generally good, considering the genre - the most interesting role Craig is played by Bob Morley, a veteran of Home and Away and Neighbours who manages to pull off the changes that happen to the character without pushing into absurdity. Xavier Samuel in the other male lead role, subsequently went on to star in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010).
If you have ever wondered what would have happened if the plagued car driver in Duel (1971) had managed to get into the mysterious truck, Road Train provides an interesting answer. A sleek and well made production is aided by some good acting and an interesting plot, sadly the interminable pacing of the second half really lets the film down and viewers hoping for anything distinctly Australian about the production will probably be disappointed as apart from the Aussie accents this could easily pass for an American film. Of some interest to patient genre fans but not generally recommendable.
|Anyone famous in it?||Xavier Samuel - a young Australian actor who went on to star in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)|
|Directed by anyone interesting?||Dean Francis - a British born actor resident in Australia making his feature film debut after a series of successful short films.|
|Any gore or violence ?||Several gory sequences but nothing on the modern torture-porn films.|
|Any sex or nudity?||A short, vivid sex scene although no actual nudity.|
|Who is it for?||Fans of modern horror might enjoy this.
|Visuals||Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The digital print receives an almost flawless transfer.
|Audio||English stereo - sounds fine throughout.|
|Extras||The disc includes:
|Region||Region 0 (ALL) - PAL|
|Other regions?||Available in the US as part of the Fangoria Fright Fest series under the title Road Kill.|
|Cuts?||Fully uncut. Titles and credits are in English.|