Snakes on a Train

Dir: The Mallachi Brothers
Star: Alby Castro, Julia Ruiz, Amelia Jackson-Gray, Shannon Gayle

Boy, I've missed The Asylum. How did I get through this summer without seeing The Da Vinci Treasure or 666: The Child? Their riding of the coat-tails on what is perhaps 2006's most anticipated film, was probably inevitable: but while the concept here is as impeccably daft as the original, we've seen before in Asylum movies, that it's the execution which really matters. The surprising thing here is how straight this is played, though it helps that the storyline makes more sense than the Jackson version. [Anyone really think the best way to kill someone would be to fill a plane with poisonous reptiles?] Here, a cursed woman (Ruiz) is being taken by her boyfriend (Castro) to LA, where, a shaman can lift the hex, which involves her barfing up poisonous snakes. Lots of them, and soon the passengers are on a crash course in herpetology.

While rarely surprising, the results are entertaining, and that's what matters - much credit in particular to Ruiz, who barfs up things I wouldn't want in my mouth. There's a broad collection of train passengers, from a drug mule to a travelling family, but it would be silly to pretend these are much more than snake-food. Things gallop along, until the finale, which may be the most insane thing I've seen in a very long time: without giving too much away, let's just say the cover-art is a fairly accurate depiction of proceedings. Probably fair to say that the film does over-reach itself there - not the first time for Asylum, whose budgets tend to fall short of their imagination. Still, roll on their version of, I kid you not, the 9/11 Commission Report, due out Sept. 5. At the very least, never accuse them of only going for easy targets...

[The film was released on August 15th in the US: the DVD includes a commentary, out-takes, behind the scenes footage and deleted scenes. For more information, visit The Asylum's website.]

January 2006

I want these mutherfuckin' snakes
off this mutherfuckin' train...
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