With the recent release of Terror Train 2, we at Horror Facts wanted to provide our readers with a breakdown and review of Tubi’s original remake of Terror Train, released this same year.
As pointed out in our review of Terror Train 2, you should watch this film first before you decide to watch the sequel.
Tubi’s 2022 remake of Terror Train starts off following the same plot as the original 1980s film, except the film takes place on Halloween rather than on New Year’s Eve like the original.
Similar to the 1980s film, the opening of the film focuses on college fraternity pledge Kenny Hampson as he is lured into an unexpected trap by some of his fraternity brothers with the help of sorority members, Mitchy and naïve Alana. The prank ends up going wrong, causing Kenny to lose his grip on reality and resulting in his being sent to a psychiatric facility.
Just like the original, the film then cuts to three years later but this time, the same college students are hosting a Halloween party aboard a train rather than a New Year’s Eve costume party. The majority of the costumes are even the same, with the biggest change being practical joker Ed’s costume being changed from Groucho Marx to an evil-looking clown.
Following the same story, before one of the students can board the train, he is murdered and the killer steals his Halloween costume. Now presumed to be one of their classmates, the killer is able to board and move freely throughout the train undetected. It isn’t long until the killer strikes again, killing another one of the students.
As the killer makes their way through the train, the body count continues to rise, causing those involved to begin to suspect that Kenny may be back and exacting his revenge.
Suspicion starts to fall on the hired magician who they believe might be Kenny in disguise.
As they go in search of answers, the surviving members of the group and the train’s crew begin to uncover more questions than answers as to who is responsible for all the murders.
Is Kenny truly back to have his revenge? Is their past finally catching up to them? Will those responsible be held accountable for what they did three years ago?
Tubi’s version of Terror Train starts roughly the same, including killing the same characters in the same order and even meeting similar demises as they did in the 1980 version.
Because of this, Tubi’s version has all the same fraternity and sorority members as the original and, similar to their original counterparts, they are obsessed with flirting and fornicating although, in this new film, it seems like the writers managed to increase each character’s infidelity factor.
Also, in the original film, some of the characters had a few redeeming qualities, but in Tubi’s version of Terror Train, these characters, for the most part, are terrible people with very few redeeming qualities. As such, it’s hard to care when they get killed.
There are some notable character changes in the film including the film’s antagonist, Kenny; the magician; and the introduction of an original character, Sadie.
In the original Terror Train, the character of Kenny is featured primarily at the beginning and at the end of the film. Those that have seen the original know that the character is hiding in plain sight throughout the film. This reveals that Kenny was under everyone’s noses the whole time which led to an unexpected twist in the film’s final, climactic act.
In Tubi’s version, however, the character takes a back seat to all the action. Still appearing in the cold open and at the end of the film, the character of Kenny plays a much more insignificant role in the overall story, and it appears that the film’s writers decided that they wanted to remake Terror Train but drastically tweak the film’s ending and Kenny’s significance in the overall story.
In changing the ending, the writers might have thought they had come up with an original ending to the film but, as numerous slasher movie fans have pointed out, this particular type of ending was done in an iconic slasher film from the 1980s, one that will be remembered longer than Terror Train.
In regards to the magician, in the original film, the character is played by none other than David Copperfield. Here, the role is portrayed by Tim Rozon. In the 2022 version, the magician plays a more active role in the film rather than just serving as one of the film’s primary suspects.
In this new version, the magician has additional dialogue scenes and appears to be actively flirting with the character of Alana throughout the film. Now, watching the original, one could assume that Copperfield could be flirting with Alana, as he speaks with her a couple of times throughout the film, but in this remake, it’s evident that he has a thing for her, going so far as to invite her to his dressing room.
Now the increase in his chemistry with the main character could have something to do with the fact that, in this version, he is lacking his female assistant and, as many of the female characters continually point out in the film, he is quite easy on the eyes.
Finally, the introduction of the character of Sadie: Sadie is a train employee who fills in for the role of Carne, the train’s conductor in the original 1980 film. Now, the character of Carne is still present in 2022’s Terror Train, although this time the character is played by Mary Walsh and she takes more of a back seat role in the film until the finale, where the writers had different plans for Carne this time around.
In the original, Carne is the one who first discovers that someone is killing the passengers on the train and, for most of the film, he attempts to help Alana discover who is killing his passengers. In this version, Sadie takes on that responsibility, teaming up with Alana to discover the truth.
Another notable change is that Sadie appears to go through a variety of ordeals, which begs the question, does that make Sadie a final girl as well?
Character changes aside, the primary factor going against 2022’s Terror Train is the apparent lack of suspense that the original managed to maintain throughout its run time.
The original film latches onto the idea that the killer is Kenny – there’s no question in the matter – so when, in the end, he’s revealed to be the killer, it doesn’t come as a shock to anybody. But what did come as a shock was just who Kenny was.
The film’s primary red herring is the magician, who many eventually believe is Kenny in disguise. This concept could work in the original movie as the two characters share some traits, but in Tubi’s version, this notion is completely unbelievable. There’s no way they could be the same person unless Kenny was able to disguise himself by growing three inches, aging twenty-two years, and pretty much getting an entire head transplant to become the magician over the past three years because these two characters bear no resemblance to each other and could never be mistaken for one another unless Kenny had a team of special effects make-up artists working for him.
In the original, after suspecting that the magician is Kenny in disguise, the character mysteriously vanishes, leaving the audience to suspect that the magician truly is Kenny in disguise and now we, as the audience, have no idea where he went nor when he will strike.
In Tubi’s version, after suspecting the magician is Kenny, the protagonists find him stabbed in his dressing room, immediately disqualifying him as the killer. This eliminates the suspense that the original film was able to build up in its third act.
In the original, the killer also utilizes costumes more frequently throughout the film, swapping and discarding disguises. Sure, the audience knows it’s Kenny, but they don’t who or what identity he has taken.
In Tubi’s version, the character seems to favor the clown getup more than anything. They make a couple of wardrobe changes in the film, but in the end, they just return to the sinister clown costume. This allows the audience to know exactly who the killer is.
Overall, the Tubi version of Terror Train is an unlikeable remake of the 1980 slasher. It lacks the suspense and effective red herring that the original had.
It also lacks any likable characters. Robyn Alomar attempts to win the audience over as the innocent Alana, but it’s next to impossible to flourish in a role that was once played by Jamie Lee Curtis.
Sadie attempts to pick up the slack and give us another character to root for, but she’s trying to win an audience over that, more than likely, checked out a long time ago.
It’s no surprise that this film only holds a score of 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and 4.4/10 on IMDB. In truth, it’s not that good, especially when you consider that the original 1980 version of Terror Train only holds a 5.8/10.
Terror Train was a forgotten 80s slasher film that had its moments. It starred the iconic Jamie Lee Curtis and was able to create some suspense and, most distinctively, it had an unexpected twist killer reveal at the end.
2022’s Terror Train had none of that, but where this first film faltered, Terror Train 2 appears to have rectified itself.
If you want to watch the Tubi Original Terror Train before you check out Terror Train 2, you can watch it streaming exclusively on Tubi.
I have come here to chew bubblegum and write horror, and I’m all out of bubblegum.
Editor at Horror Facts