All aboard ! ! ! . . . . the Ghost Train ! ! !
Weird things are happening in the Mizunashi Station and the nearby train tunnel. A lost rail pass keeps turning up. Passengers disappear. Bodies are seen on the tracks, then are gone. A strange phantom can be seen - or can she? - on the video monitors. And a spectral voice insists, "I want what's mine."
Well, for spunky Nana, it's some persistent detective work that reveals the disturbing history of part of the tunnel near the station, then into the deadly realm itself on a dangerous mission to rescue her sister. In all this she is assisted by her friend Kanae; by an ex-train conductor/engineer who was demoted to office work for seeing things on the track that his bosses insisted weren't really there; and by a mysterious one-eyed woman.
Now, horror movies are not my favorite genre, but I enjoy a good scare as well as anyone, I guess. I've seen and enjoyed a number of the recent J-Horror films, such as Ringu (Ring), Ju-On (The Grudge) and Kairo (Pulse), though thankfully not their Hollywood remakes.
Ghost Train, the second film directed by Takeshi Furusawa (who was assistant director on Kairo), is not in the same league as these, but not many films are. Still, I found it quite entertaining. Some genuine scares and good comic relief, including one hilarious line about that repeatedly lost rail pass I mentioned earlier.
I saw the film on May 7th at its East Coast Premiere sponsored by New York - Tokyo and ADV Films. The screening took place at the very fancy Tribeca Grand Hotel in Manhattan. After some really hairy stuff had been happening near the end of the film, I said out loud, "I am so taking a cab home tonight!"
This elicited a huge wave of laughter around me. Then I heard a guy off to the side ask, "What did he say?" Someone repeated my utterance pretty much verbatim, and a second wave of laughter erupted.
I say any film that can turn a small, fancy screening room in an ultra-swank Tribeca hotel into an old 42nd Street Grindhouse, if only for a few moments, is alright in my book.
There'll be several opportunities for you to decide for yourself. Ghost Train will be screening June 6-13, 2007 at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater on East 3rd Street in New York City. On the West Coast, I've been told there'll be a screening at the 4 Star Theatre in San Francisco on July 6th.
And in any case, the Ghost Train DVD is scheduled for release by ADV Films on July 17th.
Ghost Train: imdb
Takeshi Furusawa, director: imdb
Erika Sawajiri, actress (Nana): imdb
Chinatsu Wakatsuki, actress (Kanae): imdb
Shun Oguri, actor (ex-train conductor/engineer): imdb