Dir. Jason M. J. Brown (2022)
The ghost of a teenager who died on a train track is back to seek revenge on those he believes failed to save him.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Tales of revenge are integral to horror, permeating the genre through in a myriad of ways, with the revenge being sought for seemingly every reason and through every means. In Jason M. J. Brown’s movie Ghost Track (previously titled Morris), the vengeance is coming from a deceased teenager who died when his friends left him behind while crossing train tracks. He was hit by a train, and now his ghost is seemingly out to make his terrible friends pay for their sins. When the surviving teenagers, who are now adults, begin to receive threatening notes, they begin to suspect their dead friend is after them. Spoiler alert: he definitely is.
Is this the best horror movie ever made? Of course it’s not, that’s silly, we’ve already established that Halloween is the best. But it is a genuinely-scary-at-times supernatural horror, a clearly low-budget indie film that surpasses expectations and uses some legit makeup and special effects to deliver some trope-y frights along the way. Brown utilizes shadows and a pulsing synth soundtrack to deliver a supernatural 80’s slasher, one that wears its inspiration on its sleeve while delivering largely bloodless murders and haunts. The only place the film really fails is in delivering on a story that could spawn sequels.
The story of Morris is incredibly compelling. It plays out like any number of 80’s slashers that you’ve seen before, a bullied young boy, killed in his desperate attempt to fit in with the kids he looks up to, who comes back to seek revenge on his tormentors. His ghostly visage begins to wreak havoc, and once all is revealed we don’t particularly blame him, though he does so in some over-the-top ways that certainly lose him some sympathy. The ending falls apart a little, especially with the final reveal, but it’s still entertaining and it won’t be nearly as weird as a lot of the shit they tried in the 80’s. It all comes together despite being a fairly standard movie, though it never shies away from the supernatural side of slasher films, making it more of a… giallo? Nah, it doesn’t fit in that one quite so snugly, this is just a standard supernatural slasher all the way.
There are some sound issues throughout, a lot of the dialogue being a bit more echoey than I’d like and sounding more like it was recorded on a soundstage than on location at times. The production definitely struggles with a tiny budget, but Brown does a good job of hiding as much of it as he can in pretty ingenious ways. The acting helps to carry that burden a lot, with the group of Adam Probets, Katie Richmond-Ward, and Darren Randall performing particularly well and delivering the story in a believable way. The film even has a small role from Tamara Glynn (Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers), which is a nice shoutout to the horror fans in the audience. The subplot with the missing school bus, which is carrying one of the main character’s child, is resolved in a disturbing way, helping to liven up the film beyond what the standard plot was capable of producing.
Who this movie is for: Indie horror lovers, Supernatural horror fans, Bus Drivers
Bottom line: While there’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before, it dispenses with a lot of the human element of the American slasher and delivers a decidedly British flair through scenery and, of course, the accents. It’s a fairly competent, super-low-budget indie flick with an enjoyable twist, and it’s well worth a watch for indie horror fans. It’s brutal at times and genuinely scary at others, and the whole thing feels like the indie version of a film that ends up being remade with a much higher budget once the director comes across some more wealthy producers. Give it a shot if you get the chance, it just may surprise you.