The Train of Death

Italian Premiere | In Competition


Guest star:
Rizal MANTOVANI, director 


Purnama (Hana Malasan) and Kembang (Zara Leola) are two young sisters waiting at a station in the Solo region for the maiden voyage of a new railway line leading to the Sangkara Resort, a tourist complex located in the middle of the forest. It is Purnama’s first journey after undergoing major surgery, and Kembang is very apprehensive about her sister’s condition. While waiting for the departure, the two make the acquaintance of the handsome and courteous Tekun (Fadly Faisal), who will be their travel assistant, and attend a protest demonstration led by some women – also observed with particular attention by another passenger, Ramla (Putri Ayudya). Once the journey begins, which is also attended by Santoso, the owner of the resort, and Bara, the Regent of the region who supervised the construction of the railway, strange omens and apparitions begin to emerge. The spirits of the trees and forest felled to open the path of the train are in fact hatching their revenge.

A prolific practitioner of Indonesian genre cinema, Rizal Mantovani is the director who revived the historical tradition of the archipelago’s terror cinema. After the production hiatus of the 1990s, at the dawn of the new Indonesian cinema of the 2000s, Mantovani signed with Jelangkung (co-directed by Jose Poernomo, 2001) and Kuntilanak (2006), two cornerstones of local horror, both initiators of successful series. With The Train of Death (Kereta Berdarah, literally “The Blood Train”), thanks to the screenplay by Erwanto Alphadullah, Mantovani revisits his genre of choice with decidedly intriguing variations. While the premise of the wrath or vengeance of spirits or demons caused by the transgression of humans is common to countless Indonesian horror films, here it is firmly rooted in an environmentalist paradigm that sees nature rebelling against its own blind exploitation in the name of profit (and note that at the station, a train hostess reads a book entitled “Spirits and Nature”). On the other hand, the conducting and progression of the mechanics of tension is sharpened in The Train of Death by the effective use of the confined, compartmentalised space of a train convoy and the stages of its journey, i.e. the crossing of a series of tunnels where demonic presences take over.

Not forgetting the element of Purnama’s illness, which assumes a very specific value in the epilogue.

Released in Indonesia at the beginning of February, the same week as the blockbuster Agak Laen, The Train of Death managed to surpass the all-important one million ticket sales threshold, placing it among the top five domestic films of 2024 for the time being, and confirming Indonesian audiences’ insatiable appetite for horror.

Paolo Bertolin
Film director: Rizal MANTOVAN
Year: 2024
Running time: 115'
Country: Indonesia
27/04 - 11:40 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
27-04-2024 23:40 28-04-2024 1:35Europe/Rome The Train of Death Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine
Online in Italy until the end of the Festival