While shooting an amateur zombie flick at their small town's railway station, a group of teenagers miraculously survive the spectacular derailment of a passing freight train. But will they - and the rest of the citizens of their town - survive the terror and destruction soon to be wrought by the train's mysterious and deadly cargo?
This was a fairly enjoyable film, with a decent and entertaining story, solid acting from the young cast, some pretty cool CGI and the most impressive - and improbable - train wreck I've ever seen.
The few criticisms include: Ridiculous amounts of lens flare early on in the movie (c'mon, JJ, enough already!); a few too many hokey, sentimental bits (to be fair, despite the violence and destruction, the movie does appear to be aimed at a younger audience); a slightly disappointing ending; and Ron Eldard, who is a painfully lame actor (I previously saw him in "House of Sand and Fog", a wonderful movie in which he also sucked).
There's a lot of Stand By Me in there as well. We enjoyed it. Saw it in a digital theatre and the picture was crisp and steady (even the lens flare....grr) but the standout was the audio. Great sub action in that movie!
Watched this movie on blu-ray last week, and quite enjoyed it, although I did feel that the movie started under the guise of a "reality-based" coming-of-age drama, and sort of transformed into your standard fare sci-fi action film by the end i.e. the story and CG effects began to overshadow the acting and character-driven story that it started with.
As for Elle Fanning - I was already impressed with the smaller role she had on We Bought a Zoo, and was glad to see her performance was pretty good on this one as well.
I've watched this twice now, once from DVD and once on either Netflix or Hulu Plus. I've enjoyed it both times.
My wife won't watch sci-fi, but there was sufficient non-sci-fi that she enjoyed it. Personally, I like a sci-fi flick to be strongly sci-fi. I felt a bit cheated on the plot line. I think a different scenario for justifying the earlier events would have worked better.
Like others, both my wife and I were very impressed with Elle Fanning's performance. We will likely seek out something else she has been in.