Dir: Frank Zagarino
Star: Giselle Rodriguez, Frank Zagarino, David 'Shark' Fralick, Matt Jared

When albino serial killer Adam Brandis (Zagarino) escapes while being transferred to a new asylum, it's no surprise he ends up at the remote house where Lisa (Rodriguez) and the her five photogenic, teenage friends have gone for the weekend...in their cheerleader and jock costumes. Actually, to the film's (slight) credit, by the end it has provided some justification for this remarkable coincidence, thanks largely to the exposition-friendly caretaker (Fralick) who lurks around the property, popping up as and when needed. Though rather than adding depth, the explanation does little more than add a superfluous level of complexity to things. C'mon: Brandis is an albino serial killer, f'heavens sake, whose weapon of choice, as the title suggests, is a railroad spike. How much motivation does he need? Though it's nice to see that there's someone for everyone, even an albino with latent psychopathic tendencies, it would appear.

Most of the teens don't surpass the level of cliché - or clichéS, in the case of the Goth cheerleader, who doesn't so much go beyond the usual stereotypes, as combine two (albeit usually mutually exclusive ones). Rodriguez doesn't do too badly though, and when the film gets round to the actual stalk 'n' slash - as opposed to, say, fiddling around with seances or in the local sheriff's department - then it does generate some steam, despite kills which are mostly disappointingly pedestrian. [You'd think the teens would also learn not to put their backs against the door, knowing the Spiker is lurking on the other side]. Zagarino is a veteran of a million straight-to-video flicks, and comes across somewhere between Rutger Hauer and a minor WWE wrestler, effective enough as he roams along the railroad track, banging his spikes together. I can't say the ending was satisfying, however, and the occasional effective moment doesn't make up for a first half of sluggish pacing, and a strong sense that we've seen it all before.

[The DVD was released by Artist View Entertainment on December 16th, and is in 16:9 widescreen, with behind-the-scenes footage. For more information, visit their website.]

[December 2008]

Spiker gets ready to
put his point across
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