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It is difficult to place the film De spooktrein ("The ghost train") into a certain category. The makers combine elements of horror and detective stories, in the best tradition of Alfred Hitchcock. In addition the narrative allows to engage in character studies, and this is done with a keen sense of humor. So read on. It is especially this elaboration on human interactions, which makes the film worthwhile. In retrospect the plot is predictable (spoiler). The viewer is introduced to passengers on a train. They are fairly comfortable, considering that it is murder on the Orient Express (joke). However they have to change at a remote railway station, and there they miss their connection. Therefore they are forced to spend the night together in the waiting-room. This inconveniences a bunch of smugglers, who use the station for the illegal shipment of machine guns to another country. The smugglers try to drive out the passengers by spreading the rumor that the place is haunted. Each night at twelve a ghost train passes the station. It carries a fright of ghosts (joke), who drag along all people in their vicinity. Of course the passengers are alarmed and feel defenseless. Some become hysterical, others try to assuage their companions. Apparently the company is not open to exciting new experiences. They are a heard of cowards. Perhaps the comparison is misplaced, but the atmosphere reminds me of the passengers in the film Stagecoach, when they hear that the Indians are at war. At first the Indians had reservations, but enough is enough. In the end one of the passengers turns out to be an inspector of the police, who has instructions to catch the smugglers. At the critical moment a motor-cycle police force armed with carabines enters the scene. Unfortunately they are stopped by the machine guns, and the smugglers escape in their private (foreign?) train. However, they are doomed, and their train derails on a bridge. This may indeed be called a happy end and a relief (what trees do in spring). If there is a message, it is the allusion to the poor armament of the Dutch army in comparison to the neighboring Hitler Germany. Subtitles are lacking. Don't hesitate to leave a comment. I love it.
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