The Nightmare Express


Art by Veronika Maynard

Isabella Perez, Reporter

This story was originally published in the second edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 13th, 2021).

As the air gets chilly, people start wearing comfy sweaters and drinking hot chocolate to watch festive theme movies. We have to question, are our beloved Christmas movies actually good? Yes, it is tradition to sit down with the family or by yourself to watch the same movies over and over again, but are those movies overrated? Also yes, there are tons of movies that get so much hype but are ultimately not great.

But there is one Christmas movie that, without fail, is played 24/7. Every teacher plays this movie at least once in their classroom during Christmas. The Polar Express. This movie is one film that most people know about and tend to have mixed feelings about. 

Whether it is the weird story line or creepy characters you see throughout the film, The Polar Express holds a love-hate relationship with those who watch the movie.

Despite the movie starting okay with a family of four getting ready for bed on Christmas Eve, the design of the characters give off a creepy vibe. But the issue that takes the cake about this movie, is how a bunch of kids somehow get convinced to board a train that literally came from nowhere. These kids don’t know where they’re going or with who, they just blindly trust this random guy giving out tickets.

Though that being said, when the conductor and the waiters come out with hot chocolate and the waiters do flips on non-existing tables, that was the highlight of the movie. However, that doesn’t make up for how confusing the story line is. You follow this boy on this journey as he again boards a train that he knows nothing about. Then he loses his ticket and has to chase it through the train, chasing it on top of said train, only to find a random ghost. Where does this other guy come from? Nowhere. Essentially this ghost is the main antagonist and he lives on top of the train. He doesn’t believe in Santa and rides the train whenever he wants. He shows up, saves the boy from falling off the train and literally disappears.

Speaking of, this pre-teen boy goes through many, many, close calls with death that he shouldn’t have even survived from. From almost falling off of a train, to the train going off course on ice. Then after all of this he makes it back in his seat on the train. 

When they finally make it to where they are supposed to be, the same boy protagonist we are following gets separated with a girl from his ‘tour guide’ in a place that he has no knowledge of. He almost dies yet again, but somehow makes it back to the group of pre-teens he was with on the train. 

Eventually, he finds Santa, cause that makes sense, and gets gifted a bell, a bell. And is all fine and dandy back at home in time for Christmas. This movie makes no sense and is beyond creepy. The reason why all the characters look so creepy is because of a phenomenon called uncanny valley. This when non-human objects look like humans and can cause negative emotions. And since it’s a pretty old movie, the animation is not good either which adds more creepy factors. I stand by the fact that the only scene that is good in this movie is the hot chocolate scene.