Monday, January 4, 2021

The MTA Has Eyes


The Hills Have Eyes set in a subway? Why not?!

Quick Plot: Nice guy Mike is celebrating his bachelor party with is ne'er do well brother Tony (Breckin Meyer!), responsible best man Joe, and horny pal Carl. They end up on the same near-empty subway car as two of the strippers from the club that just kicked them out: party girl Michele and understandably annoyed college student Brita (appropriately, The Hills Have Eyes remake's Vinessa Shaw). When Tony drunkenly puts the moves on her, she pulls out her mace and pollutes the whole car just as the train stops at an abandoned station.

Everyone tumbles out to argue as the car rides away, leaving them the perfect prey to the gang of Sawney Bean-ish cannibals who have apparently been snatching wayward straphangers since the Nixon era. 

That's basically it, which isn't by any means a bad thing. Subway-set horror is one of those subgenres that almost every horror fan I know constantly wants to see made more often. For every C.H.U.D. or End of the Line (a personal favorite), there's are fifty times as many summer camp or suburban home settings. Dark tunnels, electrical rails, subterranean mole people...the genre writes itself!

Maybe that's why Stag Night doesn't seem to have left much of an impression on the horror community. It has a promising, simple premise and delivers a, well, perfectly fine mediocre genre flick. Writer/director Peter A. Dowling assembled a shockingly good cast that helps elevate what would otherwise be a throwaway direct-to-wherever watch, and there's plenty of gooey violence to go around, but it doesn't leave the deepest impression.

High Points
When I saw the title and description as involving a bachelor party, I was pretty sure this would be a case of hate-watching a bunch of misogynist jerks get their comeuppance. It was quite relieved that the men were treated as human beings. Sure, Tony's a jerk when drunk, but rather organically proves his worth when the going gets tough

Low Points
I get that the whole point of a clan living in the bowels of the subway wouldn't love brightly lit interiors, but Stag Night's visual style is so dark that it's genuinely hard to see much of what's happening

Lessons Learned
Nobody looks for the 100,000 adults that go missing in NYC every year

Responsible adults use protection, even if they're having stranger sex in a dirty subway station floor that hasn't been cleaned since news of Watergate broke

The human body is capable of doing quite a bit after being stabbed with rusty blades in its gut

Stag Night is a perfectly fine gory little subway horror that doesn't break any molds, but provides a nice change of scenery. I wish it offered a little more, but it's serviceable for what it is. Have at it on Amazon Prime. 


  1. I do like 'subway horror', but this was totally off my radar.
    It was well-made, acted. Could have done with less shakey-cam... and the cannibalistic Rob Zombie fan club REALLY annoyed me. Similar to how I felt about the Hills Have Eyes bad guys too. Happy to see them die.

    Not sure how I feel about that ending... usually I'm good with that sort of thing, but the movie did a good job of selling me the on its protagonists.

    Thanks for shining a light on it.

    1. Yeah, I guess it came out right when SO many horror was going direct to DVD, and fell off the radar. It IS odd that it doesn't come up in subway horror discussions, just because there are so few.

      Agreed on the ending. It was the era, so I was kind of expecting it, but it still felt unpleasant.

  2. Hmmm. I wasn't interested in this until I saw these vague comments about an unpleasant ending. I LOVE an unpleasant ending so I may have to check it out.