FingerprintsImage Entertainment
2006
R

“I’m only going to ask you once and you’d better be honest.  Are you on drugs again?”

A small town lies in limbo 50 years after a horrific accident that saw a train plow into a school but filled with children.  Can a troubled teenager fresh out of rehab unlock the truth about what caused the terrible tragedy?

Okay, I admit I went into watching Fingerprints not really expecting much beyond what I’ve already seen before.  You know the type.  20-something “high school” white kids with problems with some ghosties thrown in.  At the core, yes, Fingerprints is one of those movies.  But, it does manage to throw in a bunch of other horror movie tropes that everything is kept nice and interesting to the end.

The story centers around an urban legend in a small town that states that, if you stop on the train tracks where a horrible accident happened 50 years prior involving kids in a school bus and a train, and put that car in neutral, then the ghosts of the children will push your car across the tracks to safety.  Only, Melanie, who’s back from a stint in rehab for overdosing, suspects that there’s more to this legend than meets the eye.  Only, there’s someone or something out there that wants to keep things hushed up, and Melanie has to contend with a suspicious community, her overly strict and possibly insane mother, and Lou Diamond Phillips while figuring out this mystery so that the souls of the children can rest.  Or something like that.

Okay, so we obviously got the typical CW Teen Drama with Ghosts angle.  Also, there’s that Urban Legend aspect thrown in (reportedly, the writers of this movie grew up in Texas around a similar legend), then when you think you figured out things and settle back to enjoy this familiar ride, suddenly the story becomes a slasher flick, with a figure dressed in an old timey train conductor outfit impaling people with rebar and slashing ’em with a straight razor.  Throughout, all of the cliche’s are played out to their logical but entertaining conclusions.  I’ll just let you go ahead and point them out yourself when you watch this, because I so do desire you to watch Fingerprints.

Really, this was much more entertaining than it should have been.  The characters actually have some depth to them, and Leah Pipes especially came off as much more than a teenager with a dark past, in that she actually smiles and jokes at time, instead of being all angsty and broody like most of these types are written.  The chemistry she has with her sister Crystal actually works, as does her relationship with her newly found boyfriend.  The ghost effects and the flashbacks to what happened were well shot and effective, with very little CGI used that I could detect.  Sure, Fingerprints can’t escape its fair share of cheesiness, but somehow that works to the entertainment value.  I was expecting massive pain watching Fingerprints, but came out of this with a nice satisfied feeling.  Check this out sometime.