Fourteen year old Zach Kincaid (Chauncey Leopardi) is a card carrying fan of Fangoria magazine and classic horror films but when he discovers that vampires live beneath New York City he sets out to prove their existence to his friends who don’t believe him. This is the premise behind the very kid friendly horror film Shadow Zone: The Undead Express (1996) in which Ron Silver stars as Valentine, the leader of a group of vampires who live in the old subway system of New York traveling on the Undead Express and unable to venture out into the world above. Zach is a perpetual liar to his friends and parents. It is only to his psychiatrist (played by horror director Wes Craven) that Zach truly feels free to tell the whole truth.
While traveling between his separated parents homes he accidentally takes a wrong turn and finds himself on the Undead Express where a charismatic vampire by the name of Valentine decides to take the young troubled Zach under his wing. It is not long before Valentine’s charms take their effect on Zach who has been cast apart from his best friends who disbelieve his stories about vampires living underneath the city. Valentine decides to show Zach the history of the underground subway system in exchange for Zach showing him the world above, but once Valentine gets a taste of the above human world what is to stop him from returning to the underground subway system which has been his tomb for so many years.
As a kid friendly horror film it has that vibe of a film about a young boy on the verge of becoming an adult whose mentor may not be the best one in the world but Valentine’s charm is hard to deny and even though he is a vampire he has an allure that Zach can’t help to be captivated with especially during a time in which his parents are separated and always fighting and his best friends believe he’s a compulsive liar. The film is light on genuine scares but is very creepy for the younger horror fan which is exactly what it should be. The real draw for the older horror fan is to witness the rare occasion of horror icon Wes Craven as an actor. This film is for the Goosebumps crowd and therefore is just an entertaining vampire romp for us adults. It is a safe film to get the young ones associated to the horror genre.