The Midnight Meat Train (2008) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Producers: Clive Barker, Tom Rosenburg, Gary Lucchesi
Writers: Jeff Buhler
Date Released: August 1, 2008
Bradley Cooper as Leon
Vinnie Jones as Mahogany
Leslie Bibb as Maya
Brooke Shields as Susan Hoff
Roger Bart as Jurgis
Barbara Eve Harris as Detective Lynn
Peter Jacobson as Otto
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Trying to uplift his career, photographer Leon (Bradley Cooper), has been struggling to capture the dark side of the city to produce photos strong enough to impress a gallery owner. One evening, he follows a group of thugs who eventually harass a female model in the subway. Leon takes his chance to photograph the assault then later on threatening them who leave shortly after that. The following morning he reads the news about the model missing around the time that he saves her in the subway. That night, he begins again his city journey but this time, following a mysterious man in a suit. This man grabs him indicating to stop stalking, then Leon sees a ring similar to the hand in the photo who stopped the door closing in on the model. Instead of producing two more photos to close a deal with the gallery owner, Leon digs deeper on the news story to the extent of asking help from a detective who dismisses his claim. He then decides to put the matter in his hand, endangering his own life and his fiancé’s, lurking around the man who rides the train at midnight.
The Midnight Meat Train (2008) will make you throw up the last meal you ate if you’re not strong enough for gore. This film challenges the human capacity not to wince while being served with the most gory acts such as decapitations, eyes popped from sockets, heart ripped from chest, tooth extractions, and lots and lots of bloodshed. With Ryuhei Kitamura, gore is absolutely an art form. Aside from bare corpses hanging on meat hooks, there are also a few scenes showing explicit sexual contents so make sure that you don’t watch it with your parents. Going back, the most wince-inducing scene of this film is when the butcher eradicates all the unnecessary body parts of the corpses including teeth, eyeballs, nails, and hair. This will definitely make your stomach turn as the prosthetics and makeup are so flawless that you’d think they are using real cadavers, but much to your unease, they are not. This film is just a great example of gore and violence combined.
The Grave Review
Adapted from Clive Barker’s short stories of the same name, The Midnight Meat Train (2008) results into a stylishly bloody descent into murder, madness, and hell itself. This film has an efficient slasher formula with slow build up that surprisingly works and a decent amount of originality from other torture movies that make it to theater these days. The Midnight Meat Train is a good adaptation of Barker’s classic short story which has shown how to do adaptations right.
Director Ryuhei Kitamura manifests an incredible level of polish and visual sophistication that is seen throughout the film. With the main character aspiring to be a renowned photographer, we can only assume that this film has an astounding cinematography to prove that the production has what it takes to see aesthetics through camera lenses. From lifeless fluorescents and dark room settings turning into creative vortex of scenes and point-of-views to show raw brutality and reality.
The performances of our casts have given colors to rather dull characters in the story. I was not aware that Bradley Cooper stars in this film until I watched this. Nonetheless, he gives justice to a strong and inquisitive lead. Meanwhile, Vinnie Jones as Mahogany gives an aura of simmering threat, brutal when he strikes and constantly eerie in his predatory simplicity. The other actors such as Roger Bart gives the serious tone a bit of comic relief, and Leslie Bibb represents the sanity of the film as a whole.
There rarely are perfect movies, therefore for the criticisms of The Midnight Meat Train, I can provide two. First one comes from the script of Jeff Buhler. The mid-range script unfortunately rarely stops for nuance or character. Certain scenes look rushed or lacking sufficient build-up such as when Leon’s fiancé comes home to find him obsessing over photographs of Mahogany, to which serves no purpose other than to indicate that he is thinking about him a lot. The second criticism would be for obvious reason that the special effects such as the computer-generated imagery of blood shower from some scenes is just so poor that it makes them preposterous and therefore lowers the scares it generates from the viewers.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Midnight Meat Train (2008) three graves out of five graves.
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