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Midnight Meat Train

Genre: , ,

Cast: Vinnie Jones, Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Roger Bart

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura

Rated: R

Review By:
Tom Herrmann

Suny Purchase '11

"When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons and make super-lemons." -Clone High

Release Date: February 17th, 2009
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Overall Grade: B+

Midnight Meat Train

Review By: Tom Herrmann

Midnight Meat Train

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: B+

I really don’t know what they were thinking. Here is one of the better quality horror films of the past decade or so and this is the title given to it. Now, the movie is based on a Clive Barker short story of the same name, but that is no excuse. They could have easily changed the name. Being based on a short story, it can’t be too similar.

That aside, I have to applaud The Midnight Meat Train for being surprisingly captivating. The film surrounds Leon (Bradley Cooper) who is a photographer attempting to truly capture the strangely unnamed city the film takes place in. The story quickly decides to tell us that Leon is in a serious relationship, because it wouldn’t be American cinema without an unnecessary love story. Leon’s “engaged to be engaged,” girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb) plays the typical quasi support but ultimately useless girlfriend who helps Leon get work with a local gallery owner Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields) who encourages Leon to “…keep shooting,” when he’s at the heart of this city.

In a shocking turn of events, Brooke Shields has about two minutes of onscreen time despite her being the much more qualified then more prominent characters. I’m talking to you Leslie Bibb!

Leon decides to take that advice way too literally and gets himself into some formidable situations. Leon runs into Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), a man who brutally murdering people in the subways late at night. Being the idiotic horror movie stereotype that Leon is he continues to peruse photography opportunities in the subway because apparently there’s nothing else in the whole city. As he continues to tread deeper into the inevitable death trap he, very slowly, realizes that he has eaten the proverbial shit sandwich.

In all honesty, this film is surprisingly well done. There are issues but they seem to be shadowed out by the fact that it's pretty gripping; something that can’t be said about most modern horror films. Don’t worry though, The Midnight Meat Train doesn’t fail to disappoint when all is said and done.

The finale of the film trades out the witty development, like Leon being a vegetarian and his nemesis being a butcher, for a much less clever and much more predictable “twist” ending. Aside from being expected, the ending takes a turn for the supernatural. This idea of taking a straight forward reality and throwing it into a mystical universe with demons and hell spawn is just frustrating.

As far as features go, MMT has some above average stuff to offer. There is, Clive Barker: The Man Behind the Myth, which consists of interviews with Barker about his worker as a writer, director, and painter. Any big Clive Barker fan will probably love it but as just an average fan of his work I felt like it

dragged on for too long. That could be partly due to the fact that he has the second most annoying voice to Christian Bale's Batman voice. There is also Mahogany's Tale, which gives a breakdown of the character. The only problem is that the character is less complex then the cast seem to want to believe so we get a lot of useless and uninteresting information spoon-feed to us.

My personal favorite feature was probably Anatomy of a Murder Scene. If you have read my review of Saw V, its pretty much the same as the special features on that DVD, and if you haven't, then get too it. We get a really detailed look at how they go about making the murder scenes happen. My only issue with this was that they seemed to praise the effects and I personally felt that somebody went a little CGI happy. I think some of the CGI did look cool, but stuff like the eye popping out was just bad.

Again, everything that’s negative about this film has to be taken in stride given recent horror trends. There’s no comparison between this is something along the lines of Diary of the Dead and that was directed by George A. Romero; a horror legend. It also gives a decent effort to be visually appealing and even though that doesn’t work to the extent I think they intended it to, it does enough to be credited. The Midnight Meat Train may not be the best horror film in the history of cinema, but it's definitely a good way to kill some time.

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: B+

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