The Midnight Meat Train

Dir: Ryuhei Kitamura, 2008. Starring: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Vinnie Jones, Brooke Shields. Horror/Thriller
The Midnight Meat Train

The only thing more frightening about Midnight Meat Train the film, is the way the film itself was treated by the powers that be. Apparently, the ‘train’ came to a screeching halt when Joe Drake (President of Lions Gate) forced a poor turnout to this film by way of limiting the release to roughly 100 budget theatres in order to draw attention to schlock garbage like The Strangers, which could be seen in multiplexes across the country. In my humble opinion, if properly marketed, Midnight Meat Train could’ve sparked the next huge horror franchise. But then again, I like my horror films dirty, dark and dreadful. Not the kind of things that shiny studio films are made of.

Midnight Meat Train opens with a disturbing encounter on an anonymous subway in an anonymous city, which we’re made to believe is New York. This is where we meet our big bad villain superbly played by ex-footballer, Vinnie Jones. And thus begins our train ride into the dark annals of the human mind… led by your conductor, Mr. Clive Barker.

Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) is a crime scene photographer who’s looking to make it big in the world of modern art. His passion is the heart of the city. He meets a pretentious gallery curator, who upon seeing his work, instructs him to elaborate; dig deeper to find the heart. Taking her advice, Leon finds the heart of the city. Unfortunately for Leon, it takes a big silver mallet, meat hooks and other instruments commonly found on a butcher’s table, to do so.

Leon becomes obsessed with his subject. He follows him into the subway late at night. He follows him to his home and his job. Before too long, his subject catches on and does not take too kindly to the innocent stalking. After several personal encounters, Leon finds himself entangled in a web that he cannot escape. His life is affected as is his art and his personal relationships. Despite the close distance to danger Leon finds himself in, he continues to dig leading us to an extremely violent conclusion with a surprise ending that I can’t quite describe.

Based on a short story by Clive Barker, Meat Train is a grisly study of obsession, violence and the macabre. I know, that’s not much of a stretch for Barker but this film adaptation is, dare I say, the best of his adapted work. Not having read the story, it appeared to me that the film probably got the thumbs up by Barker. Plus I just read on the google machine that he was super pissed when Lion’s Gate put the kibosh on Meat Train’s release.

With its slick photography, methodical pacing and grisly subject matter, Meat Train is probably the best little horror flick of the year. Midnight Meat Train is available on DVD and Blu Ray on February 7th, 2009.

Posted by:
Travis King
Feb 1, 2009 3:26pm
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