Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Film Review: The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

The Midnight Meat Train (Review)
United States/2008
Format Viewed Review For Review: Starz
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"It is suspenseful, exciting, and very gory."

A photographer tracks down a serial killer who only murders late-night commuters in a subway...

The Midnight Meat Train follows Leon (Bradley Cooper), a photographer looking to capture the soul of the city with his photos. He is advised to delve deeper into the city – to continue shooting even when it becomes dangerous. This advice leads him to the city's subway system after dark. He rescues a woman from a group of thugs and he captures his image – a win-win, right? Well, the woman vanishes later that night, which leaves him conflicted. So, with the useless police out of the question, he begins to track the suspected killer – a butcher. Of course, he finds more than he could have ever imagined. This plot is an interesting blend of serial killer and supernatural horror. It does lose steam towards the end, but it still managed to entertain. The actual ending left a bit to be desired.

I don't really have much to say about The Midnight Meat Train. The plot has its fair share of ups-and-downs. Fortunately, most of it is very good. It keeps you engaged with its blend of mystery, thrills, and gore. This isn't a jump-scare heavy film like many contemporary horror movies. This film relies more on its suspense and gore – and it has plenty of both. The gore also has its ups-and-downs, which I'll get to in a moment, but it is usually effective – even at its worst. If you love gore-heavy films, you'll love this one. The biggest issue for this film is its final act. The buildup was great, but it ultimately feels like the climax and ending were compressed. It feels like something was missing.

The acting was great, though. Bradley Cooper delivers a great performance. Leslie Bibb was also good. Prolific actor Vinnie Jones performs well, too. This type of role, silent but deadly, works very well for Jones. The cinematography and music were also great, creating a stylish and atmospheric horror film. Now, the special effects were hit-or-miss. This film uses some practical effects and plenty of computer effects. I didn't mind the computer effects for some of the absurd deaths – like a man's eyes exploding from his head – but the excessive computer blood was just too blatant and unnecessary. Based on a story by Clive Barker, the film was written by Jeff Buhler and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. I wasn't a big fan of the final act of this film, but the writing and direction were otherwise strong. Kitamura knows how to craft a stylish horror film without sacrificing suspense.

Overall, The Midnight Meat Train is a very good horror movie. It is suspenseful, exciting, and very gory. I had a few issues with the plot, but I was ultimately entertained. I was also ecstatic to find a horror film that didn't rely solely on jump-scares. Worth watching for horror fans. (I'm sorry, I have to say it: This is one train you don't want to miss!)

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex.

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