STRUGGLING PHOTOGRAPER LEON KAUFFMAN'S OBSESSIVE PURSUIT OF DARK SUBJECT MATTER LEADS HIM INTO THE PATH OF A SERIAL KILLER, MAHOGANY, THE SUBWAY MURDERER WHO STALKS LATE-NIGHT COMMUTERS - ULTIMATELY BUTCHERING THEM IN THE ... more »MOST GRUESOME WAYSIMAGINABLE.« less
Joseph M. (RoboticJoe) from TOLEDO, OH Reviewed on 11/7/2010...
One of the goriest, all time best stories by Clive Barker since Nightbreed a.k.a. CABAL!
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Tim D. (tim) from HUNTINGTON, MA Reviewed on 9/28/2009...
in this very well directed movie you journey into the darkest part of a seemingly innocent mans mind. the camera work is absolutely amazing. this is not a movie for the weak hearted but i in my opinion it just might be the best horror movie i have ever seen. its definetly the best present day horror film. this movie just takes you on a brutally horrorifying decapitating blood, brain, eyeball, and intestine riddled ride through new york citys own midnight meat train.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 12/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Life is just a murdertrain a-comin'." -Dethklok
Japanese cult cinema prodigy Ryuhei Kitamura has done it again. But this time he has taken his anarchic genius and tossed us Westerners a bone by directing this American film based on a short story by Clive Barker. The result is spectacular at times and entertaining throughout. Kitamura is best known for his B-classic Versus and best loved by me for his modern samurai masterpiece Azumi. He has never made a bad film and remains a director whose latest works I anticipate with baited breath. In the past, the biggest problems with his films have been budget-related, though he proved he can make a decent flick with only two real cast members in a single room with almost no special effects in Aragami: The Raging God of Battle. Well, with a modest (but large for him) American budget and a damn fine cast including Brooke Shields and Vinnie Jones (he's STILL the Juggernaut, b!+ch!), Kitamura has staked his claim in Western horror and I like what I see. A lot. In fact, there are shades of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre throughout. This may never be quite the classic that one is, but it is almost guaranteed to gather a cult following of its own.
Our protagonist is Leon, a photographer on the verge of success with a beautiful girlfriend. One night he happens upon a dizzying beauty being assailed by a group of thugs in the subway. After bravely confronting the gang and using his head to escape harm while getting some outstandingly menacing photos in the process, he watches the girl get onto the late night train. She is never seen again. The girl turns out to be a popular model, and when her disappearance is noted by the paper, Leon becomes obsessed with the case. Turns out folks have been disappearing along that route since at least the 1800's. What follows is a riveting mystery with plenty of violence, a classic villain, and a twist that is genius even if the foreshadowing for it comes on too strong and gives it away.
Vinnie Jones is intimidating in his no-lines performance as Mahogany, the towering meathead of a butcher who rides the late train and cleans house before the last stop with a disturbingly shiny hammer in one hand and a meathook in the other. His carnage is something to behold and Kitamura's unparalleled eye for jaw-dropping shots that astound with their creativity and downright coolness is put to use on several occasions. One victim's head goes flying after taking a particularly brutal hammer blow and it is shot entirely with what I'm going to call a decapi-cam. This is my shot of the year. The other contenders are also from this film. The climactic battle aboard the train could have been another typical bad-guy-vs-good-guy slugfest, but Kitamura has the camera swooping 360 degrees around the train as we view the fight through the windows and it comes to a stop just as the combatants bust through the glass right in front of it. This is the kind of creativity American filmmakers are lacking these days. There's another fight early on where what has to be the most militant-looking black man I've ever seen steps aboard and mocks Mahogany with a gut-busting quote from Forrest Gump that had me afraid I was going to wake up my wife across the house. "Midnight Meat Train" may have a corny-sounding name, but it delivers the goods big-time. There's less nudity than I would have liked considering what a sexpot Leon's woman is, but I'll trade some brief nude shots for hammer decapitations any day.
Aside from some obvious filler, a few cutaway shots when I was screaming for more gore, and the excessive foreshadowing -which starts pretty early as genius but begins pounding you in the face as the film approaches critical mass- there is little not to love about this film if you are a horror fanatic. Craven, Carpenter, Romero, and the other horror directors have got to be shaking in their boots right now because Kitamura is coming on strong with this film. It's an absolute disgrace that this didn't get a wide theatrical release when so much garbage and so many remakes by so many hacks get millions spent on promotion and become big successes even if you can't find a single person who will admit to enjoying them. Here's an excerpt from an article that illustrates my point:
"Clive Barker was angry with the LionsGate's treatment, believing that Lionsgate president Joe Drake is essentially shortchanging other people's films in order to focus more attention on movies like The Strangers, where he received a producing credit: "The politics that are being visited upon it have nothing to do with the movie at all. This is all about ego, and though I mourn the fact that `Midnight Meat Train' was never given its chance in theaters, it's a beautifully stylish, scary movie, and it isn't going anywhere. People will find it, and whether they find it in midnight shows or they find it on DVD, they'll find it, and in the end the Joe Drakes of the world will disappear."
"Midnight Meat Train" is the kind of original horror that I crave. I've been critical of Clive Barker in the past as his name plastered across a product often indicates mediocrity, but this film shut my mouth good and proper. Horror fans owe it to themselves to give this one a chance.
4 1/2 stars rounded up for a bleak ending that somehow made me feel elated.
One of the few worthy Clive Barker adaptations
Monkdude | Hampton, Virginia | 10/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I caught The Midnight Meat Train for free on FearNet On Demand through my cable company. I was shocked to see it available, especially since the DVD isn't due out for months. Clive Barker can be proud of this film because other than Hellraiser, this is the best flick taken from his stories.
Vinnie Jones when used properly in roles like this, is one scary dude. He only has one line towards the end, but his stare alone says everything his mouth isn't. Bradley Cooper is likeable as the lead and the rest of the cast is decent.
You gotta love the gore here. It would make any fan of old school horror films proud. There was a little CGI used, but it didn't really get in the way. The visual style and cinematography are very good as well.
The only negatives would have to be that some of the dialogue is below average and certain characters do some really dumb things, but this is a horror movie, right? It comes with the territory.
The Midnight Meat Train deserved a wider release and will likely gain a strong following on DVD. One thing is for sure, I won't even think about riding on a subway train again.
3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars"
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 01/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Clive Barker adaptations being good are a dime a dozen, which is why I didn't look too forward to The Midnight Meat Train, especially after Lion's Gate quietly dumped it into discount theaters before disappearing and recently premiering on FearNet. Upon viewing however, The Midnight Meat Train proves to be surprisingly good, and is definitely the best Barker adaptation since Barker adapted his own work with the original Hellraiser. Bradley Cooper stars as Leon, an up and coming photographer who inadvertantly ends up discovering a murderer dubbed Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) that travels via subway, and slaughters his victims like cattle. As Leon learns more, his following of Mahogany becomes an obsession that is slowly changing him, and frightening his suffering girlfriend (Iron Man's Leslie Bibb). This all eventually leads to a bloody showdown, and an ending that is simply dynamite. The performances are solid (Jones is actually surprisingly scary) and the gore is aplenty, and the overall tone of the film retains the spirit of many of Barker's best works. The only real flaws with The Midnight Meat Train lie within some of the gore effects. A number of them suffer from the fact that they are obviously CGI-based, meaning sometimes they just look laughably fake. Besides this however, The Midnight Meat Train is a surprisingly good and frightening ride that will definitely hold your interest, and is a film that deserved a better fate than what Lion's Gate gave it, and will hopefully find a deserved following now that it's making its way to DVD."
Good movie, daft title
The Straw Man | Aloof October on April's Birthday | 12/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I remember first seeing a preview for "Midnight Meat Train" when I went to see "Rambo" (which by the way was a great movie) in the theater earlier this year. It would make sense that "Midnight Meat Train" was promoted before "Rambo" since both movies displayed graphic violence and were distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment. I recall thinking "This movie looks rather interesting". However I never saw the movie in any of the theaters in my neighborhood, so I forgot about it.
One night last month I found that "Midnight Meat Train" was playing on "Demand TV" so I watched it. I have to say that this movie is quite bizarre and creepy but fits very well in the horror genre. I suppose a movie that has the Clive Barker name attached to it is a good thing. I must admit I felt this Brian De Palma or Alfred Hitchcock (with added gore) thing going on while I watched this movie. I would recommend this movie to horror movie enthusiasts; I don't think it would disappoint them.
The movie follows an aspiring photographer played by Bradley Cooper. Now had I not been a fan of the television series "Nip/Tuck" I wouldn't know who Bradley Cooper is. He played a supporting character in season five of "Nip/Tuck"; well here he plays the lead. I must say he does a good job. Anyway, Cooper's character is able to get a meeting with a big wig art/photo promoter played stylishly by Brooke Shields (who also was in "Nip/Tuck" season 4...hmmm). Shield's character states that Cooper's work isn't "edgy" enough for the city that is New York and tells him to keep trying.
So this takes our protagonist to the shadowy and dark parts of the New York City nights in order to capture "edgy" still life. In the process he follows an attractive female model on the subway and takes her photo. Then the next day finds out via newspaper that this same model has gone missing. This leads our protagonist to again visit the subway and this time as he is taking photographs he witnesses a murder.
Now mind you he take photos of the murder and after lots and lots of developing realizes that the murderer is more than likely responsible for the disappearance (and likely death) of the model our protagonist followed the first night he was shooting "edgy" photography. Now to really make matters strange, the murder (Vinnie Jones) is a butcher by day, serial killer by night. This leads to our protagonist becoming obsessed with piecing the puzzle of this mystery together and being pushed to the edge of insanity in the process.
I will not give anything away, because this truly was a "different" type of horror movie. I will admit there were a couple of ridiculous parts (some dubious CGI and a part where our "hero" successfully jumps on the "Meat Train" when it is traveling at full speed), but I was able to forgive them because this really was a good horror film, with many twits and turns.
I do think the one thing that might have hurt this movie was the title, "Midnight Meat Train". Now the title was appropriate to the content of the film, but it sounds a lot like a porno movie, honestly. I don't know what else the movie could have been called, maybe "Subway Slaughter" or "Murder on the Metro". Perhaps my movie titles are just as bad; it doesn't omit the fact that "Midnight Meat Train" is a daft name for a horror movie."
"Please, step away from the meat."
Renfield | Edmonton, Canada | 02/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whoever decided to choose the ridiculous release technique is a moron. Films like Saw 5 and Quarantine get big releases while this is released into cheap theatres and then on Commercial Cable TV and then video. Very sad.
I just watched The Midnight Meat Train and I must say it's a great horror movie. It's certainly a fun ride that is gruesome, brutal, and hard to watch. It has beautiful visuals, and the gore is eye pleasing! The acting is great (Especially Jones, he freaked me out), and is a breath of fresh air. So I'll try something different with my review here:
1. Yes the title is pretty cheesy, but it didn't distract me from the movie at all. It does indeed sound like the name of a porno. But looking past the cheesy title, it actually relates to the events in the movie.
2. It does stay faithful to the short story, and is the best CB adaptation.
3. Vinnie Jones is the bomb in this. He IS Mahogany. He really just pours himself into the role here. No effort required- he even looks like the last guy you'd wanna run into.
4. This movie is VERY gory. I was actually squirming in a few scenes, but in other places the gore was obviously CGI, but that didn't detract from the movie. I'm a gore hound and I even cringed at a few bits.
5. Ted Raimi makes a short cameo in this.
6. This film takes a VERY unexpected twist at the end. I, for one, was completely gob-smacked and did NOT see it coming. It was a well-done twist that you'll be shocked by when you see it.
7. The only thing I disliked is that at 100 minutes it actually felt longer, perhaps more like 2 hours and 15 minutes. I thought the fight scene on the train was the ending, but nope, I was wrong.
8. It has an excellent one-liner: "Please, step away from the meat."
9. And did I mention I totally did NOT see that twist at the end?
Anyways this is an excellent movie, and one of the best horror/thriller movies Ive seen. It's gruesome, brutal stuff that's hard to watch. And you will totally be shocked and surprised, so if you want a GOOD horror movie, be sure to take a ride on the MMT!"