8 Jul 2013

'The Midnight Meat Train' Review

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura

Writers: Jeff Buhler (screenplay), Clive Barker (short story "The Midnight Meat Train")
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields

A New York photographer is sent out to take the most bizarre of photos and after saving a woman at a train station and finding out later that she went missing, he traces back to were he last seen her. Coming across the same man at the same place at the same time, he realizes that the mysterious man is a serial killer and he makes it his job to expose him for his gruesome crimes.

The Midnight Meat Train, a short book adaption fromClive Barker has him written all over it, and with an ending that bizarre  who else but Barker could have wrote that, and who else but Kitamura to bring this gracefully stylish thriller to life in the most enthusiastic of ways. Nothing is ever simple in a horror/thriller that slings the story in many different ways, often at once. It's original, and fun, not in an obvious campy way, but in an unusual fashion that's executed through the excessive gore and great horror elements.

Though the horror elements and the gore was satisfying, I couldn't help but notice the formula that grew throughout, the scenes were that similar that it was easily recognizable when the horror was going to begin and were the boring talks scenes were happening. I suppose there isn't much you can really do with something that was originally wrote for a short film, or with horror on a train for that matter, but if Snakes on a Plane can work, Meat Train can too.

The characters, iffy as they were, were performed well, especially on Cooper's behalf, and although Vinnie Jones the psychotic Train go-er had the bare minimum to say, he was able to deliver a haunting and extremely intimidating presence that was able to carry his sadistic role through to the very end. Could he have been better, Yes, by simply not looking so British and maybe if he would have stop trying to imitate terminator he would have been a lot more menacing  but he didn't so we were kind of left with this half baked story with a half baked character.

Is it scary? Well, not really, Is it thrilling? Oh yeah, and when I say this I am specifically talking about the last 20 minutes which are in-your-face when it comes to the action, the gore, and the revealing plot that is so different from the rest of the film that I struggled to believe it was the same movie. Though maybe this is the best of Kitamura's work, what makes him shine is the work ofBarker, and only the creative and artistic mind of a Japanese man (without trying to sound racist), could have brought his bizarre and deep work to life; and in this case, with success.

VERDICT: The Midnight Meat Train could have been better, especially to accompany a final act that simply takes the story of the rails for all the good reasons. Although the story and delivery doesn't complete match the intensity of Barker's original story, it is still filled with stylish thrills, gore and horror that should be enough to please the casual film go-er and horror fans alike.

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