I’m not sure why I didn’t post a review of this the first time I watched it, but luckily now that it’s on DVD I can make amends. All the better, Midnight Meat Train is released as an Unrated Director’s Cut that has definitely added in some extra gore and plenty of blood.
Leon Kauffman is a photographer trying to capture the dark heart of the city. On his mission to the dirty underbelly his path crosses with the mysterious and deadly Mahogany, a murderous butcher who soon becomes Leon’s obsession. As the photographer delves deeper into the torrid history of the subway system, his life crumbles around him and the bodies start piling up.
I marked down ten kills in this bad boy, most of which were exceedingly bloody and violent. This isn’t the highest kill count ever, but they definitely make a run for the title of bloodiest murders.
Vinnie Jones swings his hammer with authority, decapitating some, breaking the necks of others. There are stabbings, a gunshot to the head, a disembowelment, a smashed face, cut out eyes, ripped out teeth, hooks to the body, and a guy hit so hard with a hammer both his eyes flop out. Then one gets stepped on. From my notes: So much blood!
There is a sex scene where things get rough, a little side boob, then some full on boob, and Bradley Cooper, and several corpses, appear shirtless.
Avoid the New York subway system. Also, never follow and photography a mute Vinnie Jones because that is clearly a bad idea.
I enjoyed Midnight Meat Train the first time I saw it and was surprised at how much more blood they managed to pack in this time. Unfortunately a lot of that blood is CGI and looks pretty lame, but there is still a ton of red wet stuff splashing everywhere. Without a doubt, this is the best film adapted from a Clive Barker story since Hellraiser. Barker’s work has often fallen flat on film, but this go around it manages to both be gruesome and entertaining. Keep an eye out towards the beginning of the film when Leon is in an art gallery – Barker’s twisted artwork adorns most of the walls. Cool stuff.
Vinnie Jones, as always, plays the perfect intimidating fellow, someone you definitely do not want to mess with. Bradley Cooper pulls off the slow descent into madness reasonable well and across the board the acting is well enough. The story moves pretty quickly with Leon rapidly deciding to pursue the butcher and letting his life drift by the wayside. There are some tense moments, but most of the payoff is in watching stainless steel butchers tools rip and smash through human bodies.
Some may take issue with the ending, which adds in a bit of a Barker twist and includes something that on paper sounds ridiculous – a butcher on butcher fight. I know, right? Kauffman arms himself with the tools of the butchering trade and heads out mano a mano against Mahogany in a contest to see who can fillet the other first. While it may sound a bit silly, it is a long, entertaining fight with plenty of spilled blood and in the context of the story makes sense.
Fans of Barker’s work should be pleased with the tone and overall arch of the story while horror fans should be at home with the gore and intimidating villain. I chose this as one of the top horror films of 2008 and because of its high gore content and brutally awesome kills stand by that choice. The Midnight Meat Train is available now on DVD.
Feel free to discuss The Midnight Meat Train and Clive Barker below.