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The Midnight Meat Train

Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

After a street photographer captures the last known image of a young woman before her disappearance, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her rather than pursuing his flourishing photography career. But has he bitten off more than he can chew when he decides to stalk a man who he suspects was riding the same subway train as the victim the night she disappeared.

Director Ryuhei Kitamura, responsible for Versus, No One Lives and The Doorman, shocks viewers as he pits promising photographer Leon (Bradley Cooper) against the towering hulk of a mute man, Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) in THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN – a blood-soaked horror, adapted from a short story by Clive Barker found in Books of Blood

Whilst the title THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN could be mistaken for a porno, the ‘other’ interpretation is very much an accurate depiction of what goes on in the movie. It’s absolute carnage as we see a suited-and-booted Mahogany, who appears on the surface to be very respectable, open up his leather bag and pull out a meat-tenderising mallet before proceeding to thwack his victims in the head with it. It’s disturbing and gruesome to watch, with the opening scene of a sleepy train passenger awakening to an empty train and slipping in a pool of blood setting the tone for the amount of bloodshed we’re about to witness. When the killings come, the red stuff flows in abundance and it can be quite nasty as we have a closeup of Mahogany popping out eyes and wrenching teeth from his dead victims. It’s definitely not for the feint-hearted! As the film was originally shot with 3D in mind, there’s some odd bits of flesh and blood splatter that’s sprayed unnaturally during the murder scenes that doesn’t work too well when watching it in plain old 2D like I was. Thankfully the 3D gimmick wore off a long time ago, but it was very much the rage at the back end of the noughties, with My Bloody Valentine 3D  released a year later.

When it comes to human relationships and dialogue, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN falls flat. Whilst Bradley Cooper is no doubt a great actor, there’s nothing really substantial to his character Leon to make you warm to him, nor his girlfriend Maya, played by Leslie Bibb. Besides some brief interactions at home, usually over photographs, or at the diner where she works, their relationship feels a little empty but serves enough if all you’re bothered about is a serial killer butchering innocents on the last train home…

As for Mahogany, he keeps his mouth firmly shut, even when being stalked by a nosy Leon who can’t keep away. As Mahogany is revealed at the beginning of the film as being the serial killer responsible for the disappearances of people in the city, watching Leon brush with death on more than one occasion as he tries to get to the truth is where the film holds its viewer. We know what Mahogany is capable of, but Leon is in the dark about it. The more he pushes, the closer he is to becoming the next victim on the chopping block.

Gratuitous in many ways, with a less-than fleshed-out motive, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN is one of those films reserved for gorehounds who don’t mind a lacklustre screenplay and simply want to gorge on the blood and viscera-saturated action.

Rating: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

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About Bat 4417 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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