The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Main cast: Bradley Cooper (Leon Kauffman), Vinnie Jones (Mahogany), Leslie Bibb (Maya), Barbara Eve Harris (Det Lynn Hadley), Tony Curran (The Train Driver), and Brooke Shields (Susan Hoff)
Director: Ryûhei Kitamura

The Midnight Meat Train is based on a very short story of the same name by Clive Barker. This means that this story is perverse and even grotesque in a way that only Clive Barker can deliver. However, despite the chills and scares that this movie delivers with effortless ease, it also suffers from so many illogical moments that the whole concept that goes into this movie collapses like a deflated balloon the moment I pause to ponder over what happened in this movie.

We have a photographer, Leon Kauffman, who is always looking for a big break. He believes that he has found it when he meets gallery owner Susan Hoff, who devours art and artists with equal gusto, but alas, Susan decides that Leon's photos lack an edge that will make them really special, as opposed to just being pretty photos. So one evening, while Leon is wandering around the local subway train station looking for an interesting subject, he happens to come across a young woman being molested by a group of thugs. He manages to drive away the thugs, but not before taking some photos of the action. Susan is pleased with the photos, claiming that the fear on the young woman's face in those photos gives her a powerful, and I suspect, orgasmic visceral reaction, so Leon is encouraged to come up with more photos of similar "bold" nature.

He gets more than he bargains for, heh, when he learns that the young woman he has rescued boarded a train shortly after she left him and was declared missing in the papers the day after. He soon realizes, through careful observation and study of newspaper articles, that there are a spate of missing people all connected by one thing: they all boarded the last train from that subway train station. It turns out that there is this sinister man who works by day in the local abattoir and, when he boards the last train, practices his butchery skills on the passengers in that train. He skins them, flays them, and hangs them on hooks from the roof of the train - his victims being still alive at that point - for some unknown purpose, a purpose that Leon becomes increasingly obsessed to discover for himself.

Definitely not for folks who can't stand to watch people being skinned, dismembered, and gutted, The Midnight Meat Train certainly delivers on the gore department. However, the script is also full of illogical moments. For example, Leon for some reason manages to sneak into places and learn of things without being discovered when he's supposed to be an amateur when it comes to such subterfuge. I am also pretty disappointed that the hero's love interest turns out to be the standard "Ooh, a dark room - let me go see what is inside!" moron character who will give our hero more trouble than she is worth. The twist towards the end is pretty cool at first, especially to me who haven't read the story, but the twist also brings up plenty of questions that the movie doesn't provide answers for.

To conclude, try very hard not to think when you are watching this movie. That is the best way to appreciate what this movie does best - to scare the living daylights out of you.

Rating: 78

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