Midnight Meat Train (2008, Ryûhei Kitamura)

From the director of Versus and Godzilla: Final Wars, two movies I didn’t like at all. Guess I should’ve looked that up before I rented it, but I’m a sucker for anything Clive Barker-related, so it probably wouldn’t have stopped me. Barker’s elliptical story has been handily adapted into a full-length movie by the writer/director of Insanitarium, a little-seen horror starring Peter Stormare. Add a hundred producers and the cinematographer of Soul Plane and you’ve got yourself a movie.


Bradley Cooper (Jennifer Connelly’s cheaty husband in He’s Not All That Into You and an enthusiastic drama counselor in Wet Hot American Summer) plays a dullard photographer who wants to get deeper, go further into the depths of the city to get the most real, unflinching photographs anyone has seen, to the frustation of girlfriend Leslie Bibb (who was she in Iron Man?). They have a good-looking friend (Roger Bart of Hostel II) and they know a couple of other undeveloped characters, so much the better since a horror flick needs bodies. Oh and Bradley’s photo guru is Brooke Shields, whose name you hear a lot though she’s hardly been in anything I’ve heard of.

20 minutes in it announces itself to be slapstick horror, with a three-person train massacre filmed in the hammiest way possible with all From Dusk Till Dawn 2 POV shots. I didn’t think it would stoop to that. Then it straightens up and goes serious suspense for a while – can’t figure out what it wants. Maybe the slapstick thing would’ve worked if they’d stuck with it. Clashes with Barker’s style, but I’m sure Vinnie Jones would’ve been game.

Clearly game for anything:

Oh, so Vinnie is “Mahogany,” butcher by day, filler of train cars with murdered naked bodies for subterranean mutants to eat by night. They pull the thing where Bradley finds out, fights Vinnie and wins, but now has to replace Vinnie as the purveyor of bodies for mutants under the guidance of he sinister magic conductor. Neither as good as I’d hoped nor as bad as I’d feared.


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