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The Midnight Meat Train
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The Midnight Meat Train (2007)

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Plot Summary:
"A New York photographer hunts down a serial killer. Based on Clive Barker's short story "Midnight Meat Train"."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 26 October 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Released on Halloween here in the UK later this week is the adaption of horror author Clive Barker's 'The Midnight Meat Train'. The movie, based on Barkers' short story of the same name, deals with New York photographer Leon Kauffman (Bradley Cooper) hoping to break into the big time with his snaps of the city and impress local arty farty big-wig Susan Hoff (played by Brooke Shields).

On his endeavours to capture the true underground world of New York City through his camera lens Leon soon finds himself following and investigating a strange man who works as a butcher by day and a serial killer on the subway system by night.

Cooper puts in a good performance as the photographer who slowly gets embedded in this disturbing night shoot environment and manages to himself become embroiled in the unraveling of the mysterious butcher. But what seemingly becomes more of a psychotic attachment to the murderous goings-on.

Vinnie Jones (who plays the maniacal butcher Mahogany) is notably on form here even without muttering more than a single word throughout the entire movie. His icy stare and demeanour is very reminiscent of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Terminator' character.

A lot of scenes, particularly on the train, include a variety of shots done in various perspectives which go a long way in making you more part of the ride and equally feel uneasy. The kill scenes and other gore-laden effects are extremely well thought out and crafted quite artistically even when faced with downright brutalism. Director Ryuhei Kitamura and cinematographer Johannes Kobilke have managed to combine some great ideas to surprise and delight horror audiences with. It's just a shame so many will maybe never get to see it.

Sadly 'The Midnight Meat Train' was plagued with issues around release dates and suitable theatre showings stateside and so one hopes that the process is more smooth running here in the UK on opening weekend. Personally I think Lions Gate truly messed this up and unfortunately this will have to rely on becoming an underground (no pun intended) or cult hit over time.

'The Midnight Meat Train' is a brutal and cleverly constructed horror experience. It’s one of the better adaptations in recent memory. The sequences are well thought out and add some originality to what could have been very run of the mill serial killings. Ultimately the ending takes an unbelievably unexpected departure from the whole tone of the rest of the film and will undoubtedly leave audiences split. Buy hey; this was a Barker adaption so I don't know what else I should have been expecting.

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