Film Review: Midnight Meat Train (2008)

SYNOPSIS:

A photographer bent on capturing the filth and hardcore reality of New York City takes his fascination to the limit. He challenges reason and his own fears only to stumble on something so unimaginable it threatens his very sanity.

REVIEW:

Versus director Ryuhei Kitamura paints a picture of “The Big Apple” through the eyes of monstrous master Clive Barker, and in this nerd’s opinion he does a damn good job. 

I was one of the privileged few to see Midnight Meat Train the way it was intended, on the big screen. This past Wednesday, I got my ass down to hollyweird 2 hours early to see the Clive Barker double feature of Midnight Meat Train and Candy man at the famous New Beverly Cinema. My friend writer/director/composer Todd Parker was in town from St. Loius and my FX friends Tim Estes and Graham Scofield worked on MMT so I knew we all had to be there. Especially because Clive himself was appearing to talk and do a nice Q&A. Of course we were the first in line, and what an interesting line it was. While in line on Beverly Blvd. a crazy old man approached my group and told us the people at the box office wouldn’t pass a note along to Clive from him. Naturally, my other friend Justin offered to deliver the note. The note read as follows:

“The great and secret show has finally arrived, just as you suspected, but I do need your help to stop the bobbing and weaving”
The note was very awesomely creepy, though I’m not sure Clive’s “people” ever gave it to him. Either way, this old man’s crazy ass note set the stage for a great night.

Clive talked about why MMT didn’t get a regular theatrical release, and went deep into a plot by Lion’s Gate higher ups to trash the film completely. Apparently putting it in dollar theatres all over the country just so it wouldn’t turn a decent profit. Clive did have some rather inspiring things to say about horror and film in general. He spoke about horror films and how important they are, saying that they touched a dark part of our spirit that yearns to be scared. He explained that without film, literature, and the arts to quench this thirst we would be reduced to violent psychopaths. Quite a different take than the, violence in movies causes violence in real life, perspective. Barker also discussed that horror is not being taken seriously by the public and the film studios. He compared straight to dvd horror films to the Pope paying for the Sistine Chapel asking Michelangelo to,”make it into a cartoon.”While dvd lets us see films that otherwise might never see the light of day, it takes away from how film was meant to be seen, in a dark theatre with the smell of popcorn in the air. All that being said, it was good to sit down to watch a flick that Clive was proud of. In the time of remakes and silly horror parodies, we were about to see a real horror film.

The Midnight Meat Train had many values making it a thirst quenching experience. While not going as far as Clive’s story, the film still stays on track enough to please even the most ardent Barker fan. Kitamura’s imagery is solid and fresh, staying away from the beat to death, jumpy cut, flash in the pan, horror film school baloney. For all you students of film, there are some slick camera moves and certain frames that induce drool. The pace keeps you interested and the characters were well acted. Bradley Cooper does a great job, his character felt human and relatable. Leslie Bibb, who I had just about gotten sick of seeing, gave a redeeming performance that made her a real actress in my eyes. What horror ride would be complete without a big scary guy driving the fun bus Vinnie Jones is terrifying, and he delivers his frightening interpretation with almost no dialogue.

Yo Mikey, what about the FX Well gore fiends, the meat train comes correct in the “meat” department. There’s nothing like a good story garnished with some eye gouging, face bashing, blood spurting excitement. It’s so fun you’ll lose your head . . . er . . . I mean your lunch. My only real problem with this entire film is once again the CG gore effects. When will Hollywood learn This sh*t just doesn’t look good. I can forgive these techniques in this film only because they are some ballsy gags, but I don’t like the computer sh*t. Other than that, you keep it practical with the FXand you got yourself a straight up fun ass horror flick. MMT was the best horror movie I’ve seen since Bug last year, and I hope everyone can see it. All you horror whores should try like hell to see it in a theatre, and remember to stay til the end credits to see my friend’s names.

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