I'd been following the trailer to this Clive Barker film for some time now. Maybe even around a year. I was monitoring my presentations during work when I caught the name Ryuhei Kitamura. Seeing this on a trailer in a small-town theater surprised the hell out of me. Had I been consuming some sort of food, I reckon I would have choked. Going back to the next set, I sat down in the darkened theater and saw two names sharing a story that oozed coolness on the big screen; Clive Barker & Ryuhei Kitamura.
I had several volumes of the Books of Blood anthology and I can say that I'm very grateful that I never got around to reading them. After viewing the Midnight Meat Train, I allowed the experience to soak into my cerebrum. I accounted for every frame of violence and character progression. I wallowed in the stylish blood and the subterranean creatures. What I got was an ill-received film that borders a new-age genius.
The screenplay has been altered to better suit a full length feature film. This adds depth, obsession, love, friendship, and an entire second-level advantage that allows the film to be something more of a shallow creepster film that only really functions to provide a small plot twist. Vinnie Jones leads the sadistic side of the film with a cold steeled face and posture that is eerily alike his murder weapon. Perhaps Kitamura planned for this murderous extension to go all the way.
Bradley Cooper plays the surprising likable Leon. Leon is a man who questions the art world, much like I do. In exchange for human apathy, he is given the chance to become a renowned artist. After photographing someone last seen on a train, he becomes engrossed in a huge conspiracy lying under the tunnels of the grandest city in the world. Things switch up a bit as the main focus re-evaluates its choices and decides to shed light onto his girlfriends struggle with Leon's unhealthy obsession.
Vinnie Jones cuts a swath through the nocturnal citizens of NYC which results in some brutal scenes of incredible violence. Everything about this film is really beautiful. The only thing that obnoxiously sticks out is the co-lead Leslie Bibb. She does the role great and I appreciate her enthusiasm to star in a horror film as nihilistic as this is, but her pretty face and curves negate the masculine effect and the metallic feel that this film carries on its shoulders.
It's very heart breaking to hear about Midnight Meat Train's limited theatrical release and its immediate exposure onto DVD. This is the best big budget horror film to come out in a while. With promises such as Quarantine, The Uninvited, and The Haunting of Molly Hartley. Horror is now about preteen actresses and CGI ghosts. It's a sad time for fans like us. The Midnight Meat Train is an irreconcilably graphic force. This is the kind of horror that is made for theaters; stark colors, graphic violence, and a firm anti-hero. God, I love horror films.