Horror Movie Review: The Midnight Meat Train (2008)


Midnight Meat Train is adapted from a short story written by Clive Barker. It tells the story of an amateur photographer, Leon, wishing to find the gritty underbelly of the city. His interest in late night disappearances on the subway lead him to a butcher who he begins to suspect has been killing passengers for over 100 years.

As he delves deeper into the mystery he uncovers an ancient secret that puts him & the people he loves at risk.

My introduction to Midnight Meat Train came via the short story which I happened to really enjoy but when I heard a movie had been made I was pretty unsure how it could last longer then an hour. Throw in one of my least favourite actors in Vinnie Jones & I wasn’t that interested in watching it.

I’m glad I did in the end as it is arguably the best Clive Barker adaption since Hellraiser with an impressive cast of actors, most notably Vinnie Jones.

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He plays Mahogany, the mute serial killer stalking the subway system. He wears a suit & carries a big bag of tools that he uses to attack & dismember his victims. Playing a mute he relies completely on facial expressions to get his acting across & I thought it was excellent.

The same goes for Bradley Cooper who plays Leon. His obsession with finding out what Mahogany is up too & the effect it has on his relationship with his girlfriend is convincing. In fact it’s hard to fault any of the actors involved as they all do a good job.

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The film is quite gory & the scenes of slaughter, when they were not CGI, are really well done. It is a pity that they resorted to CGI for slow-motion shots of people being hit by a hammer; it detracts from some pretty brutal scenes & at times looks comical. One scene sees a guy being hit on the head so hard that his CGI eyes pop out. Vinnie Jones size makes the force of the hit seem believable but it just looks fake & the impact is diminished.

Unsurprisingly the film feels like it is dragging at some points & some sequences were clearly added to length the movie. An unnecessary slaughter house chase & a long ‘tooling up’ scene are but 2 that seemed like the movie could have easily done without.

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However one of my favourite things in the movie is the way in which it is filmed on the train, the camera often being outside showing the action inside. The train speeds along at a breakneck speed with a destination not made clear until near the end of the movie.

Having read the book the finale was not a surprise for me but I imagine those coming in new will quite enjoy the payoff. It is handled brilliantly & while it leaves more questions (the book explains it better) that need answering it is still a satisfying & quite nasty finish.

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There have been a number of Clive Barker adaptions & up to this point I have only thought Hellraiser was any good, Midnight Meat Train changes that. Its faults are minor issues on an otherwise accomplished effort.

The Midnight Meat Train
  • 8/10
    The Final Score - 8/10
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