“31 Days of Horror” Day 17: “The Midnight Meat Train” (2008)
All Aboard The Midnight Meat Train!
I’ll be honest: I knew next to nothing about “The Midnight Meat Train” going in. It was a movie that I wanted to see purely based on the title, and I chose to avoid learning anything more. All I knew for certain was that it starred Bradley Cooper, which was a point in its favor as far as I was concerned.
So what was I expecting from this film? Well, I chose not to speculate too much, but I assumed there would be a train and some fairly brutal murder. In both of those cases I was absolutely correct, so go me!
“The Midnight Meat Train” is based on a short story of the same name, written by Cliver Barker. So right there you know that it’s probably going to be pretty brutal. Indeed, I’ve read that a minimum of 3 gallons, up to more than 25 gallons, worth of fake blood had to be cleaned from set each day during filming. That has to be some kind of record, and if it isn’t I desperately want to know what is.
But I’ve gotten off track. (Ha! See what I did there?)
When Passion Becomes Obsession
“The Midnight Meat Train” stars Cooper as a struggling photographer, Leon, who just wants to be able to express himself through his art. When a curator tells him that his photos aren’t quite ‘enough’, he is determined to shoot something that will impress her. Looking for that perfect shot, he follows a group of thugs into the subway, where he catches them harassing a young woman. He saves her with some quick thinking, and watches her get safely on to the last train of the night. However, Leon finds out later that she went missing that night, presumably right after he left her.
A few hints captured in his photographs, along with a chance interaction with a frightening, silent, hulk of a man, leads Leon to become obsessed with whom he believes may be a serial killer stalking late night commuters.
Make no mistake; Leon is not imagining things. This movie knows exactly what it is, and it lets you know as soon as humanly possible with several of those many, many gallons of blood I mentioned earlier. The killer, Mahogany (played spectacularly by Vinnie Jones) is shown carrying out his murders right from the off, and in quite visceral detail. There is a truly astounding amount of blood, gore, and body manipulation in this film, fair warning!
Off the Rails and On a Roll
If asked I would say that “The Midnight Meat Train” was exactly what I expected it to be…up to a point. And at that point it went off the rails on me. (Ha! Did it again!) The story that unfolds as the film nears its conclusion wasn’t necessarily super-surprising, but it definitely wasn’t what I was considering during the first half of the runtime.
Personally, I really enjoyed it. Cooper was excellent as Leon, slowly going a bit insane as he stalked the midnight murderer. Jones was perfect as Mahogony; although he utters only a single word in the entire film, his body langauge is a chef’s kiss kind of performance. I thought that Leon’s girlfriend Maya (played by Leslie BIbb) was ridiculously annoying, but that didn’t detract from the film as a whole. The kills were extremely violent, the set-ups and setting very creepy, and the…cleaning scene (you’ll know it when you see it) squirmingly uncomfortable.
Plus, if all that doesn’t sell you, there’s a cameo by Ted Raimi who, of course, is murdered in absolutely spectacular fashion.
Long story short, I liked it, loved Cooper’s and Jones’ performances, and would definitely watch again. So if you’re looking for a Halloween-month viewing on Prime Video, consider giving this one a go!
What are you watching for the spooky season? Have you seen “The Midnight Meat Train“? Let me know your own thoughts and give your own suggestions for horror movie musts in the comments! And don’t forget to check out my other ‘31 Days of Horror‘ movie reviews!
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