The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

‘The Midnight Meat Train’. Well, I’m not sure what I can say about this film. It is sure different. A horror film? Yes. An excellent one? I’m not so sure.

First thing to comment is that this film is definitely inappropriate for younger ages. It is an 18, for many, many reasons, and understandably, so this should be obeyed.

Now, I will explain what the film is about. Set in down in the Subway in the middle of the night. A butcher waits for the last train then murders his prey, so to say. The characters are quite stressful, especially the main protagonist, Leon (Bradley Cooper), a photographer, who chooses to take pictures of the dangerous times at night. Things start to go downhill when Leon decides to follow the Subway Butcher (Vinnie Jones). Personally, I wouldn’t say that it is the best plot ever.

Firstly, I’ll state the good things I thought of the film. To begin with, the camera angles are brilliant in creating the horror sense of the film. There is a lot of use of high angle cameras so things are restricted and the audience is limited to see where the killer is or what is happening in the broader scope of the film. Although, this does jump around. Sometimes during the film the audience knows more than the characters on screen. For example, when the audiences knows that Leon is following the killer, but Leon doesn’t know who this man is. There were definitely moments where I screamed at the TV to get the characters to turn around, and yes I know they can’t hear me. This switching from restricted to knowing more, definitely adds to the horror element.

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Secondly, it is a gory based film. There are lots of gross scenes, splatting of blood, breaking of bones, pulling out of eyeballs; so if you prefer the gorier types of horror films, this is definitely one. It definitely creeped me out to extremes with the amount of blood splatting. It is a graphic film with a high amount of deaths. This is obviously key for gory horrors, so I suppose that is good.

Another good element of that it was a horror film is that the butcher is brilliantly played. It is a killer who doesn’t speak, it adds a suspicious, uncomfortable feel to the film. However, I think this leads onto the not so good things about this film. I found that there aren’t really any characters to feel connected to. There is a focus into Leon and his girlfriend, Maya (Leslie Bibb), but there is also confusion for the audience and a lot of disbelief in what is true or not in the relationship. This confusion might add to the horror of the film, but I found it more confusing in what was happening and why it was happening rather than making it a good horror film.

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Additionally, looking at the name of the film, ‘The Midnight Meat Train’. It’s not exactly the best name for a film. It’s accurate for the plot of the film, definitely, but to my opinion I don’t think it’s a film to grab people’s attention, or scream that it is a horror film either.

A concept that needs to be addressed is the ending of the film. I thought the film was going to go a certain way which would have been a good horror ending, but instead it turned out to be something much more unrealistic. The ending just got weird, unbelievable, it took away the effect of the horror of the film. The ending made the film seem worse, even if the aspects I’ve named above where good in turning the film into a horror, but I thought the ending just undermined it all.

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‘The Midnight Meat Train’ left me more confused and oddly disgusted by the film rather than scared. I wouldn’t recommend the film, I was a bit let down by the ending of the film. There are no big reveals or mysteries and it definitely isn’t a psychological horror. It is a film that is supposed to purely scare you in the moment and leave you feeling frightened and unnerved and I feel it didn’t do that at all. But it succeeded in the gory aspect, 100%. I’ve stated the good and bad of this film and take what you want from it. Even though, there are some good aspects of making the film a horror movie, doesn’t mean it is a good film. In my opinion, aspects were just a bit too horrible or unnecessary to make it one of those excellent films to re-watch.

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