Fair warning this film is not for the faint of heart.
That being said, The Midnight Meat Train, is a bad movie…but only because it had a potentially cool premise that it wasted on overly stylized torture porn and a muddled plot.
Not even Bradley Cooper could save this movie, but he is the best part of it. I went into viewing the film hoping that it would be a cult classic, as it got high critic ratings and I remember hearing so many people talking about it when it first came out. Then I watched it, and I was not amused.
The original concept is fantastic. A photographer stumbles on what he thinks is a serial killer while trying to get edgy photos for an art exhibit. This alone could have been a great cat and mouse serial killer thriller, but decided to add in a supernatural factor that just seemed random and tacked on. It went for over the top gross-out visuals, which I always feel is a cheap way to be scary. Nobody likes to see a full minute of teeth and nail extraction and if you do, please do no involve me. It’s all just too much. Then of course there’s the realistic factor of gore. I find realistic gore, which this film does have a little bit of to be far more effective than cheesy fake-looking gore. Do not film a kill through the lens of a decapitated head and then make her blink. Don’t have fake CGI eyeballs fly at me, because I will laugh instead of cringe in fear. Make it real, and I will respect it. Of course within the story, there are a couple twists that are interesting, but it doesn’t make up for its lack of coherent story. Then there is an actual scene in this thing where Bradley Cooper full on Wolverine-leaps onto a moving subway. Which may be the most realistic thing in this movie, and that’s saying something.
I just wish they did more of the voyeuristic following aspect of the story, which I found the most intriguing. I understand that it is based on a Clive Baker short story, and so it could only go so far as an adaptation, but everything about the premise is already creepy without adding the intense torture aspect of the story that makes it seem a lot sillier and unrealistic than it could have been with less campy gore and more realistic scares that cashed in more on the claustrophobic nature of the subway and being trapped underground. I live in New York, and trust me the subway is already scary without adding a serial killer at 14th Street. I never want to be on the train past 12am again, so mission accomplished The Midnight Meat Train.
Amy’s Recommendation: 4/10