The Midnight Meat Train is a film I bought ages ago purely because of its title. I finally got round to watching this gore-fest, which, actually, is suprisingly decent.
The film follows an ambitious photographer, Leon (Bradley Cooper), who takes pictures of the city but gets criticised by an art dealer, Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields) for his images. Leon takes up this criticism and ventures out into the darkness of the city for better quality images. This leads to him finding the sharply dressed butcher, Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), who Leon believes to be the serial killer responsible for the frequency of missing people in the area. As Leon stalks Mahogany, he begins to uncover some dark secrets within the subway…
The film features a great turn by Vinne Jones as the silent butcher Mahogany. The character only utters one word during the whole film but the acts that the character does shows the audience how far from reality this character is. Like other great horror character – Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason – their prowess comes from the fact that they are silent. They also display no emotion. Though, that being said, wearing a mask does help. Likewise, Mahogany has no emotion when he kills – a supernatural being of no human qualities. As the film progresses, we see why Mahogany kills, and it is quite disturbing.
There is some good acting from Bradley Cooper as he portrays Leon, who descends into the deep, dark depths of the subway as he uncovers the grisly murders. Throughout the film, Leon experiences a change in character as he becomes obsessed with the butcher. Near the end of the film, his life is dramatically altered and makes for a great ending.
The film is great in part for Vinnie Jones performance but also for the amount of gore there is. The director, Ryuhei Kitamura, uses gore for effect, especially in the final showdown between Mahogany and Leon, in which they fight next to slaughtered dead bodies. The killings by Mahogany, using a blunt, steel hammer, are brutal to watch and leave nothing to the viewers imagination. Also, Kitamura does well to show the claustrophobic conditions within the train mixed with the sense of dread and hopelessness.
One minor setback was Maya (Leslie Bibb), who I found quite annoying and hindered the film. The scenes with her and Leon dragged the film and I felt that her character didn’t really add to the film. Though she was Leon’s love, I felt that she wasn’t really there to move the film on, just there to add conflict to Leon.
Overall, the Midnight Meat Train is a hidden gem, and does well in using the vast amounts of gore and the performance of Vinnie Jones to create a great horror film. Mahogany is a great horror villain and the way he kills people is testament to that. This is a great film for lovers of gore, silent killers and meat.