Blood on the Tracks
by Brody Rossiter
Despite sounding like the latest Brazzers production to grace laptop screens, The Midnight Meat Train possesses much darker intentions for its expectant audience. Inexplicably buried upon release by distributor Lionsgate, hence why this is probably the first time you’ve heard the picture’s alluring title, the film was condemned to dollar screenings at very few dumping ground cinemas – you literally couldn’t buy a ticket. The film would go on to take a measly $34,000 upon its US release; an incredibly underwhelming sum for an adaption of one of Clive Barker’s short stories.
Bradley Cooper stars as an ambitious photographer looking to climb the ranks of NYC’s gallery scene bourgeoisie. Encouraged to delve deeper into the city’s grimy, after-dark underbelly in search of more potent imaginary, his candid portraits uncover a gruesome nightly ritual on the part of a menacing passenger – portrayed by English hard man export, Vinnie Jones.
Distinct in its levels of viscera shedding gore, a familiar trait of both Barker’s novels and directorial output, TMMT serves up a juicy platter of investigative mystery and balls-to-the-wall, head-ripping horror. Fortunately, and despite playing second fiddle to the carnage accommodating set-pieces, the characterisation is subdued and convincing, situating rational and likeable individuals in scenarios of extreme horror; a setup which immediately does away with several worn-out genre tropes, whilst also building a believable sense of drama between passages of gruesome make-believe.
Its overflowing with blood, guts and dismemberment, but nevertheless the picture remains selective and story focused while painting the walls with a gloopy bodily matter of varying shades of crimson. There’s a good degree of action, all of which, but particularly the knife play, is cleverly choreographed, and a monstrous final plot-twist is well worth the wait . The Midnight Meat Train may be the best horror film that they never wanted you to see.