The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Written by Jeff Buhler / Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
Unfortunately on the day of this entry, the world is in a dark, sad place, so much so, that I even felt guilty about writing a post for today. But I believe that stories and movies in particular are cathartic and are meant especially for dark times like these. They can be mirrors to the world around us, or they can be windows into another one, serving as a brief escape to keep us from going crazy. Even a movie with as twisted and as bizarre of a sensibility as The Midnight Meat Train can be a cathartic form of escapism. Midnight Meat Train certainly is twisted, and it certainly is bizarre, but it takes a little while to get there. Just like The Black Cat, Midnight Meat Train is very loosely based on a short story by a horror legend, in this case, Clive Barker. The film does its best to flesh out the simple premise of the original short story, which is probably its biggest misstep, causing the first half of the film to play out like a Twilight Zone episode directed by an alternate dimension Alfred Hitchcock who specialized in making nu-metal music videos. Pre-Fame Bradley Cooper plays a struggling photographer in New York who is obsessed with finding the gritty underbelly of the city he lives in. When his midnight strolls lead him to discover a possibly murderous butcher played by Vinnie Jones, Mr. Cooper takes a sharp left turn from Normal Guy Highway onto Crazy Conspiracy Nutjob Road and it's only downhill from there. Ryuhei Kitamura has a fascinating visual eye and creates some genuinely dreamy atmospheres, although they're hampered down by early 2000's "edgy" editing. The screenplay is absurdly silly, and that only starts to work in the movie's favor after it throws off the shackles of trying to make everything make sense and just embraces the batshit insanity of Barker's world. In the end, it's a fun ride. The end destination is worth the trip, even if there are too many stops along the way.
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