Though it was 'dumped' in discount theaters across the country, The Midnight Meat Train is much better than you would ever expect as it provides a clever and intense look at the mayhem that can occur when taking public transportation.
As the film begins, audience members are introduced to Leon Kaufman, a struggling photographer whose goal is to represent the city through the lens of his camera. However, it isn't until he follows a group of stereotypical thugs that Kaufman is able to truly capture the intensity and drama that occurs on the stairs of a subway station. But the true camerawork occurs after the beautiful woman leaves the station and enters the train "“ for that is the last time that anyone ever sees her.
Perplexed by the chain of events, Kaufman heads to the police station where he tries to assist in finding the missing girl. Unfortunately, his good intentions materialize into nothing as he leaves the station having only brought speculations upon himself; therefore leaving him to become encompassed with the disappearance of several people along the same bus route over the last several years. It is this discovery that send Kaufman and his girlfriend, Maya, on a wild goose chance that can't end any way but ugly.
However, I must admit that it wasn't the acting, the cinematography or even the set design that made this film work. Instead, it was the work of director Ryuhei Kitamura and the story itself. Imagining the horrors of being trapped in a train car with an over sized murderer is about as frightening a situation as one can imagine; yet, this film takes it a step further as they cleverly cast Vinnie Jones as the murdering butcher. Together these two aspects send you on a horrific thrill ride that will have you jumping from beginning to end.
Additionally, director Ryuhei Kitamura, most known for his Japanese horror films, makes a fluid transfer to the side of American cinema. Through his clever use of angles, Kitamura is able to capture the intensity and emotions of those on-screen, personifying them for the audience and creating a sense of apprehension amongst all who look on from their seat.
However, the film wasn't all great as it struggled from a lackluster and confusing ending; one that will surely disappoint the masses and have them leaving the theater feeling a sense of resentment and disappointment.
First of all, the ending is bogus as it strongly resembles something from a B-rated horror film. And I understand that the premise is based on the short-story by horror heavyweight Clive Barker, but still, at least make it believable. Additionally, the film seemed to be set up as part of a series or franchise. Instead of bringing the story to an end, it keeps it open for a sequel; which is clearly not going to happen after the antics that were pulled with this release. Therefore, audience members will never get to see the conclusion to the story, and will leave the theater upset that the film didn't have as clever of an ending as it did a beginning and middle.
Yet, even with this disappointing final segment, I still must give the film props for its creative style, premise and casting. Because when brought together, the three positives heavily outweigh the lone negative, and thus create a film that horror fans will love and genre haters will be forced to appreciate.