Even though Midnight Meat Train sounds like a really terrible porno, I was able to convince my wife that it was acceptable for me to rent because Bradley Cooper is the star. Granted, she still wouldn’t watch it with me, but I just want to go on record by saying this, first and foremost: God bless horror filmmakers who cast recognizable and credible talent in their movies. It makes my life feel less sleazy.
As for the film itself? Midnight Meat Train has a style all its own, and for horror fans, it’s definitely worth watching, but it’s also excessive and gratuitous and violent for violence’s sake. We watch murder after murder, each in slick slow-mo, mallets pounding heads, blood spraying across windows, and we eventually start to wonder why we’re watching so much of it. Sometimes, this film feels more like a highlight reel of murder footage than it does a horror film that uses violent acts to progress a story. Is the movie stylish? Yes. But it seems to be self-indulgently stylish, much the same as the “Final Destination” movies, with their Rube Goldberg death scenes.
As for the story? I’ll be absolutely honest. I thought it was an interesting concept. There’s a murderer aboard the subways in New York, and apparently a conspiracy, too, as he slices and dices in the dead of the night, and the bodies disappear into the bowels of the city’s underground. Why is he killing? Why is no one asking questions? A photographer (Cooper) seeks these answers, and he is drawn into the conspiracy itself.
The problem with the film’s structure, though, is that it keeps the answers from the audience until the final frames of the film…the obvious reason, of course, is that the filmmakers want a big, dramatic reveal…
And yes, the reveal is interesting. But I want to see how the characters deal with the new information at the very end. Instead, this movie gives us a gimmick ending which wastes the entire concept upon which the film was built. It would be like Jaws waiting until the final frame to show that (yes!) it was indeed a shark after us all along, and then the shark eats everyone very quickly, and the movie fades to black.
Worth seeing for horror fans, but unfortunately, Midnight Meat Train is a missed opportunity to reinvigorate the horror genre.