Bits and pieces of this movie worked; individual set pieces were good, the concept started off good, but eventually so many WTF moments and a god-awful ending made the whole thing an exercise in futility.

I've seen elements of this movie before - the artist who wants to show the city "how it really is - gritty, dirty, the seedy underbelly"; the person who witnesses a crime but isn't believed then becomes obssessed with catching the criminal; the serial killer who seems to be part of a bigger conspiracy.

Bradley Cooper plays a photographer who is looking for his big break - after an art dealer tells him to push past his boundaries, he finds himself involved in something way darker and deeper than he expected. He starts to stalk a man he believes is a murderer, he starts losing sleep, he's abusive towards his girlfriend. I kept waiting for a twist that this was all in his mind (I've seen that movie before too), so it was a pleasant surprise when that didn't happen. The ending I got instead was about a million times worse, though. What could have been an interesting psychological thriller decided to spend the last ten minutes with a stupid supernatural horror twist that nearly made me throw my hands in the air in frustration.

Another big flaw was the gore. I am far from squeamish, I don't get weird over blood or violence. The thing is, the violence went from intense to just CGI-cartoonish. Eyeballs pop out, heads are lopped off with hammers, knives go through arms - none of this made me nauseous, it all just made me shrug.

I learned afterwards that this was based on a short story by Clive Barker. Maybe condensed into a short story made things better, and stretching it out to a 90 minute movie left the screenwriters searching for filler. There were plenty of unanswered questions, things that seemed like the writers introduced with a plan in mind, then just abandoned them later and forgot to go back.

While there were a few nice shots and good camerawork, there were just so many other flaws that drag "The Midnight Meat Train" down into something that could maybe turn into a cult classic, a sort of so-bad-it's-good thing to watch with your friends at a party.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "The Midnight Meat Train" a 3 out of 10.




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