Midnight Meat Train

Release Date: August 1, 2008
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Movie of the Day for Thursday, June 26, 2008
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 No matter what the man thought, his body odor was a problem.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
45/52 Sean Collier Not worth your time, even for horror nuts.
110/196 Max Braden I like historical underground subway stops, but this just gets silly unrealistic at the end.

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The first three quarters of the trailer make it seem like an eerie serial killer movie. A photographer, with aspirations to capture the city “for the way it really is,” starts taking pictures in a New York City subway train. While shooting, he witnesses a suited man butcher an unsuspecting woman with what appears to be a meat cleaver. The photographer now finds himself in a dark, twisted underworld of murder and…meat. Yes, meat.

At the end of the trailer, our photographer friend dangles from the back of a subway train with only a meat hook, after which the movie’s title comes up: Midnight Meat Train. It’s also spoken by a bass-voiced narrator. The trailer has just gone from dark and creepy to absurd and campy.

Midnight Meat Train sounds like the kind of movie Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez would pay homage to in Grindhouse. A movie about a serial killer who unloads his victims’ bodies in a meat factory - it practically screams Grindhouse movie theater. It’s not that it couldn’t be scary, atmospheric and thrilling, but audiences won’t give it a chance. With a title like Midnight Meat Train, they'll be unsure if they’re supposed to take the movie seriously or laugh at it.

Lionsgate is hoping the name Clive Barker will bring people in, but Barker, most famous for writing and directing Hellraiser, has been absent from the movie scene too long to make much of an impact. Barker wrote the short story the film is based on, which finds the struggling photographer (Bradley Cooper) and his girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) playing detective and hunting down the serial killer.

Midnight Meat Train will likely have a run similar to 2007’s “Bug,” the William Friedkin-directed thriller that earned strong reviews from critics but bombed at the box-office. The premise for Midnight is more marketable, but Lionsgate should have considered changing the title since many audiences are prone to judging a book by its cover. People are already laughing at it, and audiences aren’t willing to pay for something they don’t respect. Plus, with stars who have no box-office appeal, this one will have to wait until DVD before it finds its patrons. If the movie ends up being bad, everyone will wonder why it didn’t premiere on the home market in the first place. (Matthew Huntley/BOP)

Vital statistics for Midnight Meat Train
Main Cast Bradley Cooper, Brooke Shields, Vinnie Jones
Supporting Cast Leslie Bibb, Roger Bart, Peter Jacobson, Barbara Eve Harris
Director Ryuhei Kitamura
Screenwriter Jeff Buhler
Distributor Lionsgate
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.lionsgate.com/midnightmeattrain
Rating R
Screen Count 102
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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