Monday, November 30, 2009

Midnight Meat Train: Well That Can't Be Sanitary.

Midnight Meat Train is a perfect example of how and why the concept of beautiful blood is becoming a lost art. Based on a short story by my man Clive Barker, Midnight Meat Train was a less than thrilling ride filled with CGI blood, impossible stunts, and really bad "NOOOOO" acting by that girl that kind of looks like Lauren LC Conrad.

The story is actually a really interesting one. It follows Leon a photographer who stumbles upon the presence of a very strange man on the train. After stalking him relentlessly, Leon discovers that the strange man who is a butcher in real life- butchers people on the train. Leon embarks on a journey to put a stop to the crazy man and figure out just what all this butchering is really about.

Now the overall story I found to be somewhat engrossing but I just could not for the life of me get over that horrible CGI blood. I even looked around at one point excepting someone to jump out and tell me it was just a joke and that the real movie would be starting shortly. But that never happened and the awful blood kept on coming. Let's take a moment and breathe in the CGI and get it out of our system.

Watch out for the flying eyeballs!

Remember that time I saw my own face reflected in my own pool of blood?

Me neither.

So there we have some super examples of this movie was a bad experience for me. I also wasn't too pleased with the pacing of things. It seemed like everything happened within the first 30 minutes or so and I thought the movie could have easily ended once it hit the 60 minute mark. But rest assured there was still another 40 minutes left! It got to the point where I didn't really care what the outcome of things were I just wanted the damn thing to be over with.

The other problematic area was that part where Bradley Cooper suddenly is possessed by Indiana Jones and jumps onto the back of the speeding train with a meat hook and pulls himself up and into the train. I'm sorry but nowhere in this movie did I get the sense that extremely campy stunts and special effects were a vital part of the film. All I got was seriousness- and this part really made me laugh out loud. Then there's the battle of the butcher face off at the end- also unintentionally hilarious. I especially loved it when he threw a severed arm at the dumb girl. Oh and let's not forget when Bradley Cooper suited up in his chain mail butcher apron and ran all sparkly and heroically down the tunnel.

Now it's not all bad. I found myself really enjoying a few images- the bodies hanging in the train for one.
It created a lovely juxtaposition to the rows of hanging meat in the actual butcher factory and also made me look twice at those arm holders that are always too high for most people to reach. I also enjoyed the opening scene and....hmm I thought I had more...oh well.

I'm not sure if other people had as much as a problem with this movie as I did but something was just insanely off to me. There was a lot of gore- which isn't my favorite thing about horror movies- but it was there and I guess it was entertaining- but I just really wasn't having it. I couldn't stand that dumb girl and her horrible aim at close range, and I also felt the overall purpose of the meat train and the creatures was suddenly forced down our throats in the last 5 minutes. After revisiting Rear Window yesterday I really felt that what this movie lacked a lot of was suspense. I didn't feel once ounce of suspense during the entire thing- even in the butcher factory scene- nothing. Again I think it has more to do with the terrible pacing of the movie and my complete lack of interest in any of the characters.

I felt like there could have been much better ways to bring Clive Barker's story to life- possibly hinting at the cops sympathy with the underground creatures instead of suddenly telling us, or maybe even something as simple as cutting the movie down by 40 minutes. I think the short story follows a much more linear path and doesn't interrupt us with all this promise ring, spontaneous butt sex and whiny girlfriends bull crap. As I said it is a pretty awesome idea but I did not think it translated well to the screen. Hopefully there's someone else out there who felt the same way that I did so I can stop feeling so betrayed.

Oh I just thought of another thing that bugged me. I wished we had seen things happen more from Leon's point of view. In that I mean we knew that guy was butchering people on the train because they showed us all of his victims prior to Leon's eyewitness account. This is what I think made the pacing and the entirety of the movie feel so off. If those death scenes were cut out we would only miss out on the terribleness of the CGI- and Leon's eyewitness account would be much more tense and surprising. But I know how everyone wants to see gore gore gore so I'm not surprised they showed the death scenes the way they did. It just seemed to really be detrimental to the overall impact of what the butcher was actually doing on the train. It's like by the time Leon gets to see him in action we are starring at our watches and wondering where he has been the whole time. He's out of the loop and I don't like it!

Ok I think that's all.

P.S.- amputating the tumors was both horrible and amazingly hilarious at the same time and I'm not really sure why. But I think it has something to do with the fact that he pickled and saved the tumors. Yeah that's definitely it.

Buy Midnight Meat Train at Horror Movie Empire!


The Igloo Keeper said...

I thought it sucked like a nuclear vacuum cleaner.

Andre Dumas said...

Thank God! I was getting nervous.

Matt said...

I too thought it was very overrated. People really hyped this one up. That ending was SO rushed and yeah, the CGI blew.

the jaded viewer said...

Andre - I'm going to be one of those people that loved this flick.

I even ranked it my #2 horror movie of 2008.

I guess I was biased being from Clive Barker and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. Vinnie Jones muteness, his serial killer order and quoting from my review...

"In the climatic final action sequence, the camera moves from in the subway car, to out of it, then back in all the while still capturing the gory fight."

I can forgive CGI gore if done well. I thought the characters, story and kill scenes were all top notch.

Andre Dumas said...

It's OK Jaded I remember reading quite a few other reviews that raved about it too!

I guess it was the story that had the most problems, I felt it kind of dragged on. The kill scenes just felt really over the top to me which is in part due to the CGI blood. I did find bits about the final show down pretty good though- the hook snagging flesh here and there and when the knife went through Leon and dripped some nice blood onto his face.

I guess this one is very hit or miss, I haven't talked to many people that thought it was so-so, you know? I love Clive Barker as well so maybe my expectations were a little too high. I guess I'll just never understand the purpose of CGI blood! It always gets me! (in the heart) : (

Evil Dave said...

I read this story in Clive Barker's comic series, Tapping the Vein. It was eerie, suspenseful, and lush with horrific images. I agree that it does not translate well over to film. For one, the story relies very little on action. Film thrives on movement. The nightmarish quality is lost in translation. A poor choice for an adaptation.

Matt-suzaka said...

I read the short story way back and it is pretty fantastic and slightly different from the somewhat nonsensical one in this film.

I personally liked it, not loved it. Vinnie Jones was super bad ass and the Kitamura direction was fantastic and the beheading was one of cinemas dopest!

As for the CGI blood...well, I think the CGI blood looked very cool within the style of the film, it almost matched in a hyper realistic way, how the film is shot and how it looks.

Now, with that said, if you are going to have this crazy CGI blood, that actually has a cool look within an ultra stylized film, then just make it all CGI! When you show blood on people, or on the ground and it looks real, it really makes the CGI blood all the more ugly.

That's all, great review as always!

BJ Colangelo said...

I think someone said "okay, lets just use CGI and call it a day" and then someone hired an awesome art director to come up with some really intense shit. thats the only thing i love about this film. if i think of cgi as more of an art tool and less of a copout, it doesn't bug me as much. and watching people slip in their own blood is hilarious

The Igloo Keeper said...

I spent more time on this than I should have done:

Andre said...

Jeesh who knew MMT would be such a hot topic of debate!

I still maintain something did not sit well with me. I suppose CGI blood does work in certain circumstances but the only circumstance I can think of is one that resembles Sin City and MMT felt more realistic and less deserving of CGI.....I dont know I'm just talking jibberish.

Igloo Keeper.......genius.

Matt- The beheading was pretty awesome but who knew one blow to the head could knock it off! I liked how she was still blinking afterwards, it reminded me of a chicken.

BJC wise words my friend, and the blood slipping scene was fantastic. Those subway floors always get slippery when it rains so I can only imagine the epic sort of falls that would happen when blood is involved.

EJMatze said...

yes and i really demand you do not proceed with this.please.

Andre Dumas said...

Proceed with what EJMatze?