About three years ago, I was watching the trailer for this movie and my initial reaction was “whatever”. Then the title of the movie was flashed on the screen – The Midnight Meat Train – it became a must see for me. Although the trailer itself seemed bland, I figured with a title like this, what would it be that would make this movie seem terrible. Oh, but when I actually watched it; there was nothing terrible about it at all.
The movie immediately starts off with a train passenger slipping in a pool of unknown blood. As he continues to walk through the train he watches another person getting slaughtered. The murder scenes are pretty graphic so you’ll need a strong stomach.
The movie starts off with Leon (Bradley Cooper), a struggling New York photographer who lives with his girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb). His work is immediately dismissed by gallery owner, Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields).
Later that night, Leon attempts to try a different angle and capture the city’s late night-life. So what catches his camera lens – a group of thugs harassing a model before she boards the train. I don’t know maybe it’s me but I had a strong hatred for the main thug. Keep an eye out on what is supposed to be his mean, tough-guy face. Pathetic.
The next morning Leon discovers that same model has disappeared and brings it to the attention of the police. Detective Lynn Hadley (Barbara Eve Harris) thought he was either crazy or a suspect. The bright side of the night prior was the pictures he captured of the thugs caught Susan’s eye for her gallery.
Leon goes out again another night to capture more pictures. This time his camera captures a well-dressed, yet eerie-looking man with a travel bag boarding the train.
Little did Leon know that this man, Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) was a butcher by day and serial killer by night. Either way Mahogany becomes Leon’s obsession for the next few days. Leon immediately drums up a theory that Mahogany is responsible for the model’s disappearance and has a connection to a butcher murderer investigation from the past.
In parallel, you realize Mahogany is no joke. He continues to ride the train late at night racking up passenger after passenger. He waits until he is alone with a passenger and attacks from behind with a meat hammer and hook; and then cuts them up like they were slabs of meat. Again, the murders were graphic but yet at the same time made me chuckle. The way the blood splattered or squirted out as well as the sound effects it made were quite amusing. My favorite victim was this tough, too-cool-for-school black guy (Rampage Jackson) who put up a fight with Mahogany. His verbal reactions to getting his ass kicked were hilarious.
One night Leon finally follows Mahogany onto the train and witnesses him brutally chopping up two more victims. Mahogany notices him and captures Leon only to leave a carved out symbol on Leon’s chest. Leon’s girlfriend, Maya, now believes him and reports everything about Mahogany to Detective Hadley. Again, the Detective throws her story out the window as Maya has no proof.
As most horror movies, there is a girl who makes an idiotic decision. This was Maya. Alone, she decides to take matters into her own hands and get proof for herself on the train. Meanwhile, Leon has grown fully obsessed and angry with Mahogany and bails on his gallery show to find the butcher.
As both Maya and Leon track down Mahogany on the train separately; Maya gets to the train first and she sees for her own eyes some dead bodies hanging from hooks. Her ridiculous screams and the worst aim with a gun from 15ft I’ve ever seen in my life (a 5yr old couldn’t miss this bad) exemplified the typical dumbass female in a horror movie.
Surprisingly (sarcasm), Leon comes out of nowhere to distract Mahogany from making Maya another victim. They stare at each other with the, at most, one week’s worth of built up hatred they both have for each other. Immediately, they both charge at each other like it was a scene from Gladiator. One with a knife and the other with a meat hammer. Leon battles it out with Mahogany and eventually pushes Mahogany out of the moving train. Ultimately, the train comes to a stop and my favorite part of the movie happens. The mysterious train operator comes out and approaches Leon and Maya and says:
“PLEASE, STEP AWAY FROM THE MEAT.”
Seconds later, a bunch of creatures come onto the train and begin feasting on the dead bodies.
As Leon and Maya exit the train, Mahagony goes for round two with Leon and eventually gets killed. The train operator approaches Leon and rips his tongue out and basically hands Leon the torch and must take on the role of Mahogany. He reveals that the train killings have been a part of the city for years to feed the creatures of the night and that he MUST stay and continue with the killings with no questions asked. Oh and then the train operator kills Maya – Thank God.
I definitely was entertained by this movie and it’s probably better suited for a once a year watch around Halloween. It isn’t the greatest horror movie of all time but it definitely meets the criteria. A good guy trying to overcome a personal roadblock, a serial killer with a weapon of choice, a stupid chick getting killed, an ignorant form of authority, a bunch of creatures of the night, an abundant amount of blood, and last but certainly not least – lots of MEAT! Now let’s go eat!
3.5/5 Great Pumpkins.