The Midnight Meat Train (2008) - Ryuhei Kitamura


Rating: 57

Tags: Conspiracy - Serial Murder - Brutality - Obsession

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura

Writer: Jeff Buhler

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Roger Bart, Ted Raimi, and Vinnie Jones

Country: USA

MPAA Rating: R

Studio: Lionsgate Pictures

Release: August 1st, 2008

Favorite Quote: “I've got a train to catch.”

Did you know: In its official North American release, the film opened in one hundred two discount theaters, also called "dollar theaters" for their very low admission prices, rather than at regular first-run cinemas with normal ticket prices, which was a factor in its poor opening weekend box-office earnings.

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The Midnight Meat Train is an American horror movie that's directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. Starring Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Roger Bart, Ted Raimi, and Vinnie Jones. The film was released on August 1st, 2008 to a very limited release before being shoved off onto DVD. Clive Barker, a producer of the film and the author of the short story, had been critical of the studio for it’s handling of the release. 


Leon is a photographer that loves shooting raw and dangerous subjects on the grimy streets of New York City. His drive to capture shocking material leads him into a mystery that involves a beefed-up, mallet wielding, killer stalking victims on a subway train and bashing their brains out. It’s a deep conspiracy that takes Leon deep into a hellish nightmare.

Analysis & Notes

The film has a very stylized effect that makes it look uber clean. However, the overuse of computer-generated blood is a deal-breaker. But at least there is enough viscous red liquid to satisfy my sick movie watching pleasure. There are a lot of shots in the film that take inspiration from noir pictures of old. Maybe it’s fitting since they are filming in Los Angeles. 

Vinnie Jones is a great choice for a menacing killer. I love his emotionless approach. He’s a brutal butcher that is horrifically believable. A fine choice. Far better than Bradly Cooper as Leon the photographer. It’s not a demanding role at all. But Cooper was still trying to find his comfort level. He delivers a dry and frankly boring performance. His relationship stuff is just cringe-worthy at best. I enjoyed the cameo scene with UFC fighter, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson. He plays a Guardian Angel that gives Vinnie Jones a run for his money. But dies in an extremely brutal fashion.


The Midnight Meat Train isn’t without its flaws. But it’s still a great adaptation of Clive Barker’s work. I have watched it a couple of times now and it's always entertaining. Clive Barker fans are going to like this one. And, even though there is a lot of gore, it’s a pretty tame film. It’s an easy recommendation to any fans of Clive Barker’s work. But more casual fans could have a hard time getting into the very overblown storyline.