• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Midnight Meat Train

TITLE: The Midnight Meat Train

YEAR: 2008

GENRE: Horror

Sometimes the fate of a movie lies in a decision that is out of the control of the director, producer, or anybody else involved in the creation of the finished product. Back in early 2008, Lionsgate studio executive Joe Drake thinned out the herd in terms of his studio’s major releases to save money and center attention on products that the corporate board of directors believed would be the better successes. On of those already in production films whose release was severely limited was the gothic musical Repo! The Genetic Opera, probably the greatest late night film created since The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Another one of those films shelved was the Clive Barker-written splatter fest The Midnight Meat Train, a well written production that is one of the few Hollywood horror films of the past five years worth watching.

Leon (played by Bradley Cooper) is an art photographer who is attempting to capture the true New York City. When art gallery owner Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields) criticizes his work as not having enough of an edge. Leon searches for more progressive topics. After saving a young lady from a group of thugs, Leon discovers that the girl had disappeared and was rumored to have been killed by the “subway killer”, a serial killer stalking the late-night subway lines. As Leon investigates the killer he starts stalking a butcher named Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), whom he suspects is the mass murderer. Leon reports his findings to the police, but they appear uninterested and even question Leon’s motives. Upon following Mahogany, Leon discovers that there is more to the serial killer than meets the eye: Mahogany is just a small part of a conspiracy that is much more terrifying than any psychopathic killer.

There are several areas that make The Midnight Meat Train a much better horror film than most of the swill shoved at the viewer by the Hollywood machine. First of all, Barker gives us a much better than average psycho killer story with a twist ending that is not expected. The story also gives a lesson about accepting the lesser of two evils and is quite interesting in how the moral is delivered. The film is also lushly made and excellent looking, especially during some of the kill scenes which are stylistic, graphic, and downright bloody. The cinematography is downright beautiful in places and the rest of the technical aspects of The Midnight Meat Train is more professional than most horror offerings. The overall feel of the film is gritty with a strong sense of dread, which gives the overall project an intense and at times hopeless feel which is how a horror film should be delivered. Director Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, Alive) has created an action-packed bloodbath that was created well and with the tender loving care that a good horror film deserves. In addition, the acting is more professional than one would expect from a discarded horror project especially Jones as a silent and intimidating Russian-style killer.

It is too bad that The Midnight Meat Train was doomed to not be seen by many people because of some decision made in a board room that resulted in a very limited release. I was fortunate enough to attend a premiere in Chicago with Barker in attendance, and the sold out theater was treated to an excellent movie and a great seminar by the master horror writer. The Midnight Meat Train is a stylistic and creative slasher flick that delivers great acting and an ending that will leave viewers talking. With the exception of the original Hellraiser this movie is the best flick based on one of Barker’s writings.

* * * *

–Mark

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