Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

I talk to some degree to my students about story over style with filmmaking. I think this is a prime example of a director going nuts with style and "cool shots" that don't add to the story but actually take you out of it.

I'm a sucker for good horror. Good horror. I'm not a fan of the sadistic torture porn that seems to be finding a back seat to the recent remakes of teen slasher flicks. Thank god. And what I love is that a lot of these new teen slasher flicks are going old school. Kill and move on. No torture, mutilate, humiliate, torture some more and then kill. Nope ... it's simply ax to the head, dead, move on to the next one.

The Midnight Meat Train could've been a super cool film. Number one it has a pretty awesome title. Second, it has a cool/interesting/simple story. But once the director got a hold of what was probably a decent script he couldn't seem to figure out if he wanted to make an art film, a torture porn film, an old school horror film or a sci-fi film. One of the number one ways to kill a film ... not know what it is. When your tone is all over the place ... your audience is gonna get confused, quick.

Less is more. Great horror shows very little. Not like today where they show everything. Dude, that's just gross. Not scary. Sure it makes me close my eyes and hold my ears, but it doesn't keep me up at night looking under my bed or checking my closet.

I was half heartedly listening to the commentary while working late last night Clive Barker and the director seemed to only want to talk about the cool effect shots like the eyeball getting ripped out and using the CG to make it fly at the screen. Yay! You can make an eyeball fly at the screen. Good for you. But who cares.

I'm all for crazy cool camera ... but I'm more for being faithful to your story.

What sold me on watching the film was (besides the title) Vinnie Jones. He's second to Jason Statham for me. And if you haven't seen him do comedy, you're missing out.

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