Adapted from a short story by the master of horror Clive "Hellraiser" Barker, The Midnight Meat Train will be a firm favourite with fans of gore but will leave those liking something a little more cerebral nonplussed. Leon (Bradley Cooper) is a photographer in the mould of Arthur Fellig, also known as Weegee, who was famous for turning up at crime scenes within minutes of the law being broken. However, Leon is no budding paparazzo, and, spurred on by his partner Maya (Leslie Bibb), he dreams of showing his work in a gallery. Leon's artistic desire leads to him roaming the subway after dark, where he discovers that a butcher (Vinnie Jones) is knocking off passengers. Jones, an ex-footballer, has reinvented himself as a low-rent movie villain and is surprisingly effective in a limited role that requires no guile. The Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura became famous in his homeland for making popular fantasy movies that were heavy on the body count, and his English language debut continues in the same manner. Unfortunately, Kitamura has clearly not been given a very big budget and the special effects often look cartoonish, which has a negative impact on some of the more gore-laden moments, especially in the half-hour-long blood-filled conclusion. Nonetheless, there is a sprightly energy to the proceedings and a neat twist that makes this mindless fun something of a guilty pleasure.
* Kaleem Aftab