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"I've got a train to catch "

Oct 19th, 2010

I really like reading Clive Barker's stories, the Books of Blood are particularly a favourite of mine as most of the tales revel in a savagery that other horror writers dare not attempt. Very few have been successfully adapted to the silver screen with only Candyman (The Forbidden) making any sort of impression. Fortunately cinema has matured over time allowing for an adaptation that truly does the source material justice.

The film follows Leon, a photographer who wants to capture the seedy life of New York City. Too bad for him he actually does and ends up on the hunt for 'the Subway Butcher'. An obsession which eventually begins to destroy his home life and all those he holds dear.

This movie rocked, it's been a long time since I've seen horror treated in such an adult way. Everything here was taken seriously, the actors all give believable performances. No wink wink at the camera, even when things get a little crazy (I'm talking about the ending here). Of course in true Barker fashion things get incredibly gory.

Bradley Cooper gives a strong performance as Leon, remaining likable no matter how desperate his character becomes. Without him the movie falls apart and being able to sit through his actions, which at time become increasingly idiotic, (without them we'd be in for a pretty short movie) is eased with his pleasant demeanour.

Leslie Bibb also delivers, she happens to be a favourite actress of mine but I feel her talents have been wasted in sub par movies, its nice to see her appearing in horror flicks recently (see Trick 'r Treat). Her role is the type of character I usually hate, the nag that sits at home telling her partner how to live his life. Amazingly I feel she does great, actually showing her own frustration and eventual nervous breakdown due to how much she cares for Leon, an element normally missing from this type of performance.

And finally the daddy of the piece, Vinnie Jones. We all know Jones is one bad mother dude but somehow this film manages the impossible and makes him terrifying in a whole new way. Opting for what is probably the best, Vinnie remains mute much like his character from Lock Stock. Playing Mahogany he is able to carry out acts of extreme violence that make Freddy and Jason look like amateurs. Many don't like Vinnie's movie appearances (I'm not one of them) but this time he's not Vinnie Jones in… as the film plays, he is Mahogany.

Ryuhei Kitamura directs the hell out of this; it amazed me that he managed so many ingenious camera angles in the confined space of a subway carriage. The frantic pace of the action scenes had this viewer actually fearing each and every train sequence. The climax was one of the most enjoyable as Mahogany and Leon face off, truly outstanding. One amazing trick was the idea to employ the traditional P.O.V shot but rather than experiencing things through the eyes of the killer we actually witness them through the eyes of the victim, experiencing what their last moments of terror looked like, fab.

The gore scenes were high and kept on coming, at some points there was a little too much CGI employed but overall they were truly vicious.

I enjoyed this flick so much I implore you to seek this out. The end does get quite fantastical for a film that appears rooted in reality but I loved it. A word of warning though this does have an extremely dark ending along the lines of The Mist but what more would you expect from the mind of Clive Barker. I now worry about my next train journey. 9/10

Best Kill
Ted Raimi cameos and gets exactly what he deserves for his turn in My Name Is Bruce

Trivia
Vinnie Jones and Bradley Cooper were both born on January 5th
Clive Barker provided a few of the paintings at Susan Hoff's gallery
I think Ryuhei Kitamura's Azumi is great

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Screenplay: Jeff Buhler, Clive Barker (short story)
Released: 2008
Rating: 18
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Roger Bart, Vinnie Jones


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