So, the whole $5 bin thing is a little harder than I expected. Sadly, the $5 bin is a crapshoot and usually filled with sub-par movies that do not meet my bad sci-fi/horror qualifications. Luckily for me, however, OnDemand has FearNet. FearNet's sole purpose is to make horrible sci-fi and horror films available to the general public. The best part? They're free.
Our selections for today are Midnight Meat Train and The Children.
Midnight Meat Train
OnDemand - Free
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
Starring: Bradley Cooper
There's a LOT of blood and/or guts in this movie. Admittedly, with a name like Midnight Meat Train, I definitely should have expected the high level of gore. Leon (Bradley Cooper) is an aspiring photographer who has an in with edgy art gallery owner Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields). To get a place in her latest art show, Susan tells Leon he must get three pictures of the "true" New York. After following some thugs into a subway station, he sees them attacking a beautiful woman. He gallantly saves her, but only after snapping a few pictures of her plight. Immediately after the woman steps on to the train, she is brutally killed. Leon reads about her disappearance in the next morning's paper and becomes obsessed with returning to the subway. He notices that the same man exits the station each night and begins to follow him. His girlfriend, Maya (Leslie Bibb), and his best friend, Jurgis, assist him, to their detriment.
This flick is stylish and cinematic. The Asian influence is obvious to those familiar with the genre and the film has a solid cast. The ending was bizarre, and I was a little confused . . . until, I read that the movie is based on a Clive Barker short story . . .then it all made sense.
Midnight Meat Train is a perfect film for gore lovers. Fans of films like Hostel and House of 1000 Corpses will appreciate the violence, as well as the excellent cinematography. The verdict: Watch with a strong stomach.
Midnight Meat Train gets a 3.5 out of a possible 5 Torgos.
OnDemand - Free
Directed by Manik
Starring: Eva Birthistle
I'm not sure if I was particularly fond of this movie because of my hatred and fear of children*, or if it was really that good. (Disclaimer: I know "hate" is a strong word, and I mostly used it for dramatic effect. The fear is real, though.)
The Children begins as a yuppie family arrives at the home of relatives for the Christmas holiday. The youngest boy, Paulie, seems to have a case of car sickness. This seemingly innocuous event sets off a chain of horror. Paulie is a quiet, odd little boy and the viewer is unsure if the strange behavior he exhibits is ominous . . . until the other kids start acting weird, too. Only Casey, the rebel teenager, seems unaffected. The children's unusual behavior progresses from normal-seeming tantrums to outright savagery.
What's so brilliant about this film is that it creeps up on you. Until you are in the midst of the horror, you don't really see it coming. As hard as it is to imagine kids performing these horrific acts, it's equally difficult to rationalize using violence against them. The shock value is huge when compared to the level of gore. The director uses psychological trauma and social taboos to ramp up the terror. The verdict: Definitely worth it. Check it out before it disappears from the OnDemand queue.
The Children gets a 5 out of a possible 5 Torgos.
*I realize that there are some perfectly wonderful children out there. Example: My cousin Becca's children are adorable and extremely well-behaved, and if I could ensure that my kids would turn out exactly like hers, I might even have some. I definitely don't want to offend anyone and I want to make it clear - kids aren't for me, but that doesn't preclude anyone else from having them.