Salvage Review

Salvage (2006)
Lauren Carrie Lewis, Chris Ferry, Cody Darbe
Dir: Joshua and Jeffrey Crook

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you could just die? Over and over again? By way of, I dunno, savage beating and then having your face peeled off like a meaty Halloween mask? Claire Parker has. In the 2006 independent horror schlock, Salvage, that is.

That's pretty much the jist--Claire's shift ends at a local convenience store. She waits patiently for her boyfriend, Jimmy to pick her up, but when his truck shows up, it's not the driver she expects. The stranger introduces himself as Duke, a friend of Jimmy's sent to pick her up. After a bit of sweet-talking, Claire gets into the truck but gets more than just the ride home she expected...and this is only the beginning.

What I Liked: One thing I can say is Salvage wasn't a complete turd in the fish bowl. The best part was probably the emphasis on pushing the plot devices. If Claire wasn't currently being reminded she's about to get flayed like a butterfly steak, you got a flashback of sorts; a little glimpse into the truth of what was truly going on. You know, standard expositional stuff, but done well. Bravo, Crook brothers. A nod also goes to Duke, played by Chris Ferry. This character really lent himself to the story, providing many moments of tension through bizarre dialogue and sometimes Michael Myers-esque stalker antics. They weren't perfect, but dammit, they were enjoyable.

"Quit bein' a baby and put some Bactine on it!"
What I Didn't Like: The music--the shitty, uninspired rock tracks playing in the background throughout half the movie. It became somewhat hard to get into the story every time that horrible garage band queued up. It completely drained whatever tension was previously build and replaced it with a quickly building urge to jam a sharpened pencil into each eardrum. I could handle the B-movie acting without a problem when compared to listening to the soundtrack alone.

"Please, make it stop..."

In a Nutshell: This movie is worth owning on two conditions:
  1. Buy it as part of a discount set (pictured below).
  2. Only watch it when you plan to get drunk and try to sync it up with a random death metal cd or something, like The Wizard of Oz.
Other than that, I'd suggest Netflix-ing this one first.


The Midnight Meat Train Review

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Bradley Cooper, Vinnie Jones, Leslie Bibb
Dir: RyĆ»hei Kitamura

Imagine your work day is ending. You've just sent off your last TPS report and made sure there was a cover sheet--thanks for the memo. As your system saves your work and shuts down, you can almost smell the delicious take-out you'll be picking up right around the corner from your place. The streets are cold and desolate, but you make your way to the nearest subway terminal, hoping to catch the L train or whatever the hell runs at 2 am (I don't really know, I don't live in an area with a subway, so yeah...bear with me here). You find the train is empty, save for an amorous couple and some loner. The weight of the day has worn on you in a way that causes you to doze off for a few minutes after you've gotten comfortable. You wake up just in time to see the biggest meat mallet you've ever seen slam directly into the bridge of your nose and everything around it; meet Mahogany.

"If only you had any idea what you are about to get into..."

The Midnight Meat Train is one of the various film adaptations from the Master of Horror, Clive Barker's Books of Blood series from the mid 80's. Set in New York, the movie follows Leon, an aspiring photog, as he digs deeper into the underbelly of the city, trying to find that perfect shot. He definitely gets more than he bargained for when he unwittingly photographs a supermodel the night of her disappearance. Desperate to figure out what exactly happened, Leon focuses his attention on one particular man who seems to be the missing link. A loner who turns up in one of his photographs of the missing girl. As Leon digs deeper into the mystery of the missing passenger and others like her, he comes across a startling conspiracy involving the subway system, the police, this lone man and something older mankind itself.

What I liked: Simply put, I liked almost everything about this movie. It tells the story of a man who is challenged to find the true grit of the city--the dark underbelly that slithers while we sleep. And he gets it in spades. I was particularly fond of the gore, the bashing of the meat mallet into its victims unsuspecting faces. The preparations of the "meat", how it reminds you that's all we are. In the end, remove our hair, our teeth, everything about us that makes us unique as creatures and we're nothing more than meat for the slaughter.

What I didn't like: To be truthful, the few things that didn't sit well with me in this movie were pretty much limited. One issue involves the unnecessary usage of CG to depict a cameo death that appears about halfway through the movie. I didn't mind the scene as a whole, it was literally one eye-popping part that...well, seemed about as forced as the "pickax through the window" scene of My Bloody Valentine (2009), but without the 3D aspect to justify it. Another is the movie did leave quite a few questions unanswered, such as what's the deal with Mahogany in the apartment scene with the scalpel? I don't want to give too much away for this scene, because, well, it's pretty creepy. And I don't want to ruin that. You're welcome. The final thing that bothered me was the extremely awkward sex scene. I'm not sure what the exact idea was here, but it reminded me a little more of the shower scene from American History X than a couple having spontaneous sex. And that says a lot.

In a nutshell: You don't have to be a Clive Barker fan boy to like, buy or recommend this movie. It's easily a keeper. I can't fully agree with the tag line at the top of the dvd case (see top of post), but I do believe it's ONE of the best, mainly since it has to compete with the likes of Candyman, Night Breed and The Lord of Illusions, which were all just too fucking awesome to really rank against each other. So, in all honesty, owning this one boils down to how tired of seeing Bradley Cooper you are. And let's be realistic here, you KNOW you're going to go see The Hangover 3 when it comes out.