The story behind the horrible studio treatment if this film is well-known by now, so there is no need to harp on it but to say that this film deserved a true theatrical release, NOT in budget dollar theaters, as it is certainly better than most of the crap that passes as horror lately (yes, "Prom Night" remake, I am talking to you) that makes it into theaters. That does not mean the film does not have its share of flaws, but visually, it is one of the better looking horror films of the last few years. The direction and cinematography is crisp and captures the uneasiness of the big city setting and the isolation and claustrophobic feeling that the subway injects into many people. Once you are on, you are vulnerable, as there is really no escape and this film captures that tension brilliantly.
A photographer (Bradley Cooper) needs to take more risks with his work, so he decides to go out into the city in the middle of the night to capture people involved in nefarious acts. This leads him to the subway, where he unintentionally discovers a blood-thirsty serial killer who is gruesomely butchering passengers who are riding late at night. He becomes obsessed with capturing this guy and proving that he exists, which ultimately leads him to discover the horrific truth and come face to face with this evil, while getting his best friend and fiancé involved as well.
First, this is a bloody, violent film. Gore hounds will love the kills, as they are brutal, unflinching, and in-your-face. The large meat tenderizer the killer uses to knock his victims out becomes a character itself, but that is just the beginning of the brutality. Meat hooks, carving knives, gutting, throat slitting, decapitation....this killer means business. The kill scenes are slickly directed and remind me a lot of the kills scenes in "See No Evil." The pacing is pretty good, though the scenes with Brooke Shields are unnecessary and it is sad to see her wasted her. The acting is above average. The very sexy Bradley Cooper is adorable to look at, but some of his scenes seem forced and over-the-top. Still, he manages to become a character we can root for because we know he is truly a good guy, so what happens in the end is pretty hard-hitting. That is another great thing about this film: it is pure horror and does not apologize for it. There are no unnecessary comic relief scenes--just good, old-fashioned horror.
However, there are flaws. The whole premise of the film-the serial killer on the train-is never fully explained...even in the films resolution. We are led to believe that dozens and dozens of people have gone missing--all last seen on the subway, but nobody has ever discovered the secret before. Yes...I understand the female cop's role, but that was just one person. Was everyone in the department in on it? Did the victim's family never look for them? I guess there is where we need to suspend belief, eh? The ending is also predictable, and somewhat unsatisfying, particularly because of the loose ends that it fails to tie up. Regardless, this is a great entry into the slasher genre and is probably one of the best horror films of the year.(read on) (show less)