Easily the best Clive Barker adaptation since the first Hellraiser film, Ryuhei Kitamura's The Midnight Meat Train is so absolutely a "horror fans only" experience that I'm not surprised that Lionsgate wants to give it only a cursory theatrical release before dumping it into DVD. I do not mean that as a knock on the film. As a matter of fact, this is certainly one of the most effective horror films of the year -- but man, oh man... it would be a really tough sell on 1,200 screens. It's kind of an unfair catch-22 where certain horror movies are concerned: if you "go dark," dabble in grimness, and don't cater to the under-18 crowd, then there's a good chance your "hardcore" horror movie will debut on DVD (at best) or, like The Mist and The Ruins, arrive in theaters very quietly.

But let's hear it for the filmmakers who still insist on pushing the envelope, giving the horror fans something dark and challenging, and focusing more on mood, atmosphere, and scares more than in catering to the widest audience possible. Frankly, if The Midnight Meat Train hits only 100 screens (which is Lionsgate's current plan), I'd take that as a compliment paid to the movie: This is not a mainstream horror flick. If all you know of horror films is stuff like Prom Night, consider yourself warned.