Dear Midnight Meat Train,

It was so great to see you on Wednesday night at the old, one-screen Clay Theatre in San Francisco. Pretty awesome that someone caught your pitiful theatrical release and decided to book you for a two-night run here. Actual people do things so much better than corporations sometimes.

Anyway, there's no easy way to say this: I love you. In fact, I think I might be in love with you. Deep inside I think you know the depth of my affection. But let me list just a few examples of your awesomeness.

I love how artfully, how meticulously, you were directed. You're freakin' beautiful, is what you are. What happened to the Ryuhei Kitamura who made the smug, ugly, useless Versus? I wasn't prepared for this evocative, moody plunge into bleakness. Every shot is a wonderfully unreal composition of light and shadow; every angle and camera move seems calculated to make you as unsettling as possible.

I love that you took the time to get the details right. The little things -- they're so difficult. The relationship between the main character and his girlfriend/fiance is believable and sweet; there are some genuinely lovely scenes in the first half, moments where you just pause to regard these people outside of the plot. And those photos that are supposed to make Leon a star in the New York art world? Those are actually some great freakin' photos. I bought it, y'know?

I love the way the ending makes your story bigger instead of smaller. Most horror movies turn out to be so puny -- it usually turns out that the killer was abused as a child, or is taking revenge against bullies, or is just evil, with no motivation at all. What a joy to see one that opens up to reveal something larger, something scarier. (I understand we have Clive Barker to thank for this.) And I loved how you let apparent incongruencies linger uncomfortably, risking our thinking you stupid, before explaining them in the final minutes.

I love that you have a moral dimension. What is the artist's role in depicting the awful, horrible things in the world? How far can he go to seek them out? At what point does he become complicit in them? These are questions you actually take seriously. Layers! In a gory horror flick! Remarkable.

We have to be apart until Lionsgate finally decides to put you on DVD (although Comcast customers who feel like watching you on TV can do so). In the meantime, though, I plan to rave about you to anyone who'll listen. I'm tolerant of the Saw franchise, but Saw V's 3,000 screen release this weekend is kind of pissing me off now.

Oh, I forgot one thing: I've been calling you Midnight Meat Train for short, but I love how your title is actually The Midnight Meat Train. Old-fashioned, but so appropriate.

Until next time,

Eugene