Feast (2005) Review
Written by: Daniel
Feast is some of the most entertaining 88 minutes of horror to crawl out of Hollywood in some time. The film was born from Project Greenlight 3, the contest where producers Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Chris Moore pick one lucky filmmaker's concept and give it the production go ahead. After 22 rewrites, Marcus Dunstand and Patrick Melton's script is tightly wound around ridiculous fun and many, many shockingly disgusting gore-filled moments. With an ensemble that includes great performances from former soap queen Krista Allen, Henry Rollins, and snootcher Jason Mewes, the struggle for survival against the aggression of flesh devouring monsters becomes a stage for some extremely memorable character acting that just might prove to elevate Feast to the coveted rank of cult-classic horror, and set an example for horror films to come.
The film is set in the middle-of-nowhere bar, The Beer Tap Tavern, where the gangly mix of patrons are up to their own devices. You've got your regulars: grandma glued to the bar, the old-timer bartender, a few young guys blowing off steam over a game of pool, the out-of-towner motivational speaker, the biker chick, a few waitresses looking for a way out, and the rest.
The loose bar-buzz feeling is suddenly interrupted when in pops "the hero" carrying the severed head of some creature he says is one of a handful that are on their way to terrorize the bar, and he nobly suggests they begin securing the bar Night-of-the-Living-Dead-farmhouse style. But, the terror begins before anyone has a chance to do anything about it as the smallest of the creatures crashes through a window and goes on a killing spree.
After trapping the little monster in an icebox, the "heroine" busts through the door and gets everyone to lock the place up before the big ones have a chance to get in. Now all that's left is how to escape, right? Wrong. The story goes deeper into the characters' identities and back stories, developing some dramatic and comedic elements that help us see them as more than meat waiting to be devoured.
Wondering what the crazed monsters look like? The only way to accurately describe them is to say they are huge beasts that walk upright with slimy fur, deformed appendages, and bizarre but hilarious reproductive instincts and habits.
Leading the cast is Krista Allen, whose flare for physical comedy shocks those who remember her earlier days as buxom Billy from Days of our Lives. She plays a waitress who pulls tricks to make the ends meet, and also happens to be a mother. The antithesis of the helpless woman, she goes from shock to the ultimate survivor. The way she tears into one of the creatures at the end is both disturbing and sexy, a scene that will last in my memory for a long time to come. Everyone else is fantastic in their roles, as I mentioned, and bring more character to their characters than you would expect from a film that strives to "resurrect the 'Midnight Movie Madness' craze established by the drive-ins of yesteryear."
Feast is not particularly scary. As much as it is a disgusting and engaging good time, it's great because it follows its own style and never falls back on horror cliches in order to get through to the next wacky death. Instead, those potentially boring, dramatic, character-development scenes are filled with great dialogue and subtle moments of gore-shock that keep the audience's attention, and the story on track, until the next big scene.
If you like your horror to be fast, furious, fun, and disgusting, then you're going to love Feast. It's a film that is going to open doors for horror films to come. Extremely well planned down to the very last detail, or so it appears, I hope that everyone in the horror world is paying attention. The stakes have been risen, and it's about time. After the last few years, the mindless trash to splash and splatter across the silver screen has only raised my appetite for a horror film that was made with care. Happily, today my hunger was satisfied. Big thanks to director John Gulager for his efforts, and to the folks at Project Greenlight for seeing the brilliance behind the blood lust.