Feast (2005)

Don’t be put off by the fact that this movie is the product of US show Project Greenlight’s third series or that, genre-wise, it would fall under the much-tried-for-but-seldom-achieved horror/comedy category; it works.

The basic premise of the film is that a plethora of colourful characters have each chosen to spend their evening in a dusty tavern in an unnamed, uncharacteristic American town (not that we see very much outside of the set) but what they’re not aware of is that said tavern will soon become the target of some rather nasty, rather bloodthirsty monsters. Sounds silly? It is; although if you can suspend disbelief for 95 minutes or so then you’re in for a treat.

The director; John Gulager comes from pretty good horror stock, his dad; Clu having starred in such modern ‘classics’ as A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2, Puppet Master 5 and, the altogether better, Return Of The Living Dead. This is obvious, as his respect for, and love of, the genre shines through in every frame. This was his first directorial outing in the field of feature films and although the direction isn’t Oscar-worthy, I’ve seen much, much worse from much more seasoned professionals. He does a good job of coming across as having more experience than he actually does and despite the poor lighting in some scenes, which I suspect may be more down to budget than anything else, he shows a hell of a lot of promise!

The first few minutes had me raising a sceptical eyebrow as the introduction of each character, at first, seems a little unnecessary, lengthy and a tad gimmicky but it works fabulously in the context of the movie. It’s not long after that we’re introduced to the ‘imminent threat’ in the shape of the aforementioned monsters and the rest of the movie is pretty fast-paced from there on in, only stopping to take a breather every now and again to allow the viewer a chance to digest what’s taken place thus far.

Some of the dialogue should be cheesy, some of the comedic moments should fall flat and some of the characters would normally grate but in this instance, none of these things are true. My one and only complaint is that, at times, it’s a bit too obvious that the ‘monsters’ are simply guys in big rubber costumes, although given the restraints of the budget, even this isn’t as bad as it could have been. If this had been a serious movie rather than the tongue-firmly-in-cheek romp that it is, then I might raise more of a stink but the simple fact is that even this doesn’t detract from the fun.

So many unwritten (and written) horror movie rules are broken along the way that it’s hard to keep track, although for a film that skews so many of these tried and tested methods, it’s surprisingly formulaic. Having said that, it’s never easy to second-guess how everything will turn out and who the survivors will eventually be.

I think the main reason that I loved Feast so much is that it never tried to be more than it is. It seems happy in the knowledge that it’s the sort of film that will find its audience regardless of budget, credentials or script and in all probability, become a cult classic.

I think a more hard-nosed cynic would find it easier to find fault in this flick but if, like me, you love nothing more a good, old fashioned, gore filled, B movie monster-fest then take my advice; crack open a beer, turn the lights down, put your feet up and enjoy! Where else can you find an impromptu doorway castration, Henry Rollins in pink sweat pants, an inspired Jason Mewes cameo and projectile monster vomit?

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

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