Starring: Krista Allen, Balthazar Getty, Navi Rawat, Eric Dane, Clu Gulager, Jenny Wade, and Henry Rollins. Special Cameo (very special) by Jason Mewes. Directed by John Gulager. Written by Marcus Dunston and Patrick Melton. Released by Dimension.
Feast almost shoots itself into the foot when, after a series of generally comic character introductions, "The Hero" runs in (known by this name only) and proceeds to get killed off a few seconds later. That's not much of a spoiler, for those suddenly concerned, but this scene almost makes you think they are going for deep genre commentary instead of humor and action. There is some commentary there, but there just happens to be a whole lot more comedy and action. If you find yourself ready to take the movie seriously (emphasis on the serious) then you are going to be disappointed. As a friend of mine described it, it's a roller coaster. A run of the mill monster bash that is just self-conscious enough while still being uninhibited. I seriously doubt that non-horror fans will even blink at it, unless they do so derisively, but horror fans have a fair amount to watch.
And what commentary it does have is interesting. First off, when introducing the characters it exposes a lot of horror stereotypes, both in the text and in the audience's initial reaction. The cute blonde is going to be fodder, the old bartender is going to die saving someone, the womanizer is going to be busted down a notch, the man in the wheelchair has no hope. At least these are our expectations. Playing off our habit of guessing who dies first, each character has a life expectancy exposed in their description, but these are usually for comic effect (for instance, the black marine's is "don't ask, don't tell"). You get all the horror archetypes here. Besides the one mentioned, you also have the quasi-sadistic bossman, the loser who is only half lovable, the old woman, and Henry Rollins as the self-assured self-improvement coach (the travelling businessman/writer, for those wondering what the character is in other horror movies). The only thing lacking was a preacher type.
What's more, a few basic rules are broken right to begin with: two of the characters have sex, which should have marked them as the first to go. The kid character is not played off as being wise beyond his years. And the creatures, whatever they are, are shown in a comically sexual way from early on in their appearance.
Let me clarify. In horror movies, the sexual predator is implied or an allusion, not usually shown. While stabbing a nubile, oversexed camp worker might be violent sexual symbolism, actual sex in horror movies is often a gateway to killing. Either the young lovers are fools and are killed for sneaking away, or it's a tender love scene full of goodbyes. When it shows up and the "monster" is involved, it tends to be about something else. When movies like Hills Have Eyes or Girl Next Door bring sex into it, they are going for below the belt disturbing, to show hopelessness. When moves like Cannibal Holocaust use sex, it is less about sex and more about losing control of yourself (the same is true in Angel Heart). You feel less clean afterwards, and it achieves an effect, but it rarely about sex. For a horror movie to do what Feast does, and to introduce sex in way that is disturbing but not mindnumbingly so, groan inducing but not soul breaking, and actually about the act of getting it off without simultaneously preaching abstinence, it is groundbreakingly refreshing. Warning, though, in the unrated version you will get to see creature spunk, and it will make you go "guh!"
All in all, a fun horror movie. If you can't picture a horror move being fun, then skip this. The direction is generally good, the writing is fair, the acting isn't topnotch but I have no complaints. The staging and set up work well enough. The creatures are intriguing and confusing, which is what I think the goal was. My one big beef with this movie is the fact that the key action sequences (especially the one tjat ends the initial attacks and the climactic one at the end) tend to use too much shaky cam and quick cuts. The whole thing becomes a blur. It is possibly the wished for outcome, since this makes the fight sequences a little more true to "being there", but it causes you have to resort to waiting to the next scene to figure out the outcome. "Oh, I think he was killed, no...he's still standing...oh, but she got killed?" That sort of thing.
While this movie is not Great by any standards, it would have gotten Good from me if it wasn't for the confusingly blurred action shots. With that, I have to downgrade it to an Eh+ and let it go. Recommend to horror fans, but probably to not many others.
Written by W Doug Bolden
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