Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

‘Feast:’ A smorgasbord of convention-bending horror and genre arrives on DVD

I never watched “Project Greenlight,” but from what I hear, it is a miracle that the venture of the third season, John Gulager’s horror film “Feast,” ever got made. Thankfully, it did, and after a brief, midnight run in select theaters, the film is available on DVD.

The plot and setting of “Feast” are simple and unravel like the start of a “Twilight Zone” episode (albeit one produced for the attention span of an MTV addict).

A diverse mix of characters mingle at a country bar when a distraught man, who is splattered with blood and brandishing a gun, bursts through the door and tells the startled patrons that something unfathomably deadly is out there, coming their way.

These deadly creatures (who zip over terrain in first-person camera views like the demons of “The Evil Dead”) turn out to be slimy monsters that feed on humans and procreate with the fervor of rabbits and the rapidity of bacteria.

The monsters arrive at the bar, the siege begins and the gore starts. As is typical for the survival movie, the humans are transformed in the confusion and carnage into something more sadistic and bloodthirsty than their grotesque attackers.

The exact origin of the monsters is never given – and ultimately it doesn’t matter. The film isn’t about plot but about style and creating an entertaining, gory exercise in genre. In fact, you may have noticed that the plot is identical to a standard zombie film, but with large alien creatures standing in for the undead.

Indeed, the film is all about excess: Relentless gore, waves of characters killed off, fast and jerky camera cuts amidst sped-up action and the need to subvert each and every horror clich‚ to the point that the film’s commitment to avoiding predictability confers a certain predictability in itself. This style of excess can be annoying at points (particularly the sped up action sequences where you aren’t sure what is going on beyond a vague tearing of flesh).

You’ve probably realized by now that this is not a film for everyone. I’d only recommend it to people who like low budget, gory horror films. Within that sub-genre I believe “Feast” is one of the better recent efforts. Too often I’ve watched a hyped-up, new horror film (i.e. one that is not a remake of a classic 70s film or an Asian import) and come out disappointed.

It may be because I went in with low expectations, but “Feast” did keep me entertained with its excess. The floods of blood and gore were precisely controlled to inspire shock, fear, or comedy depending on the situation – a feat I haven’t seen pulled off since “The Evil Dead” films.

Yet, “Feast” is still clearly the work of an amateur. While fun, the film does little to go beyond homage and genre experimentation. Ultimately, it is a warm-up for a director that may one day turn out his symphony of horror.

Finally, a few words on the players: “Feast” is populated with actors who are friends and family of the director, but there are a few names you may recognize. Jason Mewes gives a brief, amusing stint as “Edgy Cat” and the well-endowed Krista Allen (of Maxim Magazine, “Days of our Lives” and the newer Skinemax additions to the “Emmanuelle” exploitation films) turns in a great performance as an anguished single mother.

If you missed seeing “Feast” during the midnight movie series at the Tivoli, consider picking it up for some late night movie fun in your dorm or apartment, particularly if you only saw the chaotic start of it all on “Project Greenlight.”

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