Director – John Gulager
Cast – Balthazar Getty, Henry Rollins, Navi Rawat, Clu Gulager, Krista Allen, Jenny Wade, Josh Zuckerman, Judah Friedlander, Jason Mewes
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This film is one of those rare gems that pretty much comes out of nowhere yet despite it’s bastard upbringings gives us an amazing ride of great horror and fun. Feast was part of the Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Project Greenlight in which each season had a director and cast trying to make a film. This film was brought to us in the third season of the series and was subsequently the only film to really see any success. I personally love this film very much, and I feel that it has many of the qualities us horror fans look for in a horror film.
The plot for the film is a simple one. It takes place in an isolated bar out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a normal night and the “regulars” are drinking it up and playing pool until a blood soaked shotgun-welding stranger busts in through the door carrying the head of some weird looking monster. He tells the patrons that the surrounding desert is full of those things and that if they want to live, they will need to do what he says. It is then up to the people in the bar to band together and fight off the crazed monsters trying to get into the bar.
Feast is just plain awesome. Right off the back we are thrown into the action and into a series of character introductions that had me believing it was Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez directing the film and not first time director John Gulager. Each time we meet a character the film will freeze-frame and give us their Name, Occupation, and Life Expectancy! How freakin cool is that? I also really enjoyed how each character introduction had music to personify the character themselves, pretty creative Mr. Gulager. I really find it hard to believe that this is John Gulager’s very first film. His direction is top-notch and the film does everything right for the type of film it is set out to be.
John Gulager set out to make a “fun” horror film, and he succeeded tremendously. I really loved how within the first few minutes of the film we were already thrown into the action and the main element of the plot: the monsters trying to get in. Now John Gulager really did things right with this because he kept the action going, never giving us more than a few minutes between monster carnage and someone suffering an insanely gory death. Countless times I’ve seen a film start off pretty sweet yet slow down for a while before picking up again. Feast does not suffer from that dilemma and grabs you right from the beginning for a 90 minute ride you will never forget. This film is the epitome of great pacing, and is pretty much the biggest reason this film is getting a very high rating.
I really enjoyed the look of the monsters in this film. For most of the film the monsters were covered in animal carcasses which I found to be a GENIUS idea. The fact that the scary looking monsters disguised themselves as…well…scary looking monsters was clever and added to their creepiness. We even see a few baby monsters out and about wreaking carnage around the bar as they hump everything they see(including a mounted deer head on the wall) and even rip someone’s face off! Nice! Speaking of humping, we see a decent amount of monster sex as well, which I found to not only be quite comical but it added to the suspense given that the monsters procreated very quickly, which eliminated any numbers advantage the survivors had after killing one of the monsters. I also found this film to be very very funny, which I thought added to the film given that it is not really a horror/comedy like Scary Movie, but was really a true horror film that had some comic elements thrown in here and there. This was no silly type of comedy either, but very simple and witty comedy that I found wholesome and honestly had me laughing out loud a few times.
Now onto what I believe to be the most essential element to this film…the use of characters. We are given a pretty wide range of characters for this film. Some hicks, a motivational speaker(played by cult-icon Henry f*cking Rollins!), a person in a wheel chair, a very sweet “down home” girl, an old man and old woman, and of course…a few badasses. The most impressive use of these characters had to have been the way the filmmakers played with us involving the “heroes” of the film. I loved the fact that you get a sense of who the main character is and assume they are going to save the day yet soon enough they die a very violent death. You are left thinking “WTF? What now?”. THEN we are given a new “hero” to watch and all seems to be going well until they die a very gruesome death as well! I love it! I could imagine this concept of character use to wind up being really bad, however the director and writers for the film really did this right and topped that off with a twist consisting of one of the “least likely to be a hero” characters becoming well…the hero. Bravo on that because I honestly cannot think of a single film in any genre that does that to the extent that this film did.
Overall, this film has everything you could ask for in a horror film; Awesome characters, lots of gore, sweet looking monsters, good suspense, great music, perfect pacing, good comedy, and some gross out scenes that normal audiences would find “taboo”. I highly recommend this film to everyone who loves horror or is looking for a good time at the hands of American(for once not foreign) cinema.
– I ranked this film #7 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(1-10) post.