• Retrospective: Feast (2005)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Tue Nov 22 07:50:46 2016
    FEAST (2005)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    **1/2 (out of ****)

    What's interesting about "Feast," a patrons-trapped-in-a-bar-and-forced-to-fight-off-voracious-critters movie
    from first-time director John Gulager, is that, unless you've seen the
    trailer, you won't have an earthly as to what these monsters are, exactly,
    and where on earth they came from. The trailer, however, spells things out quite specifically--for those who prefer their heavy servings of gore unencumbered by plot contrivances you can skip the next tell-all paragraph:
    "West Texas: the desert. A weapon has been created. It is
    undetectable. It is untraceable. It is unstoppable. It is alive. Before
    it can be used on our enemies it must be tested. On us."
    It's just curious that this rather forthright explanation is nowhere
    to be found in the finished film. Our hero (the first of many) just shows
    up at the bar, bloodied and battered, and tells its motley occupants that a storm o'hell is about to reign down on them and that they'd better start battening down the hatches pronto like. There is some preamble involving a
    car crash but it goes no further in revealing the imminent threat to this
    seedy watering hole in the Chihuahuan Desert. The script for "Feast," by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, was the winner of the third season of
    the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon-executive produced documentary series "Project Greenlight" (in which novice filmmakers vie for a chance to direct a
    feature film). Perhaps the promotions people felt its coming attraction
    reel needed to provide a little more backstory.
    But anyway. We're introduced to our delightful dinner guests Hero,
    Bozo, Harley Mom, Coach, Honey Pie, Tuffy, Edgy Cat, Hot Wheels, Vet,
    Heroine, Boss Man, Grandma, and Beer Guy bright and early--and somewhat tongue-in-cheekily--via those sepia-toned, Tarantino-esque freeze-frame
    title boards. You know the type:
    Name: Beer Guy.
    Occupation: Beer Guy & Part-Time Host at Red Lobster.
    Life Expectancy: Losers and Dorks Go First... He's Both.
    These nicely establish the mood, since we quickly know what to expect, especially in terms of the film's spirited tone. The humor proves
    diverting, since the mayhem of the creature attacks is shot and edited in
    such an unvaryingly nutzoid and gut-spilling style that figuring out what's afoot, or getting a good gander at the monsters themselves, isn't really an option. Another unexpected blessing is that the women here are a *lot*
    quicker to step up to the macho plate than the menfolk. The creatures
    don't seem to value equal opportunity filmmaking as much, mind you--they'll pretty much munch on anything, and do.
    Among the name performers in "Feast," which spawned two tasty sequels, 2008's "Feast II: Sloppy Seconds" and "Feast III: The Happy Finish" in
    2009, are Balthazar Getty (Life Expectancy: Dead By Dawn), Jason Mewes
    (Life Expectancy: Already Surpassed Expectations), and veteran Clu Gulager,
    the director's dad, who tends bar (Life Expectancy: Horrifying Death in 70 Minutes). The unrated version, by the way, is about five seconds longer
    than the theatrical release--long enough to squeeze in that weapon's-grade conspiracy preface, perhaps? I wouldn't count on it.

    David N. Butterworth

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