31 Screams in October, Vol. 2, #12: Feast (2005)

Posted: October 13, 2015 in Movie Review
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Feast (2005)

Director: John Gulager

Starring: Balthazar Getty, Navi Rawat, Henry Rollins, Judah Friedlander, Josh Zuckerman, Jason Mewes, Jenny Wade, Krista Allen, Clu Gulager

Going without a subscription to HBO (and other networks) has meant more than having to rely on others for my “Game of Thrones” fix. It has left me largely oblivious to the rest of that channel’s programming, as well. In 2005, Bravo presented one season of a documentary/contest series called “Project Greenlight.” Until quite recently, I had no clue that this was the show’s third year on television, the first two of its history having been spent on HBO, and having resurfaced there in 2015 after a long hiatus for Season 4. The purpose of the show is something I find very appealing, as rookie filmmakers are given their first crack at directing a feature-length film. The screenplay selected for Season 3 was the action-horror monster movie “Feast.”

A group comprised of just about every social stereotype you can think of are all gathered in the same bar for what looks to be an otherwise quiet night of drinking, flirting and gambling on billiards. Each character is introduced with text which 1) identifies them by nickname only, 2) lists their occupation and 3) their life expectancy. Each character profile is more comical than the last. It’s clear from the start that the screenwriters are intent on disrupting the comfort zone provided by horror conventions. Illustrating this point, the action begins with a man identified as “Hero” entering the bar, telling everyone to lock the place down and to prepare for something terrible closing in on their position, offering the head of one of the monsters as proof that he’s to be taken seriously. He then declares himself to be “the guy who’s gonna save your asses”… and is then promptly pulled through a window and decapitated.

Shortly after this surprising turn of events, the recently deceased’s widow, “Heroine” (Navi Rawat), shows up and assumes her late husband’s authoritative role. Although everyone works quickly to board up the place, the smallest of the monsters finds its way through and several of the patrons die before it is locked inside a freezer. During the carnage, a stray shotgun blast has destroyed the only working telephone, so alerting the authorities is out of the question. The barricade is finished, and a moment of peace is enjoyed. Suddenly, it occurs to “Tuffy” (Krista Allen) that her son is still upstairs where she’d left him. Frantically, she searches for and finds him, but her relief is short-lived. In the movie’s second unexpected moment, the boy is pulled from his mother’s arms and eaten, leaving “Tuffy” in indescribable anguish. Before disappearing again, the monster has apparently found something about the taste of the boy disagreeable, and vomits all over “Beer Guy” (Judah Friedlander), which later proves to have a revoltingly slow decomposition effect.

In retaliation for the boy’s death, the group kills the baby monster trapped in the freezer and offer up its corpse as a warning to its family not to mess with humans. Instead of retreating, the parents eat the child, have sex, and produce two brand new monsters all within a matter of minutes. The monsters all return to attacking the bar. Their plan having failed completely, the bar’s survivors try to devise a new strategy of escape. They try using one of the many dead bodies as bait to serve as a distraction so that someone can go out and start up an escape vehicle. This plan, too, is a complete failure. “Bozo” (Balthazar Getty), so named for being a would-be tough guy who is as clumsy as he is socially inept, accidentally kills “Heroine” as she tries to evade the monsters and re-enter the bar. Her death inspires “Tuffy” to ascend to the position of “Heroine 2” when all others seem to have given up hope. Meanwhile, the monsters use “Coach” as a battering ram. The only person to get through is “Honey Pie” (Jenny Wade). The rest of the group cheers her on as she manages to get into and start the beer truck, but are shocked as they watch her drive off without them. That’s pretty cold, but it’s also the smartest move that “Honey Pie” has made in the entire movie. Preparing for a last stand against the remaining monsters, “Beer Guy” and “Bartender” (Clu Gulager) are both killed (although the sequels will show that “Bartender” miraculously survives). As the sun rises, “Tuffy/Heroine 2,” “Bozo” and his wheelchair-bound brother “Hot Wheels” (Josh Zuckerman) emerge victorious and thankful to be alive.

Aptly named, “Feast” is a visual delight from beginning to end, presented to us by executive producers Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Wes Craven, and others. Uncertain as to the exactness of its inspirations, what I can gather from observation is that it shares some things in common with “Alien” and “From Dusk Till Dawn,” to name a few. Darkness is the theme here. Both minimal lighting and a keen sense of humor help you forget all about how cheap the production actually is. Filming the monsters in broad daylight in particular would have been a mistake, something the sequels forget to take into account. It’s smart to keep the origin of the monsters a mystery, also. We don’t need to know what they are, how old they are, or if they’re indigenous to Earth. The cast, working with a novice script, all create characters with distinct and lively personalities (at least until the moment when they are snuffed out). My favorite is Navi Rawat’s “Heroine,” a woman with a survival instinct that inspires the same in others. When she dies, it’s one of the sadder moments in the film because she has a daughter out there who will never see her mother again. Action-packed and reveling in its lunacy, “Feast” is the kind of horror movie you gather a group of your best friends together to sit back and enjoy.

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Comments
  1. Sylvia Williams says:

    Would I be wrong to assume that this one has a good deal of humor like, say, a Bruce Campbell film? I’m intrigued!!!

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