Thursday, October 18, 2007

reVIEW (28)

Three reasons for this look back at John Gulager’s Feast.
One: There’s a pair of direct-to-DVD sequels on the way.
Feast was written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who also wrote the screenplay for Saw IV, which is just about to open.
Three: This is the sort of fracking wild trip that’s always worth another look.

The end result of Project Greenlight’s third season, Feast is a monster mash that’s both bloody and funny, that defies expectations and pulls no punches. Out in the middle of nowhere, in The Bear Tavern (“Home of the Grill Kill Museum”), a bunch of strangers are about to face the meanest, smartest, and horniest beasties this side of Alien’s xenomorph and Species' Sil.
Setting the mood from the get-go, with instant (though perhaps unreliable) Monster Movie Victim Stats popping up on-screen as each character is introduced—“Name: Hot Wheels; Occupation: Selling Fireworks to 7th Graders; Life Expectancy: They Wouldn’t Kill a Cripple, Would They?”—Feast quickly establishes the smart-a$$ attitude that will carry us through a 95-minute ride of madcap mayhem that deftly delivers the thrills, scares, and laughs in a smart, sharp, and wickedly humourous package.

What’s pleasantly surprising about Feast is that this is not only a monster movie with a decidedly freaky-a$$ monster (courtesy of Gary J. Tunnicliffe, who’s done effects for Pulse and its sequel, as well as a couple of Heroes episodes), it’s also a film that’s well-shot (by Thomas L. Callaway), well-edited (by Pulse editor Kirk Morri), and well-acted (with people like Alias/Brothers & Sisters’ Balthazar Getty and Numb3rs/The O.C.’s Navi Rawat in the ensemble).
It’s also got buckets of blood and gore and torn appendages (human and otherwise) zinging about on-screen.
And have I mentioned? It’s really funny too.

In Feast, Gulager, Melton, and Dunstan take some post-modern swipes at the conventions of the monster movie, primary among them, not even giving their main characters proper names (Getty and Rawat play “Bozo” and “Heroine” respectively), acknowledging what we in the audience already know: most, perhaps even all, of these people are dead meat walking. Why bother with names when they’re just going to end up a bloody mess of body parts on the tavern floor?
But even with that approach, Gulager and company actually give us individuals with personalities, which makes the fact that there’s actually some good acting here, a massive plus. There’re some great moments in Feast from Baywatch/What About Brian’s Krista Allen (“Tuffy”) and 30 Rock’s Judah Friedlander (“Beer Guy”). And it’s a kick and a half to see Henry Rollins (as motivational speaker “Coach”) and Jason Mewes (as himself, though he is credited as the “Edgy Cat”) among the Bear Tavern’s patrons.

Of course, given that this is a monster movie, what some horror geeks could argue is Feast’s crowning glory, is the creature itself. Believe you me, this one’s a corker. You’re lucky if all it does to you is eat you.
So if you haven’t partaken of Feast, then do yourself a great big favour and watch it, before the sequels come barreling our way. And if you’ve already seen it, I’m sure you won’t deny that watching it again sounds like a plan.
Watch it back-to-back with Planet Terror. Now that’s a double-header.

“This is just some leaky barrel radiation toxic dump waste enviro-crap freak-beast accident that crawled out of the sewer, man. That’s all this is. We’re gonna be all right.”
-- Beer Guy, before something awful happens to him

Parting shot: Though I loved the first Saw, I’ve been less than thrilled by the sequels. If Melton and Dunstan can bring to Saw IV the scares and the smarts that are readily apparent in Feast’s script, then there’s hope for Jigsaw yet.
Melton and Dunstan are also involved in the upcoming thriller The Midnight Man, Dunstan’s directorial debut.

Parting shot 2: Some quick bits on some of Feast’s ensemble:
Veteran actor Clu Gulager (who plays “Bartender”) is director John Gulager’s father, and Diane Goldner (“Harley Mama”) is John Gulager’s wife. Go nepotism!
The life of the party, Judah Friedlander is appearing in the upcoming Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, directed by Ti West.
Jason Mewes and Balthazar Getty also worked together on David Arquette’s The Tripper. (Review in Archive.)

Parting shot 3: As naughty and nasty as Feast is, the sequels promise to assault sensibilities even further. The first sequel’s title says it all: Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds.
On talking about the sequels, Dunstan says: "Neo Art & Logic is producing again, and if they let us get away with the vulgarities we've currently scripted, and if we don’t get deported, we just may have the NC-17-rated monsterfest that was only hinted at in the first film."

(Feast OS courtesy of; image courtesy of; behind the scenes images from Project Greenlight courtesy of

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