Navi Rawat as Heroine
Krista Allen as Tuffy
Balthazar Getty as Bozo
Judah Friedlander as Beer Guy
Jenny Wade as Honey Pie
Duane Whitaker as Boss Man
Josh Zuckerman as Hot Wheels
Eileen Ryan as Grandma
Clu Gulager as Bartender
The Blood and Guts of Gary Tunnicliffe
Horror Under the Spotlight: Making Feast
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Audio
Running Time: 92 Minutes
A motley group of characters converge on a bar in the middle of the desert, not knowing that a family of alien creatures was heading in their direction, ready to kill and eat any living thing they find.
This version of “Feast” is not rated, but the theatrical version was rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, language, some sexuality and drug content.
If you watched the third and final season of “Project Greenlight” on Bravo, you got to see first time filmmaker John Gulagher, a quiet paunchy schlub, being given the keys to a $3 million horror vehicle produced by Wes Craven, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore. You also got to see him fight with the producers about casting and almost get replaced due to their lack of confidence in his ability to give direction.
It all ended well, as the resulting movie, “Feast”, was picked up for distribution by Dimension Films, but then it all went wrong, as “Feast” was thrown into limbo during negotiations surrounding the Weinsteins’ split from Disney. This weekend, select audiences will finally get a chance to see the final results of this talented new director’s efforts in theatres.
The premise is right out of the Horror Writers’ Handbook with a diverse group of characters, both likeable and loathsome, meeting at a bar in the middle of nowhere. If it sounds familiar, then you’re probably already a fan of the early horror work by Tarantino and Rodriguez, and obviously, the screenwriters–also contest winners–saw “From Dusk Til Dawn,” since there’s a similar tongue-in-cheek attitude from the get-go, as each of the characters is quickly introduced via flashy titles, and given a generic horror movie name, along with their odds of surviving the night. There’s the army vet, the single mother working at the bar to help her young son, a motivational speaker and even actor Jason Mewes as himself, apparently killing time in between Kevin Smith movies. Don’t get too friendly with any of them though, because three of the bar denizens will be dead as soon as Eric Dane AKA “Hero” shows up to warn them of the coming danger.
“Feast” just isn’t another typical horror movie, as much as it is a loving spoof of horror movies, one that knows full well how clichéd and predictable the genre is, which is probably why it goes out of its way to not be predictable. For instance, if you watched the introductions honestly thinking that it was going to spell out who will live or die, you’re likely to be surprised by some of the gory early deaths. Once you realize that this is not going to be your typical splatter flick–though there’s plenty of splatter to go around–you can sit back and enjoy the quotable one-liners and the interaction between this odd band of strangers forced to band together, in classic horror movie style, in order to survive.
At the center of the action are Balthazar Getty’s appropriately named “Bozo,” his wheelchair bound brother “Hot Wheels” and ultra-sexy Krista Allen as “Tuffy,” the single mother who lets the “Boss Man” have sex with her while her young son hides in the closet. But it’s Judah Friedlander’s “Beer Guy”, a disgusting behemoth of a man, who tends to steal the movie, as you watch him get put through all sorts of disgusting ordeals, making you wish that someone would be sympathetic enough to simply kill him. Friedlander plays up his situation for optimum laughs, but loses the battle for funniest caricature to Henry Rollins as a conservative motivational speaker. It’s eerie how this role simply involves him slowing down his normal delivery to become like what the real Rollins might be like, if he were forced into some sort of Republican reprogramming retreat.
As far as the women, Krista Allen tries her best to act sad and tough, but it’s only believable to an extent, while Jenny Wade, Navi Rawat, and Diane Goldner provide suitable T ‘n’ A as they kick butt and take names, or in Wade’s case, get bled on anytime someone is mauled by the creatures. (And that famous missed take from the show isn’t nearly as bad as they made it sound either.)
The creatures themselves don’t look so great, a product of the budget and having to do most of it in-camera, but the cheesiness also often adds to the entertainment factor. Gulager does a decent job with the material, using stylish lighting and camerawork to play against the B-movie esthetics, though sometimes, it’s hard to figure out what is going on due to the way things are shot.
True, a lot of “Feast” is exploitative and gratuitous in its use of expletives and gore, but you never feel as if the movie is to be taken seriously, even when the obligatory survivors try to drive off into the sunset. And because of that, the movie succeeds in a way that belies its origins.
While the Project Greenlight series is the ultimate ‘making of documentary, you’ll have to settle for the basics here. There are about 5 Deleted Scenes, none of which are very noteworthy. There is an alternate ending which shows the creatures being burned by sunlight, but otherwise the end of the movie is the same. The Outttakes are amusing, especially as everybody must be splashed with gore. Speaking of gore, the featurette “The Blood and Guts of Gary Tunnicliffe” shows the various low budget monster and splatter effects used in the film. “Horror Under the Spotlight: Making Feast” gives a little taste of the Project Greenlight series, but they comment on how difficult it is making the movie with the series camera crew around. Finally, there’s the Filmmakers’ Commentary rounding out the bonus features.
The Bottom Line:
If you’re a fan of horror movies and diligently watched the reality show from which this one spawned, then it’s your duty to show your support for John Gulager, a director who took what could have been an awful trite premise, and turned it into a genuinely fun and entertaining experience, sure to be quoted for years to come.