Now available on DVD
James LeGros as Peter Gray
Joshua Leonard as JT Franks
Amy Seimetz as Katherine Franks
Larry Fessenden as William Coley
Directed by: Joe Maggio
I guess the gamut of horror movies is now complete. We have finally the first foodie horror film on record with Bitter Feast.
Now, before you get preconceived notions about having to watch some dude cook for a long ass time and talk about the seasoning of a particular meat or how a particular wine interacts with the meal, this is indeed a horror film. OK, it does include all of the seasoning and wine aspects as well but it is mixed in with some brutality and plenty of blood being splattered about.
I would dare to say that Bitter Feast is a unique horror film. Where else can you see a poor restaurant reviewer get tortured and abused while at the same time learn some fairly handy tips on how to make eggs or a well-cooked steak?
It is an interesting dynamic to be sure but one that really works well.
The storyline follows a well-known chef , Peter Gray (James LeGros), whose cable cooking show just got the ax from the big wigs because it was too pompous and dry. But it goes from bad to worse for Gray when he loses his gig as executive chef at a snooty restaurant after getting lambasted by a notorious online reviewer, JT Franks (Joshua Leonard).
Now we learn that Gray probably wasn’t the most stable person to begin through flashbacks involving his abusive older brother who he ultimately killed after a prank went too far. But all this career business taking a turn south sends him over the edge.
He kidnaps Franks and takes him to his isolated house in the country where he proceeds to give him lessons on how to cook. If Franks can cook correctly, as his reviews often state, he can eat. If he can’t, he gets punished. And, oh, does he get punished.
LeGros is excellent in the role as a deranged chef whose motivation is to get revenge on being shamed in the public eye but also to prove that his nemesis, Franks, is nothing but a fraud and knows absolutely nothing about food or cooking. Something he does in spades by making him choose between a dish cooked with poisonous berries and those cooked with friendly, healthy ones. And when Gray makes him cook a steak to perfection on the grill, he almost toys with Franks as he knows it won’t be up to the quality he enjoys writing about.
Bitter Feast does a nice job of exposing the Internet mentality that all is fair under at least some shroud of anonymity as well as undercutting how much employers and the public take reviews of restaurants, or theater, or movies to be a gospel â no matter if the truth is something entirely different.
While the ending is quite ironic given what we see from Gray’s past, it delivers in giving us at least a semblance of revenge for Gray and punishing Franks what is clearly a most bogus career in reviewing restaurants he has no experience in reviewing.
Food and torture? Sounds like a nice Friday night to me.