Directed by John Gulager
Many of us have followed the exploits of director John Gulagar and screenwriters Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, winners of the third annual Project Greenlight contest, on Bravo’s acclaimed (and sadly ill-fated) documentary series of the same name. The show gave us a close look at “the horrors of making a movie” as cast and crew struggled with studio pressures, budget constraints, and numerous on-set problems (although no more than on your average film production). Despite the obvious passion of the filmmakers, the end product is being met head-on with a whirlwind of skepticism for two very big reasons:
1. The first two Project Greenlight films were utter failures.
2. This one was produced in-house at Dimension Films, a studio far from the good graces of horror fans.
So did Gulagar & Co. rise above the pressures and succeed where countless others have failed? Well, based on the version I witnessed, the answer is a resounding YES! Feast is a bloody hoot!
The setup couldn’t be simpler: Several bar patrons are forced to survive the night when the place is suddenly attacked by a family of vicious gargoyle-like predators. Things hit the ground running as we’re quickly introduced to the victim roster, and all hell breaks loose mere minutes into the film.
In other words: Humans here. Monsters there. FIGHT!
Yeah, From Dusk Till Dawn instantly springs to mind, and while Feast may not win any points for originality, the filmmakers deliver a solid 80 minutes worth of unpretentious splattery fun. As a director, John Gulagar comes through in spades and it’s obvious that he has a great future ahead of him. His style is gritty, energetic, and hyperactive to the bone. Most importantly, he’s extra careful never to show too much of his low-budget monsters, which is often the kiss of death for creature features.
The script by Melton and Dunstan is a total send-up of the cliches and stereotypes of the genre, and thankfully the two never resort to tired self-referential humor. Characters have names like Hero, Heroine, and Beer Guy and are cleverly introduced with their own statistics – including “life expectancy.” The dialogue is genuinely witty and anchored by solid performances from the entire cast (Henry Rollins’ bad motivational speaker was the crowd favorite). Best of all, even the most jaded horror fans won’t be able to predict when the monsters will strike and which characters will meet their bloody doom.
Speaking of blood, those sick of neutered PG-13 horror movies and CGI beasties finally have something to scream about. This is old school midnight movie madness, and the gore not only flows forth but does so in Peter Jackson quantities. Heads explode, limbs are torn, and faces are shredded as humans and monsters alike are mashed into ultra-thick gooey chunks. Now the burning question remains: How much of it will survive the dreaded ratings board, and will the studio have the good sense to give us an uncut version?
It should be noted that the version I saw wasn’t final and slightly rough around the edges. The opening and closing sections felt a bit abrupt, and there were a couple of disorienting moments during the action – but it’s nothing a few minor re-shoots couldn’t fix. I hope the powers at The Weinsten Co. do right by Feast because they definitely have a cult hit and a possible franchise on their hands.
Hey, how about a cross-over sequel where the monsters shred characters from the other Greenlight films? That’d be cool!
4 out of 5
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