Feeding, The (DVD)

The Feeding reviewStarring Robert Pralgo, Andrew Porter, Courtney Hogan, Dione Updike, Rod Shephard

Directed by Paul Moore

Distributed by Lionsgate

Some hunters are savagely mauled by something high in the Appalachian Mountains. What was it? A Federal Forest Ranger is sent in. The female animal expert says whatever did it was “lupine” in nature. A wolf with three-inch claws? The fed, who may know more than he’s initially letting on, says he believes it was just some crazy varmint like a deranged mountain cat. I’d pay good money to see a film called Deranged Mountain Cat. It’s off to the woods for these two as they go to hunt down the bestial culprit, unsure of what it is other than it being hungry and pissed. Hey, maybe it’s me?

Savage beast killing people in the woods? Dammit, get some teenagers out there STAT!

And here they come – a stereotypical group of horny, pot-smoking, Caucasian men and women balanced out by the inclusion of a lone, jive-talking black man. Names matter not since only one or two are predestined by God to survive to the end. The rest might as well just commit suicide now and get it over with.

Since the bulk of the first half of The Feeding consists of little more than characters walking about the woods (Alternate title: The Hiking) and engaged in idle chitchat (Alternate title: The Chatting), I think this review needs a musical interlude. Just read the following mock song lyrics to the tune of “Are you ready for the summer?” the theme song from the classic Bill Murray summer camp comedy Meatballs.

Are you ready for the slaughter
Are you ready for a dead time
Are you ready for the blood and guts
The cheap sluts
And a whole lotta dope smokin’
Are you ready to die screaming
Are you ready to get slashed to death
Are you ready to die tonight
Possibly from fright
Or maybe just get your throat ripped out
No more breathin’, No more pulse
No more reason to feel remorse
The end for us all, our last call
The woods are where our bodies will fall

Okay, that’s enough of that. Now back to the movie review. We’re forty-five minutes in and the plot still consists solely of teens hiking, sleeping, and fornicating while the male ranger macks on the female ranger between conversations about how peculiar the behavior of this creature they’re hunting appears to be. Little do they know the beast roaming the woods (Alternate title: The Roaming) is a 24/7 werewolf. At least it has to be a 24/7 werewolf because it’s even shown operating in daylight during one awkward scene. By the way, a full moon two nights in a row? Did Stephen Sommers write this movie?

It took seemingly forever but old big, hairy, and latex finally showed up to thin out the cast. ‘Bout damn time too!

The Feeding beast revealed!Most monster movies these days feature some funky camera filtering for the monster’s point-of-view shots. The makers of The Feeding have opted to use some slightly blurry, almost dreamlike filtering, not for POV shots, but for whenever the monster itself appears on camera. Was this their failed attempt to try and make the man-in-a-rubber werewolf suit look less like a rubbersuited monster or does this werewolf possess some sort of bizarre supernatural power that causes the immediate vicinity around it to take on a brownish night vision tint? Is this why pictures of Sasquatch always end up blurry; not because the photographers are bad with a camera but because Bigfoot itself has the power to make film go out of focus?

Don’t get me wrong. I dig the rubber-suited monsters. This particular werewolf costume is actually rather nifty in a retro Eighties post-Howling sort of way. However, there’s no denying that the costuming is quite obvious and this blurred discoloring technique they’re using to try and mask the costume’s fakery is more off-putting than successful at what it’s trying to do. Live by the rubbersuit; die by the rubbersuit – or don’t even bother.

The worst part is that the monster werewolf could just as easily have been Sasquatch or a grizzly bear or an unfrozen caveman or a six-foot ravenous chipmunk or even that deranged mountain cat discussed earlier and it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference on the proceedings.

It just dawned on me how little plot there actually is to this film. Hunters slain by some sort of animal, rangers venture out to capture or kill the beast, partying teens on a campout, kill time for over a half hour, and then the werewolf finally decides to stop with the howling and start with the killing. The survivors decide that they need to get the hell out of the woods. Run. Hide. Fight. Die. That’s it. The Feeding is a monster movie stripped down to the absolute bare minimum to the point that it makes your typical slasher flick look like an intricately plotted David Mamet screenplay. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the movie at least had some spark to it. I can appreciate a simplistic creature feature but you gotta make it more fun than this. The directing is monotonous, the actors sound bored, the kills are lackluster, and suspense is nowhere to be found. Everyone’s sleepwalking through this thing, including the monster.

Hold on, we just got an actual plot point. This creature has been moving across the country for three years, going from place to place depleting the food source until a scapegoat animal is killed and it can slip away with no one the wiser. But now that they’ve actually seen the creature it has to kill them to keep its existence a secret. I see. So it’s a nomadic, deep woods-dwelling lycanthrope that’s now taken to behaving like a mob boss in need of whacking the witnesses set to testify at its trial. Well, at least that’s something. Thank goodness it took a few hours off from trying to kill the remaining ones long enough for them to take refuge in a cabin and craft weapons to try and fight it.

The Feeding is an undercooked smorgasbord of monster/slasher in the woods clichés minus the fear or the fun. It does achieve a small degree of B-movie goofiness during the scattershot finale but by then it’s too little too late. After the werewolf is killed and transforms back into its human state, the following dialog exchange occurs between the last survivors.

“Who was he?”

“Does it matter?”

Actually, yes, it does matter. That the makers of The Feeding didn’t feel it was relevant pretty much encapsulates why their monster movie is such a great big dud.

And for the record, I don’t recall a single scene in which we actually saw the werewolf feeding on someone.

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1 1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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