Bitter Feast (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring James LeGros, Joshua Leonard, Larry Fessenden, Amy Seimetz, Mario Batali
Directed by Joe Maggio
Distributed by Dark Sky Films
Horror has effectively infiltrated nearly every aspect of our world. There's just no place safe anymore ... Summer camps, rest stops, laundromats, you name it. Just when you think you've seen it all, here comes a horror flick whose setting is that of the culinary world of all places and what happens when a superstar chef loses everything because of a bad review.
James LeGros plays Chef Peter Gray. This guy has it all -- his own televised cooking show, his own restaurant, even his own signature set of cookware on its way. Everything is clearly coming up aces for the man and his brand until food critic/blogger J.T. Franks (Leonard) pounds out an especially nasty review that changes both the public's eye and their palette. This leaves poor Gray jobless, without a restaurant, and with his once can't miss marketing potential now drowning in the toilet. With nowhere to turn and no one to talk to, Gray takes matters into his own hands by exacting revenge the only way that he knows how ... by abducting Franks and subjecting him to the deadliest kinds of cooking lessons imaginable.
Now all this sounds pretty tame, right? Hell, there are parts of this flick where you can't help but laugh, but when director Joe Maggio decides to turn up the terror, Bitter Feast becomes an insanely intense descent into one person's absolute madness.
Both LeGros and Leonard are stellar in their roles, leaving you constantly changing your mind in terms of whom you are rooting for, and the supporting cast, consisting mainly of the always scene-stealing Larry Fessenden as a private eye on Gray's tail (who gets better every time we see him in front of the camera) and Amy Seimetz as Franks' wife, totally bring their A games to the table. Food Network fans will also be happy to see a winning cameo from Molto Mario Batali, who comes off surprisingly natural and in his element despite not being behind the counter whippin' up some delicacies.
A special nod needs to go out to Jeff Grace for an incredible score that keeps your nerves appropriately jangled and Brian Spears and the entire make-up department for delivering some really painful looking appliances. Kudos.
In terms of the DVD package, things are truly served up properly! The goodies kick off with an engaging, high energy commentary by writer-director Joe Maggio along with producers Larry Fessenden, Peter Phok, and Brent Kunkle and sound designer Graham Reznick that never gets too busy despite the large number of participants. Even though this track is a good enough listen, the absence of LeGros and Leonard only serves to remind you of how much better it could have been. From there we get a twenty-nine-minute making-of that's little more than what you have come to expect by now, a ten-minute interview with the director and Mario Batali, one good deleted scene, and a wisely cut alternate ending that ties everything up with a neat little bow. Tack on a photo gallery and a couple of trailers, and we are finished.
Bitter Feast is another in a long line of films from Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix, a company that has completely established itself as a leader in quality indie horror entertainment. Riddled with twists, turns, and more violence than you'd expect, this is one flick every horror fan should have on his or her menu.
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