Feast: Unrated (DVD)
Directed by John Gulager
Released by Dimension Home Entertainment
Before I go into what a kickass movie Feast is, I just want to say that Dimension has really, really dropped the ball on this one. On their hands they have a potential money-making machine for the Halloween season, but all they decided to do with it was release it in 100 cities across the country for only two days, and then throw it on DVD with little to no promotion of any sort. If they put their money behind this and marketed it the way Lionsgate does with their genre movies, they could be making cash hand over fist for the month of October.
Why? Because, as stated previously, Feast kicks ass.
I’m sure you know the story by now, but what’s one more reiteration in the grand scheme of things? In a lonely bar in the middle of nowhere, a group of characters find themselves trapped when a pack of bloodthirsty monsters descend on them, their only desire to eat and reproduce. How’s that for a log line?
The plot is simple, which is part of what makes Feast so much damn fun. Screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have a strong love affair with our genre and managed to put together a movie full of enough twists of genre conventions to make it seem fresh and new, despite the inherent simplicity of the plot, and doesn’t treat its audience like a bunch of morons. They don’t stoop so low as to make fun of the genre or fill the movie with self-referential bullshit, choosing instead to respect the audience and give fans what we want in a monster movie, blood and monsters, and lots of both.
Credit can certainly not go to the writers alone, either. Director John Gulager (who, like Dunstan and Melton, got the gig through the final "Project Greenlight" competition) knows what he’s doing behind the camera despite this being his first feature film. His kinetic camera work and eye for interesting angles fill Feast with some fantastic visuals throughout. The only serious issue I had with the movie on any level was the action scenes; I’m not sure if it was budget constraints or an actual visual decision, but almost any time there’s a lot of action on-screen, it’s all filmed with extreme close-ups and shaky camera moves, making in nearly impossible to discern what’s actually going on. It hurt a bit to see it like that on the big screen, not so much on the DVD, but it was still an annoyance that was hard to get past. I’m not sure about you, but if there are monsters attacking people, I want to see it as clearly as possible, damnit.
That annoying issue aside, there’s really nothing else about Feast to criticize; the acting is great, the characters are well-drawn (none of them are given names or annoying, pointless backstories save for when it’s necessary), there’s a great balance of comedy and balls-out horror, and the blood is plentiful.
Ah, the blood ... let’s talk about that for a second, shall we? I watched all of season three of "Project Greenlight"; it’s the only television show I can recall that I never missed an episode of, and never once did I get the impression that Gulager was a gorehound. That just goes to show how deceiving "reality" programming can be because there’s more blood and nasty body horror in this movie than any horror film I can recall in the past few years. According to the effects featurette on the disc, that was all the doing of Gulager, and you’ll be thankful for it.
The creatures were created by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, whose work you’re probably familiar with from the more recent Hellraiser films as well as many, many others, and they look badass when they’re finally revealed. For most of the film they’re covered in animal pelts, which it’s assumed is some sort of camouflage, but their real look is muscular and toothy, and I hope to God someone snatches up the toy license for it soon. It’s so refreshing to see monsters that are created with 100% practical effects as opposed to relying on CG, which is another credit that should go to Gulager.
Okay, so what has Dimension thrown on the DVD for us? I wouldn’t call the disc feature-packed, but it’s definitely a solid release and the only evidence that the studio took any time with Feast at all.
First up is a commentary track with the director, the writers, two of the producers, and Tunnicliffe. Recently I’ve been complaining about how dull commentaries are when it’s one guy talking about the movie; this commentary is exactly the opposite. There are way too many people in the room talking at once, so what we end up with is basically a conversation between a bunch of friends filled with lots of inside jokes and very little info about the movie itself. This is one of those rare occasions that I would’ve been happy with two or even three commentary tracks, as I’m sure each group (the writers/director, effects, and producers) have cool stories to tell about making the movie, but when they’re all doing it at once, it’s just downright annoying.
That’s all right, though, cause you still have two cool featurettes: "Horror Under the Spotlight: The Making of Feast" and "The Blood and Guts of Gary Tunnicliffe", both clocking it at about 10 minutes each. The first is a very, very condensed look at how the film came together with a lot of focus on the "Project Greenlight" aspect, and the second (obviously) goes deep into the splatter that makes Feast so memorable and the sick mind who came up with it all. Both are very cool and worth your time, though I would’ve loved to have seen at least a little from the "PG" TV show, as well.
Also included are some pretty damn funny outtakes (and outtakes should always be funny) and a few deleted scenes, most of which would have only slowed down the fast pace of the movie had they remained in. One of said scenes is a very lame alternate ending, which I can’t thank them enough for excluding. The only other feature on the disc is a 30-second commercial for the Feast soundtrack, which is just loud music set to clips from the movie.
So is it worth your hard-earned time and money, cause really that’s what these DVD reviews are all about? Hell yes it is. And then some. Buy one for yourself, buy one for your friends, buy one for your mom. Get your ass out there on October 17th and get Feast on DVD if you’re looking for a blood-splattered, gore soaked, ass-kicking good time cause this bitch has got it all in spades.
Commentary by the filmmakers
"Horror Under the Spotlight: Making Feast" featurette
"The Blood and Guts of Gary Tunnicliffe" featurette
4 1/2 out of 5
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