2005Director: John Gulager
Cast: Navi Rawat, Josh Zuckerman, Jenny Wade
n 2005, if you happened upon an episode of the most recent installment of Project: Greenlight—the reality show brainchild of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon—then you should be more than familiar with the trials and tribulations endured in order to bring screenwriters Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton, and director John Gulager’s debut feature, Feast, to the screen. Unfortunately, you probably still don’t care. If there’s one thing that the third season of Project: Greenlight (along with its previous two installments) has proven, it’s that the process of making a bad film frequently tends to be leaps and bounds more interesting than actually sitting through the finished product. The show’s decision to shift from shilling pretentious indies to banging out a standard genre romp (in this case, horror) was a good one. The problem occurs when they pick a script so schizophrenic and self-satisfying that all the shaky cam shots and gritty photography can’t help to make it enjoyable or scary.
The basic plot of Feast is one that we’ve all seen hundred times prior: A particular group of people are all trapped in a particular place, while a particular creature—or creatures plural, in this case—wants to get in, providing them with a most gruesome demise. This isn’t a problem in and of itself. I mean, what’s a genre exercise without the genre? The film, of course, knows this. So, in turn, we get little winks here and there, slight stabs at comedy, occasional pokes at the audience and jabs at itself—none of which are surprising or particularly engaging.
Gulager and co. are clearly attempting to create an Evil Dead atmosphere, which is fine. Feast, however, borrows far too heavily from horror films that ultimately miss the point, and, in effect, misses the point itself. The film’s tonal shifts are admirable but sloppy. It fails to sustain any lingering mood that might lead an on-looker to actually care about what’s going on, aside from the jumpy, trailer-like edit job that remains unrelenting throughout.
The characters don’t have names—they’re just handed the names of their archetypes. So, we have characters such as Hero, Heroine, etc., all coming and going in shocking ways that one wouldn’t expect in a film such as this, except, of course, that you completely expect it from the smarmy attitude the film establishes at the get-go. Feast knows why you’re watching the film and that character development has little to do with it. It has a strong sense of itself, which is communicated fairly easily. Yet even with such confidence, it fails to deliver.
To speak of the production is to, once again, return to Project: Greenlight. Can you really discuss such things without recalling the budgetary disasters ripe throughout the filming? Say all you want about the degree of reality in Reality TV. In this case, we truly saw the grim honesty of the situation. Now, would one notice it without having seen the show? I think the answer is yes. The underdeveloped creatures matched with Feast’s pitiful attempts at standard gore, which offer little to no pay-off or preparation, stand out as the black eyes on an already bruised face. This is a poorly acted, poorly put-together, poor execution of an…okay idea. Just go rent Slither already.
Feast is now available on DVD.
By: Daniel Rivera
Published on: 2006-10-20