|release date||September 5 2006|
|starring||Kara Maria Amedon,Sam Blankenship, Barry Ellenberger|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
Film students really should spend less time studying CITIZEN KANE and PSYCHO and more time perusing the new release shelves of their local video store for the latest direct-to-video horror epics. While examining the works of legendary filmmakers like Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock can help one understand how cinematic masterpieces are created, the blood-soaked, no-budget wonders that line the walls of Blockbuster and Hollywood Video across the United States offer a far more important lesson to the aspiring auteur – how not to make a movie. One fine example of the motion picture at its worst and most ineffective is Paul Moore’s 2006 stinker, THE FEEDING.
THE FEEDING tells the tale of a werewolf that has ruined the hunting season in the Appalachian Mountains with its insatiable appetite for fresh deer meat. A cynical ranger and a green recruit are sent out to find whatever is killing off all the wild game, while a group of fun-loving teenagers unknowingly enjoy a camping trip right on the beast’s preferred hunting grounds. Predictably, carnage ensues as the rangers try to lead these youthful city slickers to safety before they all become wolf chow.
Moore (DARK HARVEST) can be applauded for his attempt to make an old-fashioned monster movie in this era of sadistic psychos and slick, CG ghost stories, but his execution of the material is utterly inept. His script is a meandering mess, a leaden-paced string of tiresome slasher film clichés and painfully inane dialogue. The characters here are all as thin as the paper they were created on, and they are given almost nothing to do except walk in the woods, smoke dope, and engage in the sort of circular arguments which horror film writers often mistake for drama and characterization. In one arduous verbal exchange after another, these one-dimensional ciphers go around and around with each other without ever saying much of anything, and with no clear or logical reason for disagreeing in the first place. Moore apparently felt the pressure to stretch his tale to 90 minutes to assure a distribution deal, letting these scenes of pointless banter go on and on and on without reprieve, and even interrupting the action several times in the third act for more frustrating bickering. The sophomore director also appears to believe that excessive profanity equals funny dialogue, as his characters swear at every opportunity for no apparent reason.
The no-name cast is roundly awful, though they deserve a little slack for being saddled with Moore’s terrible screenplay. Even an awkward skinny dipping scene with vaguely lesbian overtones can’t liven up the dreary proceedings, four very plain-looking starlets trading more clunky dialogue as they wade around uncomfortably in murky river water. The director presumably thought that introducing a hint of girl-on-girl action (including a “spin the bottle” kissing scene) might lend his pet project a bit of exploitation credibility. Instead, these elements feel forced and unlikely, and generate no erotic heat whatsoever. A subplot about two of the men and their romantic ties to the same girl is as close as the film gets to “depth”, but it is really just an excuse for more tedious verbal jousting. When a cheapie teen horror flick can’t even get its obligatory sexual content right, you know you’re in trouble.
The werewolf is a rather laughable creation with an oversized head and a nearly immovable lower jaw. Though Barry Ellenberger delivers the film’s best performance as the snarling, feral creature, and Moore uses a lot of low angle shots to make his monster look big and menacing, the shaggy suit and plastic cranium are just a bit too goofy to inspire terror in all but the youngest of viewers. The beast looks like a prop in a Halloween haunted house, or an actor in costume at a rundown HOWLING theme park attraction. Considering the dreadful acting and hackneyed script (in which the characters take nearly an hour after first seeing the monster to realize that it’s a werewolf!), this fairy tale-style Wolfman is the movie’s most sympathetic figure, but he’s neither scary nor visually impressive enough to save this dismal production.
Lions Gate released THE FEEDING to DVD on September 5, 2006. The print looks fine, but the disc’s only extras are a glut of trailers for other releases which are not even listed by title or available for individual selection on the menu screens. A Director’s commentary track or “Making of…” featurette might have made the film more entertaining for the bad movie enthusiast. Sadly, no such materials are offered.
THE FEEDING is an agonizingly dull, incompetent affair that continues the American film industry’s recent trend of neutering the once terrifying werewolf. From Wes Craven’s ludicrous CURSED to Fred Olen Ray’s slimy, softcore Paul Naschy update TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF, the lycanthrope has become even more of a celluloid joke than his blood-sucking brother, the vampire. Though I cannot recommend THE FEEDING to anyone else, those young filmmakers who were inspired by THE WOLFMAN, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, or THE HOWLING to take up their cameras and shoot should probably check it (and the two other lupine losers named above) out. Once they’ve seen how not to make a werewolf movie, hopefully they’ll put some time and effort into giving one of the horror genre’s most enduring legends some of its bite back.