Last January we posted the first ever review for Dimension Films’ Project Greenlight film Feast (review #1) before the show even aired- but since then the movie has put another $2 million into it and even reshot the entire end of the film! Today we’ve posted three new looks at the film, which screened at both Screamfest LA and the International Horror/Sci-Fi Film Fest 2005 in Phoenix (ISHFFF). Review #2 can be read here; Review #3 can be read here; and Review #4 can be read by reading on!
Evening 1- “Three… Extremes” (read)
Evening 2- “Masters of Horror” (read)
By: Michael Tank
Evening 3- “Feast”
Sunday night brought the festivities to a close with a screening of a work print of first time filmmaker John Gulager’s “Feast”, which many of you will remember was the featured production of the last season of Bravo’s “Project Greenlight” series. Gulager and his crew had the usual Reality-TV drama going on during production, with lots of squabbling between cast and crew about everything from casting to FX to money, to you name it. Gulager, who was present at the screening, along with co-screenwriter Marcus Dunston and co-star Diane Goldner (“Harley Mom” in the film), was quick to point out that (surprise) a lot more went right than wrong during production, but the bulk of that was edited out on the show to amp up the juicy stuff. (No, really?! You mean “Reality” TV is RIGGED?!)
As someone who didn’t see much of the show, none of that really mattered to me, and I was just hoping for a good, bloody time. I got it.
“Feast” tells a simple story of a group of strangers in a nowhere desert town trapped inside a hayseed bar, forced to barricade themselves inside and fend off repeated attacks from a gaggle of slimy, hungry, HORNY creatures. Think “Tremors” with bigger hicks and no Kevin Bacon.
The great B-movie critic Joe Bob Briggs once said that the golden rule for any drive-in flick to truly be great was that “Anybody can die, at any time!”, and by that high standard, “Feast” does indeed succeed admirably. It wastes no time getting to the gooey goods, even bypassing normal character setup and exposition by using riotously funny and clever title cards as short-hand to introduce all the players, quickly giving the principals’ names, occupations, and life-expectancies for the duration of the film. This was a great little device, one that drew a lot of laughs and cheers from the packed fest audience I saw it with, especially when Jason Mewes (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob) appears as himself and his LE is stated as “already lived past expectancy”.
The rest of the game cast (and one of them, after having his eye chewed out, DOES get gamey) includes Balthazar Getty, Krista Allen, Duane Whitaker, the great veteran Clu “It’s not a bad question, Bert!” Gulager (“Return Of The Living Dead”, and who happens to be the father of director John), Judah Friedlander, who stole the show as Toby in “American Splendor”, and does the same here as the non-stop-complaining Beer Guy, and Henry Rollins, who plays a professional motivational speaker hilariously prone to giving unwarranted pep talks when things are at their most dire, much to the annoyance of everyone around him, and who later literally loses his pants in a struggle with one of the monsters.
These things come at them non-stop, and one of the sly jokes of the script, and the performances, is that no one character is really all that likable, and the ones you most expect to get it together and pull through die the most horrible deaths.
You couldn’t ask for a gorier, slimier time, with the entire bar painted red, green, and other putrid colors by the climax. One of the few complaints I had was that the film was so dark in a lot of shots, and the editing at times so rapid, that you never got a good look at the goings-on during some of the action. Some of the characters were dispatched with so quickly, it took me a few minutes to realize they were gone. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to describe exactly WHAT the creatures themselves look like, as a lot if it was mostly a frenzied blur. In the glimpses I got, they looked to me like a cross between Pumpkinhead and those costumes William Hurt and his buddies were running around in in “The Village”. But Gulager explained later (as I mentioned before), that this wasn’t the final print, and that there are a lot of “beautiful shots” in the film that we’ll get a better look at once it’s ready for release. (I assume, and hope, that by “beautiful” he means, “slower” and “disgusting”).
Speaking of the film’s release, the Q&A afterwards addressed the fact that Dimension, which was retained as a Weinstein Bros. Company after the Disney divorce, currently has no definite release date set for “Feast”, much to the chagrin of Gulager, a feisty but likable filmmaker, who also expressed concern that the powers that be might do some editing to get the film to a, yep, you guessed it, PG-13! I, personally, don’t see how that would be possible without turning it into a five-minute movie about a few hicks with drinking problems who hear some noises outside. But, hopefully, Gulager said, we’ll be seeing the film in all its oozing R-rated glory sometime in February.
I hope so, because this was a fun little ride, with a lot of jaw-droppingly funny splatter moments, a great cast, and a clever, fast-paced script. It was a great choice, and a really terrific way, to bring the virgin year of this well-done festival to a close. Here’s hoping that next year is just as successful and entertaining!