Quick Recommendation: Feast (2005)

Feast is the horror movie to watch when you’re craving something bloody, over-the-top, and self-aware.

On the surface, there isn’t much to write home about: a group of people hole up in a restaurant to fend off a pack of bloodthirsty monsters. It reminded me in tone of Tremors, albeit without the developed characters or narrative drive. This film is simply people trying to defend themselves. So why would I recommend it?

Because it’s fun. My biggest gripe with modern horror movies isn’t the gore or blood, it’s the lack of humour. All the recent remakes I’ve seen (Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Prom Night, The Last House on the Left) have played it so straight, they pass entertaining and go straight to dour. Grim does not equate scary or enjoyable. I think many movies should be grim, when dealing with serious issues, like cancer and divorce. Not when dealing with a psychopathic family of cannibal hillbillies. Know your subject matter, people.

John Gulager, the director behind Feast, and the writers, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, know that all they’re making is a dumb horror movie with a shell of a story and some good gore. Because of this, they repeatedly make light of their scenario. For instance, when first introduced to each character, we receive a quick summary of who they are and how long we can expect them to be around. Ex:

Name: Bozo

Job: Not Likely

Occupation: Town Jackass

Life Expectancy: Dead by Dawn

Note the nod to the blood-soaked horror-comedy classic? These are filmmakers who know their genre, love their genre, and more than anything, love to mess with the conventions of their genre. There are two scenes early on that went against EVERYTHING horror movies have taught us for the last 70 years; both had me gasping in shock, following by laughter of delight (I love nothing more than being genuinely surprised by a film). They know the recipe, show it to you, and then toss it in the trash and cook from the gut.

I have some gripes. I’ve never been a fan of the low-brow humour, and there’s plenty to be found in Feast. At one point, they sever one of the creature’s penises, prompting a character to spout, “monster cock!” Eyeroll. Cheap and easy. And yes, these monsters like to hump. Cheap and easy. But that kind of humour didn’t repeat enough to wreck the flick for me, or it was overshadowed by the twists on convention.

Is it a great movie? No. Will it stimulate the intellect? Not likely. But will it entertain and amuse for 90 minutes? If you’re any bit the horror fan I am, you bet it will.

 

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~ by K. Harker on September 22, 2011.

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