Feast Movie Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Movie distributed by The Weinstein Company
In 2000, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon joined forces with Chris Moore (producer of American Pie) and Miramax to create a contest called “Project Greenlight.” The idea was to find the best screenplay out there — and the winner would get $1 million to shoot his script. The first movie, Stolen Summer, bombed.
Two years later, “Greenlight” was back, but some changes were made to the contest. Instead of picking just a writer, a director and writer were chosen. The Battle of Shaker Heights was the winner of the contest, but another loser at the box office.
Four years after the first contest, in 2004, “Greenlight” was given one more chance, one more movie, to pull a profit — if the movie fails, so does “Greenlight.”
Feast is the final movie.
Like the previous contests, “Project Greenlight” was a weekly reality show airing on Bravo (the first season aired on HBO).
When I first heard “Project Greenlight” was doing a horror movie, I was excited. I’m a fan of low-budget horror (obviously), and to see the process from start to finish always fascinates me. And to add to the kitty, Wes Craven was on board as a producer. Hells yes.
But, as I watched the show, two things told me to expect nothing from Feast. The first was that the first-time director, John Gulager, was a firm believer in nepotism. He was fighting to have every person he knew, including his father and his girlfriend, in the movie. I’m a firm believer in the opposite. Nepotism, nine times out of 10, hurts a movie. Stick with trained actors and leave the friends and family to Cingular.
The second thing that bugged me — and I mean really bugged me — was a scene in which The Powers That Be were picking the script winner, written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, and Matt Damon was yelling in disbelief. To paraphrase: “The master of fucking horror is telling you the script is shit. The guy who created Freddy Krueger says it’s no good. And you insist on picking it.” The Powers That Be, being the powers that be, went with the script anyway. For me, it was typical Hollywood thinking.
So I eventually stopped watching the show. I just got frustrated with the process. It was going to be no surprise to me if Feast failed. And, if I remembered, I’d catch it on cable. I certainly didn’t expect the movie I saw last week.
Boss Man (Duane Whitaker – The Devil's Rejects) and Coach (Henry Rollins – Bad Boys II).
Having good expectations going in — I had been hearing whispers that Feast was not a bad flick — I was pleased to find I was sucked right into the movie. And, surprisingly, it was the script that hooked me.
The story of Feast is simple. A group of people is stuck in a bar in the middle of nowhere. Outside the bar, there are monsters doing everything they can to get to said people. Think Demon Knight meets From Dusk Till Dawn.
The dialogue is good. Intentionally laugh-out-loud funny at times, Feast doesn’t take itself seriously, and it’s good old-fashioned blood-and-guts monster movie fun. It certainly helps that Feast has a terrific cast to deliver these lines.
“Black Flag” founder and talk show host Henry Rollins is one of the go-to guys. Usually relegated to the silent thug role in films such as Heat, Rollins plays a more comedic role in Feast. Starring as Coach, a Tony Robbins wannabe, he is given the chance to show his comedic persona, and succeeds in making the audience laugh at any given opportunity.
And while Rollins was the standout, every player in the film did an admirable job. It seems each character had a “stand out” moment in the movie, and I was very pleased with all of the performances. But, hey, a big-budget low-budget movie shouldn’t have anything less.
But there is a major problem with the movie that nearly kills it — the editing.
Every fight with the monsters, and I mean every single fight, is cut fast and flashy. You not only have no idea what’s going on, you also never clearly see the monsters. I don’t know. In a monster movie, seeing the monsters would seem important.
To make matters worse, you don’t learn anything about the monsters. Not what they are, where the came from, how they came to be. There’s a half-assed explanation on why they are attacking the people in the bar, but that’s just a throwaway.
Also, because of what I would imagine are cuts, there are a few scenes that are never followed up on. The thing that’s crawling in Beer Guy’s skin? Forget about that, it never happened. The part where the monsters ate their own dead, fornicated, then shat two more living? Move along, there’s nothing to see here.
Honey Pie (Jenny Wade – Red Eye) gets some attention between shots.
A lesser script would have been eaten alive by the piss-poor (at times) editing of this film, but there are so many funny lines and scenes, it manages to still remain standing and be a very fun flick. I just wish everything had come together like the script did, because it would have made for a stellar film.
I have to wonder why The Weinstein Company (the distribution company behind Feast) decided to go straight to DVD with this flick, as opposed to a wider theatrical release. The movie does have weaknesses, but I can easily see it pulling in $5 million to $7 million on a Halloween release. The budget was $2 million or $3 million, depending on whom you ask, and I would think a couple million dollars would be nice profit, especially considering “Greenlight’s” previous attempts.
Feast is definitely worth a rental when it streets. I know I’m going to buy it the day it comes out. Rollins’ performance alone makes it worth the money for me.
It was a tough call grading this due to its flaws. But the more I think about the movie, the more I realize I’m actually looking forward to checking it out again.