Project Greenlight‘s third, final, and finest season turns out to have also produced its best film, though such an accomplishment is mitigated by the fact that the reality series’s other two finished features were wholesale indie dreck, and that John Gulager’s gleefully gory horror movie is still a far cry from inspired. Feebly assuming The Evil Dead‘s tongue-in-cheek tone and Night of the Living Dead‘s narrative setup of petrified humans barricading themselves from encroaching inhuman fiends, Gulager’s debut reveals its self-reflexively whimsical attitude from the get-go, introducing each character with cheeky freeze-frame portraits replete with vital info (Name, Occupation, Life Expectancy) that the director quickly dispels as unreliable. From there, it’s a combination of cacophonous crashing noises and gooey geysers of blood, as a group of strangers’ evening at a middle-of-nowhere bar is first interrupted by Hero (Eric Dane), who warns them that a mob of hungry monsters are about to arrive, and then spent valiantly fighting for their lives. Gulager shoots most of his action in muddy darkness, though more frustrating is his camerawork’s frequent devolution into whiplash blurriness, a stylistic choice likely intended to mask his low-budget sets and creature effects, but one that nonetheless often deprives the action of visual coherence. Writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton’s script barely generates any chuckles from its strained one-liners but it does, from time to time, unexpectedly upend standard genre expectations. Their dedication to keeping things fun, fast, and superficial, however, means that even when Gulager stumbles upon a tantalizingly charged image—such as grieving mother Tuffy’s (Krista Allen) climactic slaughter, which seems like a response to the degrading sexual treatment she received at story’s outset—the film is unequipped to properly contend with it. Weinstein favorite Jason Mewes, Naughty by Nature’s Treach, and Henry Rollins—as a lamely conceived motivational speaker prone to spewing self-help platitudes—appear to help bolster the cast’s dim star wattage. But though their presence contributes to the deliberately schlocky atmosphere, the fact remains that, rather than catching Feast during its limited midnight-movie theatrical release, one can enjoy comparable B-movie goofiness via any Saturday-night Sci-Fi Channel offering.
- John Gulager
- Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton
- Navi Rawat, Krista Allen, Balthazar Getty, Judah Friedlander, Henry Rollins, Jenny Wade, Duane Whitaker, Josh Zuckerman, Eileen Ryan, Clu Gulager, Eric Dane, Anthony "Treach" Criss, Jason Mewes
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