Theatrical Review: Matt Damon
and Ben Affleck
's Project Greenlight, a reality program designed to give first-time film makers an unprecedented shot at their dream, won a few battles but ultimately lost its war.
Over the course of three seasons, Greenlight made mountains out of molehill-sized production problems for the benefit of its drama-craving audience. The program also took joy in vilifying bullish producer Chris Moore, a headstrong professional whose chief crime was trying to keep unfocused amateur film makers on track. Not surprisingly, the weekly episodes ended up being more entertaining than the theatrically released films. Article continues below
Feast is the third Project Greenlight film with U.S. ties (Damon and Affleck revamped the franchise and shifted it to Australia for a fourth season, which currently is in production), and is the best of the lot to date. It's a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, even though your team is down by 10. Feast isn't going to win the game for Greenlight, but it reminds us that the concept was capable of generating some fun.
Directed by newcomer John Gulager
, this riotously filthy horror film owes a debt of gratitude to the Alien and Evil Dead flicks, as well as Robert Rodriguez
's Mexican gore fest From Dusk Till Dawn; swap the vampires from that movie for aliens in this one, and you pretty much know how the story goes. If Feast is your first stab at creature features, then here's the idea: Strangers holed up in a dilapidated saloon must band together to fend off the four barbaric monsters that are fighting to get in.
Gulager shows a tremendous understanding of the genre right off the bat. He uses humorous title cards to introduce stock characters like Beer Guy (Judah Friedlander
), Grandma (Eileen Ryan
), Hero (Eric Dane
), and the wheelchair-bound Hot Wheels (Josh Zuckerman
). Each person receives a "Life Expectancy" rating, though there's no guarantee Gulager will stick to what's promised.
With little plot to advance, screenwriters Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton focus their energies into exploiting conventional horror clichés. The two write sarcastic lines that Evil Dead hero Bruce Campbell would gladly read, and they pour on a defiant attitude every time the story must fall back on a predictable twist. They even manage a handful of surprises that give Feast a few shocks when we had settled in for expected cheap jolts.
Gulager, meanwhile, blows his budget on severed prosthetic limbs, gallons of fake blood, and buckets of acidic alien spit. He just needs to figure out how to hold his camera still. The lens shakes so violently during alien attack scenes that I feared creatures were gnawing on Gulager's director of photography, as well. Feast has flaws, but not nearly as many as you'd expect from a first-timer. It helps that the humorous horror picture is disgustingly fun.