2006, Movie, R, 80 mins


Formulaic, smart-alecky and chaotic, this bloody, stripped-down horror picture is by far the most commercial film to emerge from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Project Greenlight reality series; it follows the terminally cute STOLEN SUMMER (2002) and the coming-of-age drama BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS (2004). In the middle of the night in the middle-of-nowhere Beer Trap bar, a disparate cast of nameless stereotypes is snarkily introduced with on-screen assessments of their attributes, occupations and the likelihood that they'll survive until the closing credits. They include pool hustler Bozo (Balthazar Getty) and his wheelchair-bound brother, Hot Wheels (Josh Zuckerman); sexy waitresses Honey Pie (Jenny Wade) and Tuffy (Krista Allen) — the aspiring actress and the single mom, respectively — fat, greasy Boss Man (Duane Whitaker); no-bull Bartender (Clu Gulager); fat, stupid Beer Guy (Judah Friedlander); smug motivational speaker Coach (Henry Rollins); pickled barfly Grandma (Eileen Ryan); token black man Vet (Treach); tough-as-leather Harley Mama (Diane Goldner) and annoying Edgy Cat (Jason Mewes). Outside, a high-speed, POV tracking shot prefigures the arrival of Hero (Eric Dane), who comes crashing through the door armed with a shotgun, a dripping monster head and a warning: More creatures are on their way, and everyone is going to die unless they barricade themselves inside. Before they can react, something reaches in through a window and rips his head off, paving the way for Heroine (Navi Rawat) to stagger in and explain the backstory: She and her husband were driving along a dark road when they hit something. The "something" was the hideous creature whose head Hero was carrying, and whose flesh-eating ilk were now after them. At this point, roughly 20 minutes in, FEAST is almost out of story, so it's time to cue the screaming and running in circles that occupy the rest of the running time. A small creature bursts in and wreaks havoc before being trapped in a metal cooler under the bar, the dazed survivors bicker among themselves, and Heroine steps up and tells them what they have to do to survive: Barricade, arm themselves and, in whatever time that buys them, figure out a way to outsmart the monsters they can neither outrun nor outfight. Repetitive and edited in a stuttering, lightning-fast style that makes it impossible to see who or what is doing what to what or whom, John Gulager's directing debut is horror at its most reductive and least resonant. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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