Feast

on September 22, 2006 by Annlee Ellingson
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Like “Stolen Summer” and “The Battle of Shaker Heights” before it, “Feast” is perhaps most interesting for those who watched its tumultuous production on “Project Greenlight” 18 months ago. In the reality TV series, nebbish John Gulager won over viewers as the middle-aged first-time director tangled with casting director Michelle Morris Gertz to secure screen time for his father, veteran character actor Clu Gulager, and wife, Diane Goldner; battled with cinematographer Thomas L. Callaway over spontaneous demands for complicated setups; and employed every tricky technique he's ever discovered while tinkering on what amounts to home movies for this, his one shot.

In a plot that embraces its simplicity, a motley crew of strangers finds itself trapped inside a desert tavern by a clan of flesh-eating creatures. Where they came from no one knows, and it doesn't really matter. It's a setup ripe for the horror-comedy balancing act that Gulager achieves here, countering intense action sequences with moments of melodrama punctuated by snort-inducing bouts of humor.

Stylish to the point of distraction, Gulager demonstrates a particular fondness for close-ups shot by a hovering camera. The sepia-toned freeze frames that introduce each character with their names, occupations and life expectancy are a lot of fun, but ultimately the action is cut too fast and too close to be able to tell what's going on. Then again, maybe that's a blessing, as the gore quotient here is pretty darn high. Starring Navi Rawat, Krista Allen, Balthazar Getty, Judah Friedlander, Jenny Wade, Duane Whitaker, Josh Zuckerman, Eileen Ryan and Clu Gulager. Directed by John Gulager. Written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. Produced by Michael Leahy and Joel Soisson. A Dimension release. Horror. Rated R for pervasive strong creature violence and gore, language, some sexuality and drug content. Running time: 88 min.

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