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FEAST 2: SLOPPY SECONDS (2008)
Published by Film Fanaddict on 2009/1/15 (2403 reads)
Directed By: John Gulager
Review By: William P. Simmons
Released By: The Weinstein Company
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: Dolby Digital 5.1, English and Spanish
Region Code: Region 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Special Features: Commentary, Features, Trailers.
With FEAST, director John Gulager and writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan produced a gritty, tasteless dose of 80s style ‘splat and trash.’ A fast paced, darkly humorous, and exhilarating thrill ride, FEAST proved horror could be fun again. If there were errors in plot continuity, plenty of illogic, and the dialogue occasionally tempted you to beat your head against the wall, all was forgiven by the filmmaker’s obvious love for the genre and a solid sense of craftsmanship. If not original in concept or presentation, the movie was certainly bold in its own convictions, determined to shock and titillate. So now that FEAST (2) has hit the shelves, the question is: are you filled up or are you hankering for seconds? Well, grab your fork, slap on a bib, and get ready for a mess -- for that is what John Gulager’s follow up is, a mess in the best possible sense of the word. Logic, restraint, suggestion: these words are useless here. But for a pounding pace, plenty of visceral thrills, and gushers of the red stuff -- not to mention half a dozen broken taboos -- you could certainly do worse. Just be prepared for something totally tasteless, which the film certainly is.
This is grade B schlock shock with an attitude. The story pays more attention to setting up its violent set pieces than in telling a dramatically or emotionally satisfying story. Whereas this is bad storytelling in general, FEAST (2) compensates for its lunk-headed behavior with an excess of attitude and arresting images. While not a replacement for story, movies of this type -- and there are quite a few -- specialize in spectacle. As such, they require just enough plot to establish a context for carnage. Here the ride may be nonsensical, and the people unbelievably stupid (and often cruel), but the atmosphere of violence, uncertainty, and survival is dead on. The result? Plenty of screams, skin, and giggles. Yes, it is the equivalent of a teenager’s fart joke, but, hey, who hasn’t laughed at least one of those?
Bartender (Clu Gulager), last seen dead, is resurrected by movie magic (and a middle finger to the audience’s brain capacity) and runs into Biker Queen, twin sister of Harley Mama (Diane Ayala Goldner), who was made mince meat in part one. Leading a gang of curvaceous female hog-kickers, Mama straps down Bartender and rides into another town attacked by the film’s trademark monsters. Along the way we’re treated to some seriously hung midgets, lusty love triangles, and a coke snorting bum. The inconstancies begin to pile up like body parts when Honey Pie (Jenny Wade) shows up. If you recall, she abandoned the rest of the crew in the first feature. Well, after Bartender throws her out a window she gets back up and looks hardly the worse for wear. Hard to believe? Just wait until the story gets going.
A few genre bigwigs have decried FEAST (2), claiming that it is too obnoxious, too crass. Yes, it is. And that is precisely the point. This is a LOUD film. Very Loud! Suggestion isn’t a concern here, nor are careful character studies, dramatic dialogue, or a carefully built atmosphere. That is for other films with different goals and expectations. If you want a study in quiet terror, rent THE INNOCENTS or THE HAUNTING. If you want no holds barred splatter theatrics, bold caricatures of unlikable people behaving horribly, and more energy than brains, visit here. Much of the same maniac energy and verve that distinguished the first picture is in evidence just as strongly here, although the characters are less substantial (and that’s saying something, as the characters from the first title weren’t all that convincing). Still, their world is detailed enough to convince you of its own bizarre reality before each new monster attack. And monsters is what we really come down too here. The monsters are the true heroes here, and their moist and meaty attacks are captured with crass excitement, making them as fun to see as they are frightening. The creature effects are superb, and these babies have a viciousness about them that is truly inspiring. The characters themselves are rude and obnoxious, and while this will turn quite a few people off, it seems somehow accurate and organic here. The filmmaker’s strive to create a story whose tone and plot is amoral, vicious, and offensive. Innocent families are callously murdered (as if that doesn’t happen in real life, huh?), cats are raped, dead grandmother’s flung in the air, and babies eaten. This film wears its black little heart on its grue-dripping sleeve -- a monster mash that pays off in effects and physical action.
FEAST (2)has been treated with the customary polish from Dimension Extreme. The picture is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen with solid visuals and no trace of grain. Colors are believable, capturing the blood and the skin and the grit. Audio is commendable in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound levels are consistent with a nice distribution between dialogue, FX, and score.
Extras are fun and informative, with Dunstan apologizing for how offensive it is. Yet the risks he takes, and the rude emotions inspired, are one of the very things that makes this movie entertaining ‘Trash’ if not art. For this alone he should be proud. We live in an age where folks forget one of the primary goals and aesthetic aims of horror is to disturb, to horrify, to arouse emotion. FEAST (2) does all three. That it chooses to do so with guts and guns rather than shadows and character is simply a personal choice. The “Commentary” involves, it seems, everyone from the director to the line cook, with Goldner, Clu and producer Mike Leahy leading the way. Next up is “Scared Half to Death Twice,” which features not only genitalia but gives an honest impression of the minds behind the film. “Meet the Gulagers” follows, where we see even the director’s son seeing red. Trailers for other films round out the package.
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