2 stars (out of four)
This middling horror-genre item from the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck-Chris Moore Project Greenlight folks is set inside the lonely Beer Trap Tavern, which even people in the middle of nowhere would deem remote. "Feast" follows a common horror flick recipe (people under siege from hungry monsters--so much for Greenlight's search for originality), adding a dash of humor to keep things from becoming too much of a checklist.
New characters arrive with a sometimes clever freeze-frame biographical pop-up--including a (not always accurate) life expectancy prediction. The characters fill a standard checklist: a salty bartender (Clu Gulager, father of the first-time director), a seen-it-all/done-it-all old woman (Eileen Ryan), a nefarious boss man (Duane Whitaker), a single-mom waitress who condescends to sex with the boss man because she needs the money (Krista Allen), the son who moves from his mom-assigned hiding spot to give us a fright (Tyler Patrick Jones) and a Kewpie-doll waitress called Honey Pie who wants better things (Jenny Wade--promoted from her role as Cupcake in "The Ice Harvest"). There's also annoying business guy/motivational speaker (Henry Rollins), a guy in a wheelchair who develops a clever escape plan (Josh Zuckerman), the jerk brother of the wheelchair guy whose jerkiness is forgiven because he loves his brother (Balthazar Getty), a few folks for appetizers and, of course, monsters with a hunger for humans. Check, and double-check.
Now the plot: Shotgun-toting Hero (Eric Danes), carrying a decapitated critter's head, bursts through the door warning of imminent danger. Monsters launch the first attack, causing confusion and some friendly-fire casualties along with those chomped by monsters. Hero's wife, Heroine (Navi Rawat), arrives and takes control. Oh no, the phone was destroyed and cells don't work out here! Let's split up; some go upstairs to use the shortwave radio, while other head for more ammo in the basement. Splitting up is always a good idea, right?
You get the idea.
When monsters attack, the camera gets all jerky, creating the horror effect known as motion sickness. There's blood--lots of spurting, waitress-dousing blood--so that soon Honey Pie needs to peel down to her skivvies to wash off and arouse the boys. She's real purty. Yup.
There's enough here for fans of the horror-comedy genre (for the home-entertainment crowd, the movie will be available on DVD Oct. 17), even though chuckles outnumber scares. A few near-surprises are OK. The best news is, there's room for a sequel--and don't run out when the credits begin to roll.
Directed by John Gulager; screenplay by Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton; cinematography by Thomas L. Callaway; edited by Kirk Morri; production design by Clark Hunter; produced by Michael Leahy, Joel Soisson. A Dimension Films release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:28. MPAA rating: R (for pervasive strong creature violence and gore, language, some sexuality and drug content).
Heroine - Navi Rawat
Bozo - Balthazar Getty
Tuffy - Krista Allen
Beer Guy - Judah Friedlander
Honey Pie - Jenny Wade
Boss Man - Duane Whitaker
Hot Wheels - Josh Zuckerman
Grandma - Eileen Ryan
Bartender - Clu Gulager
Coach - Henry RollinsCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times